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Ultra Something a book by Brendan Leonard coverA quirky, illustrated deep dive by Outside magazine columnist and ultrarunner Brendan Leonard, exploring the humans’ weird proclivity for endurance, and how we express it—including, but not limited to distance running, factory work, benign masochism, improv comedy, and rooting for football teams that will never win a championship. Leonard runs thousands of miles and explores dozens of rabbit holes of research, athletics, and storytelling, and builds it into a one-of-a-kind narrative.

Book trailer: 

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Advance praise for Ultra-Something:

“Easily the most compelling, most inspiring, most raw book on running I have ever read. Brendan brings a rare quality into his work—humility. And those of us who run are constantly humbled by this sport. While running gives us big dreams, it also shows us the naked likelihood of never achieving them. Brendan reminds us that having lofty goals is fun and necessary, but that the real victory is simply lacing up the shoes and getting out the door.”
—Sanjay Rawal, director, 3100 Run and Become

“Winning despite the fact that he’s (never) winning, Brendan Leonard is refreshingly irreverent, emotionally honest, searingly wise, and, always, highly motivated by pizza. This book may not turn you into a nature-loving ultra runner, but it will certainly help you understand how doing very hard things can make us better humans.”
—Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative

“In Ultra-Something, Brendan Leonard offers us a gift, a deeply personal kaleidoscopic view into how humans create meaning and connection in the most arbitrary ways, not only through hero’s journey revelation but in the prosaic edge zones of our own manufactured discomfort. Traversing pop culture, scientific studies, and memoir, Leonard leads us through an entertaining—often surprising—Rat Park of stories about how humans engineer self-worth out of thin air.”
—Nicholas Triolo, Editor, Trail Runner/Outside Run

“Brendan Leonard understands the value in the tedious and the everyday. All of those little, un-sexy, sometimes annoying tasks and obligations that, in aggregate, compose an attentive life. And if we’re not paying attention—to how we treat others, to how we treat ourselves—what’s even the point?”
—Anton Krupicka, 2-time winner, Leadville Trail 100

“Writing about running can feel a lot like trying to describe a dream. What feels urgent and personal to one can feel (at best) cliche or abstract to others. Ultra-Something manages to distill the weird and wiggly parts of ultrarunning into a genuinely fun and relatable read.”
—Zoë Rom, Editor-in-Chief, Trail Runner/Outside Run, host and producer, The Outside Show

“In Ultra-Something, Brendan Leonard offers a poignant, insightful, at times hilarious examination of his unlikely journey in ultra-endurance sports. Whether you’re a Hardrock 100 finisher or just signed up for your first 50K, you’ll glean valuable wisdom and inspiration from Leonard’s deep dive into the ‘why’ of ultrarunning.”
—Ed Roberson, Creator and Host, Mountain & Prairie


Listen to the book’s prologue here: