The first major work about marathon running—including the current heated battle among the world’s elite runners to reach the two-hour barrier—and how psychology, technology, economics, and the latest science affect the potential of human performance. Two hours, to cover 26 miles and 385 yards. It is running’s Everest, a feat once seen as impossible for the human body. But now we can glimpse the mountaintop. The sub-two hour marathon will require an exceptional feat of speed, mental strength, and endurance. The pioneer will have to endure more, live braver, plan better, and be luckier than any who has run before. So who will it be? In this spellbinding book, Ed Caesar takes us into the world of elite runners: the greatest marathoners on earth. Through the stories of these rich characters, like Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai, he traces the history of the marathon as well as the science, physiology, and psychology involved in running so fast, for so long. And he shows us why this most democratic of races retains its savage, enthralling appeal—and why we are drawn to test ourselves to the limit. From big-money races in the United States to remote villages in Kenya, Two Hours is a book about a beautiful sport that few people understand. It’s about talent, heroism, and refusing to accept defeat. It’s a book about running that is about much more than running…this is a human drama like no other.
Ed Caesar has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Outside, and Smithsonian, among many others, and has reported from a wide variety of locations including Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kosovo. In 2014, he was selected for the Prix Bayeux for war correspondents and was named the Foreign Press Association’s Journalist of the Year.