Karnazes, Dean 1962–
Karnazes, Dean 1962–
PERSONAL: Born 1962; married Julie Abbott (a dentist), 1988; children: two. Education: Holds two graduate degrees, including an M.B.A.
CAREER: Athlete, businessperson, and public speaker. Ultra marathoner; EnergyWell Natural Foods, president. Also helps develop running footwear and apparel and raises money for charity. Previous jobs included working as a sales executive for GlaxoSmithKline. Has appeared on television programs, including 60 Minutes and David Letterman Show. Member, American Ultrarunning Team.
MEMBER: All American Trail Running Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: Winner of numerous marathons and ultra marathons, including Inaugural South Pole Marathon, Running Division; Ultra Division champion (six times), Saturn Relay; Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run Silver Buckle (nine times); Outdoor World Championships, 2000; Arabian Stallion Award, Angels Crest 100-Mile Endurance Run, 2003. Top Ten Runners of the Year 2003, Ultrarunning magazine; Ultrarunner of the Year 2004, Competitor magazine; Outside Magazine Top Ten Ultimate Athletes, 2004.
Ultra Marathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, J.P. Tarcher/Penguin (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Dean Karnazes, recognized as one of the world's greatest endurance athletes, has accomplished such feats as running the equivalent of ten marathons, or 262 miles, without stopping. In an article in the Mississippi Business Journal, Jim Laird quoted Karnazes as saying: "I run because long after my footprints fade away, maybe I will have inspired a few to reject the easy path, hit the trails, put one foot in front of the other, and come to the same conclusion I did: I run because it always takes me where I want to go."
Karnazes, whose ultimate goal is to run 300 miles nonstop, details his ultra-athletic life in his book Ultra Marathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner. "When I wrote the book, I thought, just tell your stories, tell it like it is, try and tell them how you feel when you do these things, why you do it as best as you can, tell them some of the funny things that happen," Karnazes told Lynn Andriani in an interview for Publishers Weekly. "Be truthful, and if it appeals to people, it does, if it doesn't, it doesn't."
In his autobiography, the author recounts that he was not a devoted athlete in high school; in fact he quit the cross-country running team after only one season. As described by Karnazes, his life was headed on a routine path after he graduated with an M.B.A., got married, and held a job as a salesman with a pharmaceutical company. But, he writes, he was getting bored and felt he was stuck in a routine. Then, after a thirtieth-birthday-party bash during which he had a drink at a bar, he decided on a whim to run from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay, a distance of thirty miles. Karnazes writes that the run invigorated his mind and body and convinced him that the running life was for him.
Karnazes details in his autobiography many of the races he has run, such as competing in the Badwater 135-mile ultra marathon through Death Valley in the middle of summer, noting that it was so hot that he had to run on the white lines on the road or the soles of his shoes would melt. He also writes about the extreme conditions he faced while running a marathon in the snow in Antarctica (other competitors wore snowshoes) and numerous other tests of ultra endurance. The author ruminates on why he runs such demanding distances and says that part of the reason may have to do with the death of his sister at the age of eighteen in a car accident: running long distances requires one to essentially shut down one's thinking process. He also notes that he likes having goals to reach and that he may have an obsessive-compulsive nature.
A Kirkus Reviews contributor described the book as "charming and surprisingly quirky, providing the perfect escapist fantasy for couch potatoes and weekend warriors alike." A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that the author's "masochism is a reader's pleasure, and Karnazes's book is intriguing." Bill Syken noted in Sports Illustrated that the book is "fascinating" and "an engaging memoir."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Karnazes, Dean, Ultra Marathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, J.P. Tarcher/Penguin (New York, NY), 2005.
Esquire, March, 2005, Brendan Vaughan, "The Indefatigable Man," interview with Karnazes, p. 116; April, 2005, Tyler Cabo, "Dean's Diet: Eating Advice from This Guy, Who Knows from Power Food," p. 116.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2005, review of Ultra Marathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, p. 101.
Mississippi Business Journal, April 11, 2005, Jim Laird, "Learning Valuable Lessons a Mile at a Time," profile of Karnazes, p. A5.
Outside, January, 2004, Ben Hewitt, "Bodywork and Destinations Special: Fit to the Core Balanced Beings."
People, March 21, 2005, "Ultramarathon Man: Think Your Husband's Obsessed with Working Out? Meet Dean Karnazes, 42, One of an Elite Group of Runners Who Compete in Ultramarathons—Races of 100 Miles or More—Just for Fun," p. 62.
Publishers Weekly, January 3, 2005, review of Ultra Marathon Man, p. 43; January 3, 2005, Lynn Andriani, "When a Marathon Is Just a Warm-Up," interview with Karnazes, p. 44.
Runner's World, October, 2004, "Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon," p. 96; February, 2005, Ben Hewitt, "300: The 300-Mile Man," p. 56.
SFWeekly, January 14, 2004, Lessley Anderson, "Ultra Marathon Man: Even among Long-Distance Runners, S.F.'s Dean Karnazes Is a Phenom."
Sports Illustrated, March 14, 2005, Bill Syken, review of Ultra Marathon Man, p. A14.
Time, February 28, 2005, Bill Saporito, "Born to Run—For 300 Miles: In the Realm of the Ultramarathon, 100 Miles Is Routine," p. 61.
Dean Karnazes Home Page, http://www.ultramarathonman.com (July 6, 2005).