Sarah Lavender Smith April 24, 2012 TWEET COMMENTS 2

Behind Ultramarathon Man - Page 10

Brandon Friese of Denver, an independent contractor for Hawkeye and member of Karnazes’ support crew, said the team used two tour buses, one to transport Dean’s crew and another for the television crew. On most mornings, Friese received a call from Dean between 4 and 7 a.m.—“a lot of times he couldn’t sleep, so he’d want to get started”—and thus began a day of running 40 to 50 miles, which lasted between seven and 12 hours.

Karnazes was “very detail oriented,” says Friese, wanting to know the elevation profile and terrain before each day, and he was “pretty regimented with his food.” The crew would mix yogurt or Ensure with granola and nut clusters, hand him the bowl, and he would eat while walking. “His big thing was always forward, always moving.”

Karnazes and his entourage reached D.C. in early May. Television from that day shows Karnazes running through the streets with a pack of schoolchildren following his lead and the television host Kelly Rippa jogging at his side. They ran through the gates to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House lawn, where Michelle Obama high fived the school kids, greeted Karnazes’ family—who had flown out for a White House tour—and hugged Karnazes.  

Michelle Obama told the schoolchildren and the national television audience, “I want kids everywhere to look at Dean as an example. … Exercise! Eat healthy! Keep moving!”

After three hours in the White House, Dean recalled, “I finally told them, ‘I’ve still got 30 miles I’ve gotta run today,’” so he left and kept going toward New York. “I can’t even believe it’s me who lived that experience [at the White House]. “I was like, ‘I’m a runner, what am I doing here?’ It was surreal.”

Going Global
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.


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