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Ed Dan Tunstall Pedoe. (Pp 340; £19.95.) London: Royal Society of Medicine Press Limited, 2000. ISBN 1-85315-460-1.
This is the best book on the marathon that I have ever read. It is composed of a series of chapters based on lectures delivered at a British Heart Foundation symposium on marathon medicine held in London in 2000. The content includes a wide range of disciplines: history, sociology, psychology, medicine, physiology, and more.
It is noted in the introduction that the reader will be treated to the views of a veritable galaxy of experts. This is no false claim.
What a pleasure it was to read this book—comprehensive, direct, accessible, and practical are only a few relevant adjectives applicable to this text. It even kept me awake on a Sydney to London flight! Beautifully presented with clear figures, singular in its lack of waffle, and very well referenced, this is the ultimate guide to so many aspects of what many consider to be the greatest race. In addition to the wealth of information contained in the chapters proper, I quite appreciated the inclusion of short sections of discussion between conference attendees and the experts which were included at the conclusion of some chapters.
Having personally struggled through a number of these events, I especially looked for practical information. Will it kill me? Probably not. Will I live forever if I complete one? No. What should I drink and eat? What about altitude training? Why do I fatigue? The answers, or our best current knowledge, are all there.
This is an excellent book. I am half way through it on the second reading. I would buy it myself and recommend it to all of those who care for participants in, or who are interested in, endurance sport. It is suitable for sophisticated athletes and both students and practitioners of sports science and sports medicine.
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