Dean Karnazes could be considered one of the godfathers of modern ultrarunning. Along with Scott Jurek, the American brought ultra-endurance running into the mainstream. He is most well known for running 50 marathons in 50 states in just 50 days back in 2006. Karnazes has been profiled on 60 Minutes, appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and has won an espy award.
What would you say are your defining characteristics as a runner?
Longevity. I’ve raced and competed on all seven continents, twice now, and have no intentions of slowing down.
What do you admire most in another runner?
Grit. Persistence. Humility. Passion. And a good sense of humour.
What is your idea of happiness?
A pair of shoes and an endless trail.
Who are your athletic heroes?
Pheidippides, the ancient messenger that saved western civilization and gave us the marathon in the process. He, and Roger Federer. That guy’s amazing!
Where would you like to live?
Honestly, nowhere. I’m most at home roaming. A nomadic life with no permanent residence would suit me well. Of course, if I had to choose a location, a small island in Greece wouldn’t be so bad.
What is your greatest running-related regret?
That I gave up running as a teenager and waited more than a decade to pick it back up again.
What is your greatest fear?
Not realizing my full potential. The bar might be low, but not clearing it would be a life incompletely lived.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d always remember to laugh at myself and never take life too seriously. We’re only here for a fleeting moment. Enjoy.
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
A tattered picture of my family. I take it everywhere (that’s why it’s so tattered).
What is your motto?
If at first you don’t succeed, train harder!