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Mar 22, 2018 : Colleen Goldhorn

Book Review: The Pursuit of Endurance

The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience
Author: Jennifer Pharr Davis
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Penguin Random House (available April 10, 2018)

Strong, persistent, and most of all, fast, Fastest Known Time (FKT) title holders often appear super human. Whizzing down the trail and climbing mountains at lightning speed, these athletes have harnessed the power of endurance to accomplish their record breaking hikes. When researching their endeavors, most of us get caught up in average-daily-mileage details, the exact route that was taken, and the gear they chose to bring. Consequently, what we often don’t realize is that the journeys of these endurance athletes are laced with both failures and hardships that vary little from a “normal” person’s life.

In her new book, The Pursuit of Endurance, Jennifer Pharr Davis (often known simply by her initials, “JPD”) brings the stories of past FKT title holders, including herself, to light in a way that brings these super humans down to earth. By highlighting their incredible accomplishments and discussing how they have persevered throughout all aspects of life, she makes it clear that endurance isn’t just for record setting athletes. Rather, endurance is a powerful tool that can help us persevere through whatever obstacles life throws our way. Our bodies are literally made for strength and stamina out on the trail, but the secret lies in learning how to apply it to the mental hurdles and struggles of everyday life.

Throughout the book, Jennifer gives us insight on how exactly we can practice endurance in almost everything we do. She discusses her own personal experiences with hardship and shares insight from her first long distance race, both times she tried for the FKT on the Appalachian Trail, and everything in between. To hear an ultra athlete like Jennifer be open and upfront about the struggles she encountered on each of these journeys is nothing short of inspiring. She demonstrates that you are not defined by your failures, but instead, by how you endure through the obstacles that are bound to make themselves known throughout the course of your trek.

You don’t just have to take it from Jennifer though – The Pursuit of Endurance features insight from multiple other previous record holders as well. Scott Jurek, Warren Doyle, David Horton, Scott Williamson, and Heather Anderson are among the FKT title holders who were interviewed for the book. This additional insight, paired with Jennifer’s down-to-earth personality and relatable writing style, make reading the book feel as though you are having a casual conversation with both her and the record holders she met with.

The Pursuit of Endurance is an inside look at exactly what it means to be a long distance athlete. Through in depth interviews, personal experience, and guided research, Jennifer takes you through the physical pain and mental hurdles record holders overcome to accomplish their goals, both on and off the trail. Every FKT athlete brings different techniques to their hike, but one thing they all seem to agree on is that harnessing the power of endurance is crucial for reaching your long term goals. Jennifer makes it clear that even the most prestigious FKT title holders have dealt with their fair share of failure. Their strength and resilience in spite of these hardships have made them the accomplished athletes that they are today, and should inspire us to do the same.

Jennifer has filled the pages of the book with loads of advice and inspiration, making it a must-read for anyone wanting to start working at the big dreams they have up their sleeves. Jennifer’s relatable and down-to-earth writing style, paired with her extensive experience make it hard to read her book and not become inspired to immediately start working towards your goals. Planning a thru hike, FKT attempt, or finding the confidence to finish a 5K? Reading The Pursuit of Endurance will give you the boost you need to get a jumpstart on training and fuel your future endeavors.

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

With over 13,000 miles of long distance hiking under her belt, Jennifer Pharr Davis is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. In 2011, Jennifer became the first women to set an overall FKT on the Appalachian Trail. She held her incredible record of 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes for four years.

Her star-studded accomplishments also include hiking on six out of the seven continents, and completing multiple thru hikes, including the Colorado Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Vermont’s Long Trail, and three completed thru hikes of the Appalachian Trail. Since her record, she has worked as the owner and founder of Blue Ridge Hiking Co.

Want more of JPD? Check www.jenniferpharrdavis.com for book tour dates and locations!

Disclosure: The Pursuit of Endurance was donated for purpose of review.

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