A Big Book: Slammin’: Voices from the Middle of The Pack. Photos and stories of the runners in the 2013 Ultramarathon Grand Slam.
My name is Michael Lebowitz, and I want to introduce you to “Slammin’: Voices from the Middle of the Pack-The 2013 Ultra Grand Slam a coffee table book that will tell the story of one of the hardest endurance events in the world.
Slammin' is the essence of what I do; documenting, bearing witness, telling the stories of the mostly ordinary folks who embrace their perseverance, suffering and in the end, their victory.
I’m a writer and a photographer and a lifelong runner. I have been a race photographer for years. You can see my photography work at LongRun Pictures under the Gallery menu. You can find my writer archives at Marathon & Beyond Editor's Choice Archives , at my blog, Tarmac Meditations and at Life As A Human. My work has appeared in UltraRunning, Marathon & Beyond, Trail Runner, Newsweek and various other newspapers and running magazines.
Many people consider summiting Everest to be one of the most difficult physical accomplishments. Yet, completing a series of 100 mile foot races across North America is perhaps even more challenging. There have been 266 finishers since the event began in 1986 when Tom Green did it for the first time. In that same period 3500+ people have summited Mt. Everest. Everest is 29 028 feet high, about about 5.5 miles There is a total of nearly 80,000 ft of elevation gain during the 400 miles of the Slam, nearly two and a half times more than Everest. Climbing Everest requires teams of people, weeks of hiking climbing, expensive equipment, clothing, extensive training, guides. The Grand Slam is 400 miles, requires long run training, a very small crew made up of wives/husbands and friends and several pairs of running shoes.
There will be approximately 24 people on the starting line at Western States 100 mile whose dreams go much further than 100 miles of this most famous of ultra courses with it’s 18000 Ft of elevation and legendary conditions. For these athletes it is only the first step of a very long journey and will be followed, three weeks later, by the Vermont 100,with its14000 Ft of elevation gain. Four weeks later is the Leadville Trail 100 at 16200 Ft of gain , and finishing with the Wasatch Front 100,with an almost unimaginable elevation gain over the course of 26, 882 feet. It’s unlikely that more than 10 or 12 will cross the finish line at Wasatch, the Slam in hand. We’re going to be focusing on this group of ordinary people who have it in their hears that they can and will accomplish this extraordinary thing.
Whatever the final results of their efforts they will no longer be strangers but friends, brothers/sisters in arms in search of something of value. As a writer, runner, photographer, I want to open it up to runners everywhere and, equally, to make it available to non-runners as well, to anyone who has big dreams and sets out in search of finding out who they are and what they can accomplish.The Grand Slam is the province of dreamers, as much about preparation as it is about humility and good luck.
We’re asking for $25,000 in order to create a coffee table book of substantial size that tells this story. I can’t do this one on my own; so I’ll need your help. I want to put together a team of investors, people who are part of the running community, of any community that wants to see, to believe in the nature of human potential. I’d love to have you come along.
All the gathering work, travelling, interviewing and shooting, will be done by the middle or end of September. It will take about 6 months to put the book together. Available as rewards in Kickstarter language will be signed prints of the photographs to be determined later. There will be framed photographs and signed book copies in various combinations of size and value.There will Photo Shoots for runners. And others. There may be a book launching party. If there is you will be invited. Please consider investing. Thanks for reading.
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Writing and photography in the natural world are always a risk. The events themselves may be cancelled due to weather and fire and other acts of God. The focus runners may get injured and not be able to proceed to the next event, let alone finish the Slam. Assuming that everyone's health, injuries and weather permitting, there is always risk in writing and "shooting" an ongoing event. I have never failed to complete an assignment, no matter the difficulty. There WILL BE a manuscript with pictures...the contents, the final story lines, the photography of it, are yet to be discovered. The Author will seek a publisher upon completion. Self-publishing quality books for distribution to the contributors will be part of a considered approach to a legitimate industry publisher. Contributors will receive complimentary copies according to reward levels that are in place.
My back up for injuries to the three runners who are already on board is to keep in touch with and follow all of the others who are attempting the same feat. In the final analysis there will be runners who DO finish the Slam. Their stories are yet to be told. This will be a book about the human spirit whomever the final players may be.
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