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The Longest Race begins in 2001, at the starting line of the JFK 50 Mile, the nation’s oldest ultramarathon; its unforgettable course is rich in natural wonders and marked by American history. At age sixty, veteran journalist and environmental editor Ed Ayres sets his sights on breaking the age-division record, and yet, from the moment he begins to scale the rocky ridge of the Appalachian Trail, he finds himself as preoccupied with the future of our planet as with the finish line of the JFK.
Among a crowded field of endurance athletes, Ed Ayres stands out; today, with more than 600 long-distance races across fifty-six years to his name, he is arguably the most experienced American distance runner still competing. Ayres helps us to understand how the skills and mindset necessary to complete an ultramarathon are also essential for grappling anew with the imperative to endure - not only as individuals, but as a society - and not just for 50 miles, but in the longest race we are all called upon to run.