Download The Longest Race: A Lifelong Runner, an Iconic Ultramarathon, and the Case for Human Endurance Audiobook

The Longest Race: A Lifelong Runner, an Iconic Ultramarathon, and the Case for Human Endurance Audiobook, by Ed Ayres Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Ed Ayres Narrator: Richard Waterhouse Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2012 ISBN: 9781620643488
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (67 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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First and foremost a book about running, The Longest Race takes listeners alongside ultramarathoner Ed Ayres as he prepares for, runs, and finishes the JFK fifty-mile race at a then record-breaking time for his age division—sixty and older. But for Ayres, this race was about more than just running, and the book also encompasses his musings and epiphanies along the way about possibilities for human achievement and the creation of a sustainable civilization. 

Looking back over a lifetime of more than fifty years of long-distance running, Ayres realizes that his running has taught him important lessons about endurance, patience, and foresight. These qualities, also hallmarks of being human, likely helped humans to survive and thrive in the evolutionary race—and, Ayres posits, they are qualities absolutely necessary to building a sustainable society. 

Grounding each step of his argument are vivid details from this particular race and other moments across his long running career. These experiences take us far beyond the sport, into new perspectives on our origins and future—and what it means to be a part of the human race. In the end, Ayres suggests, if we can recapture the running prowess and overall physical fitness of our “wild” ancient distance-hunting ancestors, we will also be equipped to keep our bodies, our society, and the entire world running long into the future.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Ed Ayres is a legend who shares his many provocative insights and lessons in an informative yet enjoyable way. A true champion, Ed uses his gift to help us all be the best that we can be.”

    Dean Karnazes, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Revealing, savvy, and fast-paced, Ayres’s eloquent book on marathon running is a master class on the priceless life lessons of enduring and conquering obstacles to victory.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Like the expert runner that he is, Ayres perfectly paces his tale and evokes the feeling of being on a long, rambling run with a very good friend. A gifted storyteller, he seamlessly moves between discussing running to exploring larger life issues such as why we run, our impact on the environment, and the effects of the nation’s declining physical fitness.”


  • “With a very lucid, almost conversational, writing style, he shows how lessons learned in efficient management of the body’s resources while on the long run can be applied by all of us to the care of the planet. Even if you are not an ultrarunner, or any kind of runner at all, you will find valuable observations that can be applied to your own life.”

    Sacramento Book Review

Listener Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marc | 11/25/2013

    " I gave it 3 stars, it was a fun read but nothing earth shattering. Its a good memoir wrapped around running and he has some good ideas. Definitely worth a read, I chewed through it at the airport/on a flight. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Todd | 9/10/2013

    " Dense and deep. I liked it from the environmental perspective more than the distance running. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martin | 3/15/2013

    " If Henry David Thoreau was a distance runner, he could have been the author of this book. A combination of athletics, philosophy, culture, and lessons on sustainability. An exceptional book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shayla | 2/18/2013

    " Great read for runners who spend their runs discussing world events, life and more. Integrating the natural world with the natural state of long distance running is a perfect combination. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 12/10/2012

    " Excellent memoir of running a 50 mile ultra marathon in 2001, with asides touching on various subjects like human evolution and running, the environment, etc. The author was the founder of Running Times magazine. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeremy | 10/27/2012

    " Great book that makes you think. Combines two things I love reading and talking about, running and natural resources. Slower read, but everyone should read it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 10/17/2012

    " I enjoyed the book, but I kept hoping for more. Enjoyed the narrative about the race, but the parts about environmental sustainability were disappointingly thin. "

About the Author

Edward H. Ayres (born October 1941) is an American writer, editor, environmentalist and ultramarathon runner. He is the founding editor and publisher of Running Times magazine and former editor of Worldwatch, a bimonthly global-trends magazine. David M. Shribman states that Ayres has “inspired athletes worldwide and reshaped our ideas about endurance and sustainability.”

About the Narrator

Richard Waterhouse is an actor, teacher, director, and producer who is featured in the Hallmark Christmas classic Moonlight and Mistletoe and the independent feature Karl Rove, I Love You. He lives with his partner in Newbury, Vermont.