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Who Is The Ultramarathon Man: Dean Karnazes?

Who Is The Ultramarathon Man: Dean Karnazes?


Dean Karnazes is one of the well-known ultramarathon runners in the world from the USA. He is known for promoting endurance running among the public. He is known as the author of the book ‘Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All Night Runner’. The success of the book and his experience in ultramarathon has earned him the title ‘Ultramarathon Man’.

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About Dean Karnazes

Dean Karnazes was born on August 23rd 1962 in Ingelwood, California. His father was a naturalist who worked for the Education department. Karnazes took up running right from his kindergarten days. Soon he realized that running was fun and made it his pastime. He would run from home to school and back. He also would go mountain hiking, thanks to his love for the outdoors.

Karnazes was mentored by Jack McTavish who helped him win the one mile long distance championship in his high school days. He then had a new coach Benner Cummings whose philosophy was to run with your heart. He ran his first endurance run in 1976, completing 105 laps.

Achievements of Dean Karnazes

Dean Karnazes has many achievements to his name in endurance running. These achievements explain why he is considered a legend and called the Ultramarathon man.

  • He ran 350 miles in a duration of little less than 81 hours and did it without sleep.
  • In 2006, he completed the unique achievements of running 50 marathons in all the 50 states of the US in 50 consecutive days. Known as Endurance 50:50, he started in St. Louis and ended up with the New York Marathon. This achievement led to a film being made about him in 2008.
  • He ran a marathon in the South Pole at a temperature of -13 degrees Fahrenheit and he did it without wearing snowshoes.
  • He has completed the 199 mile run from Calistoga to Santa Cruz eleven times.
  • He ran for 148 miles on the treadmill within 24 hours.
  • In the space of 75 days, he ran from Disneyland to New York City running at an average of 40 to 50 miles.
  • He swam across the San Francisco Bay.
  • He won the 100 miles endurance run on the Vermont Trail.
  • Karnazes ran the Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley at a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • He has been featured on various magazine covers like Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and Competitor magazine.
  • He won the ESPN ESPY award in 2007 for the best outdoor athlete.

Karmazes started a company called Energy Well Natural Foods (now known as Good Health Natural Foods). He is a columnist for the popular Men’s Health magazine.

He has graduate degrees in business and science. He married his school love Julie and lives with his family in Ross, California. His children accompanied him during the Endurance 50:50 event.

Early Life and Career

Dean Karnazes was born on August 23, 1962, in Inglewood, California. Growing up, he was an active child, participating in sports such as soccer, swimming, and running. However, he did not discover his passion for long-distance running until he was 30 years old.

Prior to his career as an ultramarathon runner, Karnazes worked in marketing and sales. However, he found that he was unfulfilled by his corporate job and longed for a sense of purpose and challenge in his life. He eventually quit his job and began pursuing his dream of becoming a professional runner.

Finding your best self | Dean Karnazis

Courtesy of EDx Talks

Ultramarathon Career

Karnazes is best known for his incredible feats of endurance as an ultramarathon runner. He has completed some of the toughest races in the world, including the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, the Badwater Ultramarathon, and the Spartathlon.

In addition to his impressive race performances, Karnazes has also undertaken several remarkable endurance challenges. For example, he once ran 350 miles without sleep, and he completed a marathon on each of the seven continents in seven consecutive days. He has also run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days.

Karnazes has written several books about his experiences as an ultramarathon runner, including “Ultra Marathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner“, “Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss”, and “The Road to Sparta: Reliving the Ancient Battle and Epic Run That Inspired the World’s Greatest Footrace”.

Ultramarathoner Answers Questions

Courtesy of WIRED


In addition to his athletic accomplishments, Karnazes is also a dedicated philanthropist. He has supported various charitable causes over the years, including childhood obesity, cancer research, and environmental conservation.

Karnazes has also started his own foundation, Karno Kids, which aims to promote healthy living and physical activity among children. The foundation provides funding for programs that encourage kids to be active and healthy, such as after-school running clubs and community fitness events.

How long did Dean Karnazes take to run 350 miles?

Dean Karnazes famously ran 350 miles without sleep in just over 80 hours. He completed this feat in 2005, starting in San Francisco and ending in New York City. The run was part of a promotion for a national health club chain. During the run, Karnazes averaged about 4.4 miles per hour and burned an estimated 30,000 calories.


Dean Karnazes is a true inspiration to runners and non-runners alike. His incredible endurance feats and philanthropic efforts have made him a well-respected figure in the athletic world, and his books have inspired countless readers to pursue their own dreams and push beyond their limits. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting out, Karnazes’ story is sure to motivate you to push yourself to new heights.

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