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Two Hours


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Two hours, to cover 26 miles and 385 yards. It is running's Everest, once seen as impossible. But now we can glimpse the mountain-top.

About the Author

Ed Caesar is forty years old. He lives in Manchester, and writes for the New Yorker. He has won eleven major journalism awards - including a British Press Award, PPA Writer of the Year and the 2014 Foreign Press Award for Journalist of the Year. His subjects have included conflict in central Africa, the world's longest tennis match, stolen art, money-laundering, and the trade in diamonds. His first book, Two Hours, won a Cross Sports Book Award in 2016.


Ed Caesar's treatment of the near-mythical two-hour marathon is both implacably scientific and wonderfully reverential. As a former marathoner I deeply appreciate both. The prose hums along effortlessly and the topic is one of the most profound there is: the absolute limits of human performance. Reading a book that combines those two things is one of the great pleasures in life Sebastian Junger A fascinating insight into the clockwork of what it means to be an elite athlete, always pushing at the edge of possibility. Like a good runner, Caesar carries the story along with grace and ease and generosity. He brings us to Kenya, New York, London, and Berlin, but ultimately allows us to look inside ourselves. It's the human story that shines through Colum McCann I didn't think any book could make me interested in marathon running. Two Hours did that and much more. Ed Caesar's in-depth reporting explores one of sport's ultimate questions: is there a final human boundary and, if so, where? A terrific book: elegant, engaging and rewarding Ed Smith, former England cricketer, Times Columnist and author of Luck This book explodes out of the blocks, continues at a terrific clip, never flags and breasts the tape victorious, its arms in the air. Like the best foot race, it is tight, pacy and riveting. A brilliant debut. Give the man a medal and a bunch of flowers Esquire Lyrical and passionate... a celebration of the human spirit and what it can achieve Observer A delight to read. The definitive book on professional marathon running Independent on Sunday Marvellous. Caesar's reportage has the feel of the very best of American journalism - as if he has researched the matter to hell, spent his time in the field, nailed down every fact, then bashed it out on a typewriter with a cigarette smouldering in his mouth Sunday Times Two Hours is a kind of "Hoop Dreams" for runners Spectator Fascinating, timely, meticulously researched... this exploration of one of the great sporting quests of modern times will inspire anyone with a pair of trainers to go for a run Observer Caesar is very good on the personalities, mixing the art and science of distance running with vignettes about the athletes -- Matthew Syed The Times Superb Guardian A fine, engaging study of human endurance and the competitive spirit of marathon runners. Caesar wears his considerable research into most aspects of the marathon - its history, science, and the spectre of performance-enhancing drugs - with a loping, easy style Independent Fascinating. Will be enjoyed by anyone who has completed long runs along canals, through parks and down suburban streets Daily Telegraph Zippy, engaging, stylish, evocative Financial Times There is much spirit in Two Hours and much human warmth New Statesman Two Hours breaks new ground Economist Intelligent, thoughtful Irish Times Caesar has established himself as perhaps the best new long-form magazine writer since the arrival of John Jeremiah Sullivan -- Richard Williams Guardian

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