New! The ROAD to SPARTA
The Road to Sparta is a thunderous Greek epic told in parallel narratives from the perspective of a modern ultramarathoner and an ancient hemerodromoi (daylong runner). Dean Karnazes explores his own Greek ancestry while consulting with the foremost scholars on Ancient Greece to tell the story of the world's first marathon, all while recreating the historic 153-mile run from Athens to Sparta in one of the world's most impossible featsâ€”the Spartathlon.
In 490 BCE, Pheidippides ran a similar route in 36 hours to recruit the Spartans into battle against the invading Persians. In doing so, he forever preserved Western culture and gave to us the modern marathon. In recreating the ancient journey, Karnazes consumed only foods available in 490 BCE, such as figs, olives, cured meat and an early Greek energy source called itrion while he trained and prepared in traditional hoplite costume.
The Road to Sparta offers readers a rare glimpse into the mindset and motivation of an extreme athlete. It is sure to captivate and inspire readers whether they run great distances, modest distances, or not at all.
"The Road to Sparta"
"Endurance athlete and author Karnazes (Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner) recounts his participation in the 153-mile race from Athens to Sparta in this engaging memoir. After logging a remarkable list of running accomplishmentsâ€”including running an ultramarathon across Death Valley in 120-degree heat, running to the South Pole in âˆ’40 degrees, and running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive daysâ€”Karnazes details the difficulties and joys of training for and running the Athens-to-Sparta route. He provides an eye-opening historical refresher course recounting the ancient battle between the Greeks and the Persians, when Pheidippides ran from Athens to Sparta then turned around and ran from Sparta to Marathon, via Athens, in order to deliver crucial information. "My point," he writes, "is that the annals of history have grossly under-recognized the significance of Pheidippides's superhuman act." Karnazes recounts his family history with its Greek roots and explores the deep feelings he develops for the people and landscape of his ancestral homeland. As the author readies for the race, he explains, "For me, the quest was deeply personal. I'd been waiting a lifetime to be standing in this place, and at that moment I saw this more clearly than ever." This is a remarkable and inspiring memoir that will have casual and serious runners cheering."