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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story. And I don't know the guy.
As I start this review, my cat is in the tumble dryer. Don't know why. Something to think about later.

James was a better than average runner who tired of road races and wanted to challenge himself. So began a journey into the world of ultra running; where races are longer than plane journeys, injuries are just something you run with and the challenge of...
Published 14 months ago by N_Thorpe63

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars ok
It's ok, not great. Lots of the pain, the hell, the psychological stress etcetera. Not that enthral king - I wanted to know how a good average runner got to do great events. Would rather hear about the winter runs, balancing work, etc the nuts and bolts of what worked for him.
Published 5 months ago by IrishElk


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story. And I don't know the guy., 31 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Running and Stuff (Kindle Edition)
As I start this review, my cat is in the tumble dryer. Don't know why. Something to think about later.

James was a better than average runner who tired of road races and wanted to challenge himself. So began a journey into the world of ultra running; where races are longer than plane journeys, injuries are just something you run with and the challenge of pushing past physical and mental breakdown is everything. It's compelling and fascinating and very well captured.

For blow by blow description and analysis of how it feels and looks to run further than is really sensible it's by far the best book I've read. Graphic and emotionally gripping.

Also, really rather funny.

I haven't put the book down (except to run) while I've been reading it. My OH is less than pleased.

Why not 5 stars?

Because the book is clearly a series of (admittedly very well written and entertaining) blogs strung together with extra bits. Writing a blog requires a different style from writing a book. It's a shorter attention span, more black and white, harder hitting kind of style. And you can repeat yourself blog to blog without it being obvious. We get that he doesn't like "mass market" races, or that people often ask the same questions, but you end up reading that several times more than you need to because he's mentioned it in every blog.

There's at least one really irritating place where the writing jumps around between past and present tenses and it's just very clear that he's not proof read it carefully.

I don't know James and don't follow his blog. I'm not going to either, because if (and hopefully, when) he writes another book I want to buy it. Just please, a little more attention to the text of the book being a book, not some blogs in print form?
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An ordinary guy with an extraordinary story, 19 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Running and Stuff (Kindle Edition)
Running and Stuff is the story of one man's 3,200 mile run across the USA. Most ordinary people would consider this to be impossible, but James is no ordinary guy... Actually, he kind of is. And that's the point. I have followed James' exploits through his blog over the past few years, and always thoroughly enjoy his hilarious warts and all take on the whacky world of ultra running. Throughout this book you will laugh, you'll cry (and you might even gag a little bit), as James takes you with him on his journey from 'ordinary guy who never dreamt that he could run across a continent' to 'ordinary guy who did'. If you like running, comedy, and graphic portrayals of bodily functions, then this is the book for you!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Running & Stuff by James Adams, 24 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Running and Stuff (Kindle Edition)
A thoroughly enjoyable can not put down book. The book gives you a great insight into the extent James will go to achieve his dreams. With informative and funny writing this book is definitely a hit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book, 9 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Running and Stuff (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book. I'm gutted that I've finished it and quite frankly I think my days will be a little duller from now on. I had the pleasure of reading the first half twice, mainly because I paused halfway to read Dave Urwin's book and by the time I'd got back, I couldn't remember what had happened and had to start again. This is no reflection on James' book however, merely that Dave hand delivered his and paid me £50 to read it first. The stories were interesting, the writing was just fine, anybody with half a brain cell can step over the minimal mistakes and still enjoy the story. I know you don't think that you're amazing James, but what you've achieved is, and reading about it is fascinating. With my first marathon approaching in ten weeks I'm nowhere near you as a runner, but I've learnt a few tips which will hopefully help me over that finish line. I'm also honoured that I got to buy you a Macdonalds shake at Southall this year after reading all about your love for them during LANY. You know that post race depression that you write about? Well I got post book depression. Please write another one, you have a very special talent there. And you're not bad at running either.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book about running and stuff - not least the mental (!) and emotional challenges behind it. NOT "For Runners Only"!, 13 April 2015
By 
G. O. Squintani "g.o.s." (Portishead, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Running and Stuff (Paperback)
I first met James at RunSpark, a charity event featuring presentations by Ultrarunners. I say "met"... I sat next to him throughout the evening oblivious to his achievements, having preferred the surprise element to a thorough examination of the evening's agenda. If only I'd realised it was THE James Adams!
Therein lies a clue to James' personality, not uncommon amongst Ultrarunners: quiet, unlikely to boast about his achievements but delighted to share the stories behind them. And that comes through in his book, which covers his first marathon and ultra all the way through to the Los Angeles to New York Footrace (yes, that's right) via other classic ultramarathons such as the Grand Union Canal Race, Badwater and Spartathlon. James shares the physical, mental and emotional stories of each race, often starting with the decision to enter, but never does he boast. I routinely come across people who boast about having walked to the shops: James covered the entire breadth of the USA and refuses to accept he may "actually [be] quite good at this running thing".

