Book Review-8000 Miles Across Alaska

Ultra Book Review     8000 Miles Across Alaska-A Runner’s Journey on the Iditarod Trail-by Jill Homer and Tim Hewitt

I was very pleased to see Jill Homer had written a book about Tim Hewitt’s experiences on the Iditarod Trail. There are many ultra events that speak to me that I want to do. Cold weather running is not one of them. However, I am fascinated and have become a fan of the folks who do these (even to me) extreme outdoor events. This is a review of her book: 8000 Miles Across Alaska, A Runner’s Journey on the Iditarod Trail.

There is a little race in Alaska called the ITI- The Iditarod Invitational.  There are three ways to compete in the ITI, which follows the famous dog sled route a week before their event-ski, bike, or run.  The race goes from Knik, Alaska to finish in McGrath-350 miles OR competitors can go on to finish in Nome-1000 miles. In Alaska.  In March. Not July.

Jill Homer has written a book which profiles a runner Tim Hewitt, from Pittsburgh, PA, an attorney in his day job.  Tim Hewitt is “the man” for the ITI. Tim has 8 finishes for the Knik to Nome, 1000 Mile Race-on foot, and holds the record: 20 days 7 hours 17 minutes.   In 2013, Tim took it to a new level, and was self supported from Knik to Nome. This means he carried all his food and fuel for his journey. He didn’t stop inside a shelter.  He didn’t accept any aid from anyone.  1000 miles, ALONE.  I don’t usually use the definition of a “Bad ass” per se, but Tim Hewitt really fits the description.

This is a good read about a really tough adventure in Alaska. Tim is pulling a sled which contains all of his gear, including food and sleeping bag. Generally the competitors stop and sleep beside the trail when tired. The temperatures at this time of the year can be above freezing or 30 below zero F.

Jill writes about each of Tim’s 1000 mile races. Although a bit repetitive at times, each year there are different challenges that Tim is able to overcome. I found his total self-supported event of 2013 to be really interesting.  I had highlighted from the book a few excerpts of Tim Hewitt’s lessons from the Iditarod Trail:

*People are resilient and can do much more than they think. The mind places limits at a much lower level than your body requires.

*Everyone’s perceptions is different. What scares me may have no impact on you.

*Sleep deprivation has profound negative energy effects on thinking.

*Food is fuel.

(There is much more. This was from Location 3552 on my Kindle.)

Recommendation? Give it a read. It will give you perspective, the first time this winter when you’re whining about 30 degree temperature, think about a race for 350 or 1000 miles, in below zero temperatures, that should help get you out the door!



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