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Unforgettable True Stories from the World of Endurance Sports

A riveting collection of stories from the world of endurance sports

Endurance athletes know the feeling—that oscillation between pain and delight, the pursuit not so much of beating others but of testing their own limits, the finish that often comes with the recognition of how sweet and big life is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a kid trying to break a pogo stick world record or a professional athlete attempting to topple the reigning marathon champion—these endeavors in endurance have a way of fascinating us all.

In Unbound: Unforgettable True Stories from the World of Endurance Sports, journalist Bill Donahue has pulled together a captivating collection from his years of reporting on everything from cycling the wilds of Dominica to cross-country skiing in Alaska with the U.S. military. The stories feature the fearless Swiss explorer Sarah Marquis breaking up the “boys club” of exploration, four-year-old Budhia Singh running 37 miles without stopping, a visit to Tour de France contender Nairo Quintana’s Colombian village in the High Andes, and more.

Unbound spans across seven countries on five continents, moving from the slums of Bhubaneswar, India, to the windswept tundra of the Alaskan Arctic. Discover diverse cultures and indelible, inspiring characters as you journey with the author along the roads and trails of the world.

Bill Donahue is an independent journalist who has written for Outside, Harpers Wired, the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, National Geographic Adventure, Mens Journal, Runners World, the Washington Post Magazine, and more. He is the author of Runaway: How a Slave Defied Americas First President and The Secret World of Saints: Inside the Catholic Church and the Mysterious Process of Anointing the Holy Dead. He is a three-time winner of the Lowell Thomas Awards gold medal for adventure travel writing.

A fascinating collection of stories from the world of endurance sports

If youve ever felt the endorphins kick in after an hour or two of running or biking, if youve ever bonked after three or four hours of cross-country skiing or, um, pogo sticking, or if youve ever sat in the couch and wondered why on earth people do things like that—this is the book for you. Its a beautiful exploration of the quirky transcendence that endurance provides!
— Bill McKibben, climate activist and author of Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously

A good travel writer draws you into the tastes, sounds, and soul of places around the world and around the corner. A good sportswriter shows the grit, craft, and ardor that the true athlete—be they a Boston Marathon champion or a child in the slums of India—brings to their calling. A good fiction writer delivers both the outward thrill of a journey and the inward exploration that makes the trip worth the telling. Bill Donahue, an exceptional writer, combines all three elements in each luminous piece in Unbound.
— John Brant, author of The Boy Who Runs and Duel in the Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America’s Greatest Marathon

Every time Bill Donahue writes about acts of endurance—running, cycling, even climbing stairs or pogo sticking—and the people who discover themselves in such extreme activities, he finds the familiar, the human spirit we share with one another. It’s fitting that in this collection of his most memorable works his words once again create the most enduring memories of all. Unbound is a joy.
— Glenn Stout, founding editor of The Year’s Best Sports Writing and author of Young Woman and the Sea: How Trudy Ederle Conquered the English Channel and Inspired the World

This fascinating compendium of endurance, which ranges widely, asks deep questions and doesn’t shy away from the darker side of our attempts to push our limits.
— Michael Crawley, author of Out of Thin Air: Running Wisdom and Magic from Above the Clouds in Ethiopia

The beauty of the endurance world is the near-infinite diversity of its amazing athletes. But most books follow just one Olympian or record setter. Happily, in Unbound, Bill Donahue reaches far wider and takes us far deeper into the seemingly impossible achievements of those who refuse to quit.
— Amby Burfoot, 1968 Boston Marathon winner, author of Run Forever

Each story in Unbound has an empowering message that will be a treat for all adventurers.
— Sarah Marquis, National Geographic Explorer

Donahue’s lively dispatches are as addictive as endurance itself. I raced through this collection like a competitive ultra runner on a high dose of caffeine (which I am). Readers who, in Donahue’s words, have the “sick, ingrown tendency” to push farther and faster, will find his deftly-told stories rife with inspiration and insights into our own nature. Everyone else, prepare to be awed. Written with wit, compassion, and curiosity, Unbound offers deeply human stories guaranteed to stay with you long after you turn the last page.
— Katie Arnold, author of Brief Flashings in the Phenomenal World and Running Home

The collection includes some of Donahue’s best reporting on people testing the limits of the human body. With thrilling dispatches from five continents, Unbound illustrates what it takes to conquer the world’s hardest runs, hikes, and climbs.
— Outside

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