Disclaimer: I am an Ultrarunner (be it not James' scale!) and can relate to some of the feelings he shares in "Running Stuff". However, whether you love or hate running (and, in this book, James outlines eight reasons as to why he loves it), you will love this book. It is about so much more than putting one foot in front of the other: it's about how it impacts social interactions, mental toughness and life as a whole. And about a dog in New Mexico, too. Whether you'd run a mile FROM a running store or 3,220 miles over 70 days from L.A. to N.Y.C., this book will make you smile - and maybe make you think about what you can achieve if you just put your mind to it. Feet optional.

(Oh, and he is. Good at this running thing, that is. It's amazing where blood, sweat and tears will get folk, especially when the brain doesn't do its job and introduce some semblance of rationality!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The British Dean Karnazes?, 17 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Running and Stuff (Kindle Edition)
Having read James' blog from 'cover to cover'(?) I was slightly concerned that this would be simply a rehashing of old material in order to spin a little money. Pleased to see it isn't.
While the same ground is covered, and the same hilarious and often self deprecating style is used, the fresh consideration given to his frankly amazing exploits makes it seem like new. It's a real page turner, and a good giggle.
Read it, you'll laugh out loud assuming you're not dead.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and Utterly Inspiring, 18 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Running and Stuff (Kindle Edition)
James Adams has a rare gift. In fact he has three. He is a brilliant writer, a comedic genius and is able to push his mind and body as far as anyone I know. The thought of getting up day after day to run 45 miles in utter agony, through chronic fatigue and sickness doesn't even bear thinking about. His examination of self on that journey is utterly inspiring together with his tales from other incredible feats of endurance. Of all the books on ultra running published in recent years, this has to be the best all rounder.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This story builds and builds, and is one of the best running stories I've read., 1 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Running and Stuff (Kindle Edition)
Let's set the context. I'm an 800m track racer, my wife bought me the book for Xmas, the kindle edition by mistake and I don't own a kindle. she does. So I wasn't going to like this book from the outset. Coupled with which it's riddled with spelling mistakes, and bits of it are cobbled together blog entries.

However.. (and you knew this was coming, given the 5 stars), there are 2 things about this book that simply blew me away.

The first is that, having started out on the somewhat arrogant side, possibly stereotyped as "I'm different, I don't like what most people like", he gets more and more humble, more and more affable, and more and more like the kind of bloke you would really like to share a couple of pints with.

The second is that, in spite of the flaws I drew attention to above, James really does know how to get his feelings down on paper. Arrogance gives way to awe. By the time he's taken on an eye-watering number of toe-curling challenges, and he's half way across the USA, the reader will by biting his or her nails in sympathy. By the last chapter, I too had sun block in my eyes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is going to be a long term favourite! Inspiring and funny., 23 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Running and Stuff (Kindle Edition)
As someone who's a desperate wannabe runner but who struggles to run 2 miles without stopping and walking I have a strange fascination with sitting on a comfy sofa and reading about other people who can actually run. I usually hate them, but I don't hate James Adams. It would be impossible to hate him and I say this as someone who has got to know him quite well as I was with him every step of his run across America. Well, he was actually in America. I was still on my sofa, but you know what I mean. He comes across as a very likeable honest ordinary bloke who just happens to do amazing things. He doesn't try to pretend all is good in the world of ultra running, and it's good for people like me to know that some of the feelings I have at 1.5 miles are not dissimilar to those he had at maybe mile 2754 of his 3000 miles plus journey. A definite must read for anybody who is remotely interested in running, running long distances, how the human body can endure, how the human mind can endure, how to lose 2 stone in 3 months or what to do when you physically crap your pants when running. Buy it, then recommend it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not a normal running book. And that's the point., 19 May 2015
This review is from: Running and Stuff (Paperback)
It's difficult for runners to explain to non-runners why they do it. Just as it's difficult for ultra runners to explain to "regular" runners why they do these ultimately pointless long distance challenges. Here James is as open and honest about his motivation and ambitions as you could wish for. It doesn't take superhuman powers; just a will to suffer more than most for the satisfaction of completing something a bit extraordinary.

If you like reading biographies of famous sports stars (how I won Olympic gold, how I won the world title, how I won the World Cup, etc - then this isn't the book for you). But if you are one of the millions who come in behind the champions and have an inkling what it takes to push yourself beyond reasonably acceptable physical and mental boundaries for the sake of achieving nothing more than a personal goal, then you'll recognise enough in this book to make it a fascinating read.

Almost had to delete a star in the rating though. I expecting a few spelling mistakes, but one of them was my ****ing name. FFS!!
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Running and Stuff
Running and Stuff by James Adams
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