Behind Ultramarathon Man - Page 7
How will Karnazes one-up himself next? Go global. Tentatively called RunWorld, Karnazes’ next big thing is to run a marathon in every country over the course of a year, starting in late 2013 or 2014. He envisions people in each country running all or part of a marathon with him, and raising money for a charitable cause in each nation.
“It’s gonna be a beast,” he said. “Having a goal like that, which involves logistics, planning, geography, culture—that’s something that completely engages me.”
“It takes millions of dollars to pull something like this off,” he added. He’s hoping to secure $4 million to $5 million in funding and says he is close to signing deals with major sponsors and a media partner.
We reached Karnazes’ frozen-yogurt shop at the end of our run, where one worker offered him some new chocolate toppings to try, but he passed. “I used to eat junk food, tons of junk food, but I don’t anymore,” he said.
Karnazes, who had barely broken a sweat, said he was happy to squeeze in a midday run, because he was preparing for the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run, a five-day staged race, and he needed some heat training.
At the TransRockies Run, he and the race organizers launched “Run a Day with Dean” that gave journalists and contest winners the opportunity to run at Dean’s side. At The North Face Endurance Challenge Series events, he also acts as host and ambassador—not competitor—by introducing each race and running part of the way with runners. His role at these events typifies his less competitive approach to running now. But he misses racing and says he may toe the line at some events in the coming year.
“It’s been a tough thing for me to watch my level of athleticism slip,” he says. “My God, I’d love nothing more than to go run hundreds of miles by myself, or to run Western States or Badwater, but to me, the biggest reward is having someone come up and say, ‘You changed my life. I’m now a runner because of you.’”
Sarah Lavender Smith is a Bay Area writer who blogs about trail running and travel at TheRunnersTrip.com.