Book Review: Running Through the Wall—Personal Encounters With the Ultramarathon

I love reading about other people’s experiences on the trails just as much as I love running and recapping my own, which is why Running Through the Wall by Neal Jamison was a such great find.

Running Through the Wall

Published by Breakaway Books, Running Through the Wall is broken up into 40 mini-recaps, each of which left me thinking long after I closed the book. There were recaps from some of the sport’s greats (Tim Twietmeyer, Ann Trason, to name a few), recaps from some veteran ultrarunners – as well as recaps from those new(er) to the sport.

What I loved most about this book were the incredibly different perspectives on the sport we all share.  No two were the same. However, while none of the recaps were the same, there were some common themes that were weaved into the majority of the stories:

  • Overcoming adversity – be it physical, mental, spiritual or otherwise is common.
  • Ultrarunners are incredibly focused & driven individuals who demand the most out of themselves in running … and in life.
  • The comradery found within the ultrarunning community is truly unparalleled.

The book takes a good look into the minds of athletes who have run some of the most challenging ultramarathons in the country (and abroad). Races like Barkley, Western States, Hardrock , HURT 100 and more were incredibly detailed and provide the reader with an amazing look into what the athletes of these races were up against — physically, mentally, personally and more.

Without giving away too much, a few of my favorites focused a lot on overcoming adversity. While the reasons each of those people ran were deeply personal, the way they were able to talk about their experience conveyed such a real and honest sense of achievement.  A sense that they truly did overcome whatever adversity they were experiencing—either in the race or in life—by spending time on the trails.

If you’re looking for a fun, inspiring and insightful read about other’s experiences on the trails, I highly recommend Running Through the Wall. The way it’s broken up allows you easily set it down and return to it later … though I doubt that will happen once you pick it up.

Take care,


12 thoughts on “Book Review: Running Through the Wall—Personal Encounters With the Ultramarathon

    1. HA! I hear ya. 🙂

      I hear ya, though. It’s nice to read what everyday people are doing and how they are handling their training. I enjoyed this book … and definitely found it a bit more “relatable” … if that makes sense!

      Hope your guys’ training is going well. From the looks of things – it most certainly is! 🙂


  1. We were at the Born to Run event a couple weeks ago. My husband ran the 50k, and I did the 10 miler. Registration opened last weekend I signed up for my first Ultra. I haven’t done a marathon since Venice Italy in 2006. Needless to say, I’ve already started my training for May 2015 event! I’ll be sure to check out the book….I bet the stories will help inspire.


    1. Wow that is SUPER cool — how was that event?!!? I read about it and would LOVE to do it sometime!

      CONGRATS on signing up for your first ultra — it will be nothing short of life changing! 🙂

      which event are you looking into doing?!


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