The Road to Sparta

  • by Dean Karnazes
  • Narrated by Robert Fass
  • 8 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Road to Sparta is the story of the 153-mile run from Athens to Sparta that inspired the marathon and saved democracy, as told - and experienced - by ultramarathoner and New York Times best-selling author Dean Karnazes.
In 490 BCE Pheidippides ran for 36 hours straight from Athens to Sparta to seek help in defending Athens from a Persian invasion in the Battle of Marathon. In doing so he saved the development of Western civilization and inspired the birth of the marathon as we know it. Even now, some 2,500 years later, that run stands enduringly as one of greatest physical accomplishments in the history of mankind.
Karnazes personally honors Pheidippides and his own Greek heritage by recreating this ancient journey in modern times. Karnazes even abstains from contemporary endurance nutrition like sports drinks and energy gels and eats only what was available in 490 BCE, such as figs, olives, and cured meats. Through vivid details and internal dialogs, The Road to Sparta offers a rare glimpse into the mind-set and motivation of an extreme athlete during his most difficult and personal challenge to date.


What the Critics Say

"This is a remarkable and inspiring memoir that will have casual and serious runners cheering." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Real Story of the Marathon

If you could sum up The Road to Sparta in three words, what would they be?

The Real Marathon!

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Road to Sparta?

You would think that his completion of the race would be the highlight, but it wasn't. The story told while he was running this arduous race was the highlight. His ability to use the journey as the touchstone to the ancient beginnings of the race were fascinating.

Which scene was your favorite?

If you are going to force me to pick one....I would say his meeting with Pan on the uphill mountain climb.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I shied away from other books by the author because although I am a runner, the super human feats of the top runners are sometimes hard to relate to. As an ultra-marathoner the author fits into that category for me. But this was a book that was part history, part travelouge and part internal journey for the author that was interesting. The other part that was somehow surprising to me was that the origins of the marathon were not what I had come to know. I have run more than a few and the historical insight was fascinating.

Any additional comments?

This book fit nicely in my endurance sports category. I read these books, but I can be a little picky about them. I shy away from fan-boy lit, I need something the author can share with me that I can use in my training or add to my knowledge about a sport that am involved in. This book delivered on both counts.

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- thomas

Great Book!

Great stories about the most famous of ultrarunners. Some almost feel too sensational to be true, but you have to take him at his word. I would certainly recommend this book to any runner.
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- Brian

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-25-2016
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio