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7,295 Kilometers - 72 days 10 hours
Trans-Canada World Record
1,300 Miles - 16 days 19 hours
360 Miles Non-stop
5,800 Miles 103 days
Over 50 Ultramarathon wins
"A quirky, captivating biography. If the author described a smoke-filled bar, they'd smell it. A fluid narrative that makes the pages fly by, like the miles beneath Howie's feet." - Kirkus (Starred Review)
"This moving biography will leave you yearning for a recent yet distant unplugged era in human-powered adventure, when a free spirit kindled righteous pursuits of endurance as a way of life." - Adventure Journal
Oct. 8th, 2019
In 1991, a Scottish-Canadian runner crossed Canada in the world record time of 72 days 10 hours. He ran the 4,500-mile trek without a GPS watch, without gels, and in bare-bones racing flats. Two weeks later, he was in New York, running 1,300 miles around a one-mile loop and breaking another world record, his own. He was 46 years old, broke, and on the verge of sanity. He was Al Howie.
On the outside, Howie was a beer-drinking hippie that ran as if freedom lay at a finish line that always escaped him. He was the essence of mega-distance running and a pioneer of multi-day races. Howie broke the world record for the longest continual run, pounding 360 miles into a 400-meter track, took the North American 24-Hour record with 150 miles, and broke the John o' Groat's to Land's End (British end to end) record by 11 days. When he shipped his clothes to races on buses, ran thousands of kilometers to the starting line, won the ultra-race, then ran hundreds of miles back home, he became more than an eccentric runner; he was legend.
His real life would prove even more elusive. Fake names and aliases kept him aloof and misunderstood. His life was literally lived "on the run." A two-year conversation with him in a care facility in the last years of his life started a journey that would lead from Duncan, British Columbia to Turkey, Greece, and Scotland to answer the question he couldn’t answer for himself: “who was Al Howie?”