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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 31 March 2014
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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on 11 April 2017
This is a great book. I've never read any of James Adams' blogs and didn't really know who he was when I started reading. But from the first page I was hooked - this guy is a great storyteller. Sure, it could do with a good sub-editor (the text is littered with typos and missing apostrophes) - but actually on second thoughts, maybe not: maybe they add to its immediacy and apparent authenticity. Unlike some reviewers, I think the book is truly inspirational. You may not want to run across the USA after reading it, and you probably won't be able to qualify for Spartathlon. But I suspect you'll ratchet up your ambitions a notch or two and ask yourself "Why not give it a go?", 'it' being something that feels really scary and that your wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/mother/pet hamster thinks is pretty daft.

This book celebrates the wonderful pointlessness of endurance running and lays bare the heroic self-obsession that lies at the heart of it. Running probably won't give you much insight into the purpose of life (maybe try religion for that) but what it does give you is a fantastic series of personal narratives involving hope and despair, pain and elation - and maybe dogs and diarrhoea too. In this book, Adams shares some of his narratives with us (including the dogs and diarrhoea). Highly recommended.
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on 14 April 2017
A thrilling story sure to be enjoyed by any runner. James has a fantastic sense of humour and engaging writing style; the highs and lows of his ultra marathon journey are inspiring. If you can finish this book without contemplating your own chances of running the GUCR or crossing America on probably passed some sort of sanity test.
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on 20 December 2016
What a book, what a guy, what a challenge or should I say challenges. This book runs through James encounters of pain and suffering in various arduously challenging events. It is very well written with the added bonus of James wit. Just wish I had found this book ages ago or even got to follow his blog in his days of need. A must read for any runner!
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on 30 May 2014
I really enjoyed James' story, thankfully it hasn't discouraged me from considering running an ultra but it has made me realise that everyone who does them is a little bit crazy :)
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on 7 April 2015
Well worth a read. Honest and down to earth.
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on 19 March 2014
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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on 8 March 2017
This book makes for a good read and James is quite funny, and pulls no punches with how he feels about ultra running and races. My one issue is that despite James describing himself as an 'ordinary bloke' (he clearly is not!) he fails to acknowledge that other people are indeed quite ordinary and to dismiss races such as the MDS and other races as 'easy' (for him maybe) is a tad elitist to say the least. Yes he has achieved some great results and finished some awesome races, but I find his comments about some events quite insulting. I did the MDS and although I would agree its not the 'toughest footrace on earth', it is certainly not an easy race for us lesser mortals (which I may add includes Sir Ranulph Fiennes who did the MDS in 2015, and who certainly IS one of the elite in endurance terms). Buy this book if you want an amusing and honest self portrait of an excellent ultra runner, but DON'T buy it if you want inspiration, as it will simply make you feel that many of these races are out of your reach.
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on 28 April 2017
His blog is so accurate and hilarious that I took a punt on getting the book.
Ok I've not actually fully read the book yet but on initial assessment it looks really positive, some witty and wise words on the back cover and he's wearing Newton's in the picture on the front - what is there to not like.
I'll be running my first ultra in 3 weeks so I'll be sure to return to amend the review if James's wise words don't help me blitz it!
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on 24 March 2014
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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