Book Review: Against The Odds by John Pendergrass

[caption id="attachment_8722" align="alignright" width="183"]against the odds - john pendergrass - book review Against The Odds by John Pendergrass[/caption] Disclaimer: The book Against The Odds was sent to me by the author but no money exchanged hands and I was not asked for a positive review in exchange for the book. Book reviews are not something I do quite often but one of the benefits of writing a triathlon blog and being on social media is you get the opportunity to be contacted by people and companies looking for a review from you.  The better part of that equation for me is picking and choosing what I want to review and post to my blog.  When I was contacted by Against The Odds author John Pendergrass I was in the midst of training for Ironman Texas and I figured a book would help get me through the overload weeks.  Unfortunately life took a lot of turns and twists and I never got to crack the spine on the book until a couple of weeks ago but I did get to it and here is my review. Against The Odds is the true story of a 60-year-old age grouper (John Pendergrass) who decided to race six Ironman races on six continents.  When I first read that I thought to myself that is going to be awesome because I thought that John was going to be doing it over the course of a year or two.  As it turns out it took a bit longer than that but it is none the less an inspiration story.  I know people tell me today that they couldn't do what I do and I am not 40 yet (although according to USAT I hit that number last year.)  Now take the fact that an Ironman race is just a small portion of the triathlon lifestyle and then tack on the years you need to tack on to reach 60.  Amazing accomplishment in my mind. Mr Pendergrass races Ironman Brazil, Switzerland, South Africa, New Zealand, Arizona and China.  Those locations alone are a lifetime of experiences but throw in the Ironman race and I can only imagine what those memories are like.  Fortunately for the reader John takes us not only through the races but also the sight-seeing and experiences of those far away lands.  This turns out to be the best part of the book for me.  I am not sure if it is because I have raced the 140.6 distance or because the 'race reports' are not detailed enough for me but I found myself rushing through those portions of Against The Odds to get to the travel experiences. One item that the author leaves out, thankfully, is the mundane training that takes place.  If you are reading this post then you are more than likely a triathlon/endurance blog reader and have come across the blog posts that detail every little bit of training ad nauseam.  You know the blog entries: Swam 1450 yards in 22:12 and felt great followed by 10 mile run in 90* heat with 10000000000% humidity and almost died.  I try not to do that because we are all training and we all have our own stories and thankfully Against The Odds leaves a lot of that out.  We know that it takes hours, days, weeks and months to get to an Ironman race and Mr Pendergrass doesn't touch that in his book with such great detail that you know more than you want about him. His stories of getting to the locations via planes, trains and automobiles along with people he meets are inspiring and have me thinking about taking my triathlon lifestyle abroad.  Racing in Brazil or South Africa are extremely appealing.  Finding myself in the mountains of Switzerland or the beaches of New Zealand seem feasible after reading his accounts.  Getting to know the local culture while competing in one of the hardest endurance races in the world has a special appeal for me. If you are just getting into the sport of triathlon or preparing to race your first Ironman then Against The Odds is not a book to open up and expect to get tips on how to get faster in the water or make your transitions simpler.  If you are a veteran of the Ironman races then you can appreciate what Mr Pendergrass deals with and details in the book regarding the race.  If you love to travel and want to know more about the sights and cultures of far away lands then this book will also appeal to you. My final recommendation is that this is a good read.  The chapters are short and to  the point and you can get through it in a couple of weeks but do not expect to be told anything that will help get you to Kona.  What you can expect are stories about these 6 Ironman races and their locations and to be entertained along the way.

Have You Read Against The Odds? Thoughts?

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Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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