Wednesday, November 3, 2010

UltraMarathon Man: 50 Marathons - 50 States - 50 Days

Some people are just made different.  Dean Karnazes makes that point in this video: it's all about choosing your parents well.  Karnazes's ultrarunning feats astound anyone who's heard of him, and many have.  He's been featured on countless news shows, talk shows, published a couple of books, and run in races all around the world.  It's easy to look at him as a hero.
UltraMarathon Man chronicles one of his many bold feats: he ran, as the title suggests, a marathon in all 50 states over the course of 50 days, culminating in the New York Marathon.  Some of the marathons were organized races.  Most were put together by his crew, in which case they followed the course of the host city's established marathon.  Through the grapevine and his blog, Karnazes gathered a group to run with him at each site, sometimes hundreds of people, in one case only one.

One thing that struck me while watching this was how much fun it must be to run with Karnazes.  I have heard criticism of him as a self-centered self-promoter, but none of that came across in this video.  He shows lots of interest in the people he runs with, and shows genuine humility when people express their admiration.  He promotes not himself, but activity, exercise, getting people off the couch, fighting childhood obesity and general inactivity.  Who can argue with that? 

This feat, running 50 marathons in 50 days, has been replicated, probably by a number of people.  Karnazes does it right, though, with great support and planning, getting to every state in 50 days.  It's hard not be inspired by him. For someone who runs the occasional marathon, you have to ask, can I do more?  For someone who's never run one, you have to ask, why not try it?  Before I get too excited, though, Karnazes reminds me that his body chemistry and genetic make up have enabled him to have an extraordinary level of endurance.  Can I get there through nutrition and training?  That's the big question.  But after watching this movie, you'll be inspired at least to think about it!


  1. That is so totally unbelievable. I don't see how a body can recover enough overnight to keep doing that. It's nuts. It's phenomenal. Surely he did some kind of permanent damage to something? Wow.

  2. I haven't seen it, but Stan Lee (of comic book fame) has a new TV show on the History Channel called "Stan Lee's Superhumans." One episode features Karnazes! Superhuman indeed!