This internationally renowned athlete known for pushing the limits of his endurance shares real running moments he never has before. Dean, at age 14 ran a marathon to raise money for charity. He started running home when he was in kindergarten and has always had a love for moving. He is known for his amazing endurance achievements, continuing to push what his body is capable of achieving.

Dean most recently ran 50 marathons, in all 50 US states, in 50 consecutive days, finishing with the NYC Marathon, which he ran in three hours flat. Dean has also run for 24 hours straight on a treadmill in Times Square. He has run in many many incredible places around the world, on all the continents, across the Gobi desert. He is truly an amazing athlete, and is here to talk about his latest adventure; running the spartathlon, and completing the final 75 miles without any food or fuel other than water.

For those who are still running in your later years, Dean is especially inspiring as he is now 55 years old and still going strong. If you want to hear questions and a discussion with Dean unlike any other podcast, this is the episode for you.

Today’s Guest

Dean Karnazes is an internationally renowned athlete known for pushing the limits of his endurance. Dean has run 350 continuous miles, foregoing sleep for three nights. He’s run across Death Valley in 120 degree temperatures, across the Gobi desert, and a marathon to the South Pole in negative 40 degrees. On ten different occasions, he’s run a 200-mile relay race solo, racing alongside teams of twelve.

What you will learn about:

  • What makes Dean’s calves the way many recognize him.
  • How Dean had what most would consider an ideal life but was not happy with his non-running life, because things were just too easy and routine.
  • How Dean keeps all the fan letters he gets in special folders in his trophy room.
  • Dean discusses his recently released book The Road to Sparta and how he tried to recreate to the best he possibly could, the run Pheidippides did that inspired the marathon as a race distance. He discusses how as runners we get so caught up in the moment and our stubborn pride can prevent us from doing what we know we should do.
  • Dean discusses how difficult it is to deal with all the crowds of people that come out to see him during his endurance events and being torn between needing to rest and wanting to acknowledge the effort they made to come out to see him. How he ended up choosing to forgo his own self care.
  • When we are struggling during a half or full marathon it is a unique sensation to us as runners. Most people don’t have any way to relate to our experience other than perhaps a woman giving birth. We don’t have those intense moments on a day to day basis. There are moments of extreme doubt and suffering that you don’t normally experience in day to day life.
  • How when you run overnight, you are overriding all your normal processes but your body takes over and your body finds a way to compensate and you are sleep running.
  • Dean describes the anguish and struggle that every runner goes through during an endurance race. Shared experiences bring us together and builds bonds and how it doesn’t matter if you are an elite marathoner or first time 5k runner, you share the same experience. Dean runs every race that he attends because he feels it is important to share the experience with others.
  • Dean talks about his participation with Marathon Wines, which is targeted to runners. Greece is the home for fine wines and there are stories of the early Greek runners drinking wine along their runs. The vines in Santorini make unique wines, high in electrolytes and by participating he is helping Greece.

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Inspirational Quotes:

I wanted the pain and the struggle of doing something physical again.

I am humbled and awed when I go into my trophy room that one man could accomplish all these things.

Taking a few minutes in what might be a 30 hr race to correct something is far better than continuing on, but we get caught up in the passion of what we are doing at the moment.

It is the fear of pain that holds people back, so shifting the paradigm to embracing the pain and responding, then your relationship to pain will change.


Last week’s episode with Emelia Gorecka

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Road to Sparta book

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Thank you to Bombas and Bodyhealth for sponsoring this episode of Running for Real.

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Thanks for Listening! I hope you enjoyed today’s episode.

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Thank you to Dean, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.

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