the non-running geeks among us might not be aware of a notable, yet wonderfully irrational event occurring now. dean karnazes – (in)famous for running great distances, sometimes balancing boxes of pizza and cheesecake while eating and running, is running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. yep – crazy. you can check out his blog here, and read about the endurance 50 events here.
dean is indisputably a great athlete. not the picture of balance though. running 300+ miles without stopping is not the mark of a rational person. he’s written a book about his exploits called ultramarathon man : confessions of an all-night runner. i’m about 80 pages in now – it’s a really fun read, i’d definitely recommend it.
people seem to have mixed feelings about the endurance 50 event. it’s essentially a barnstorming tour, much like baseball players used to do in the offseason. if you look at his finish times for the events, you’ll see that he’s running an hour or more slower than he’s capable of per marathon. it’s easy to think "what’s the point? it’s all a gimmick". well – yes it is. it’s a great gimmick.
not many people are capable of running 183 miles per week. that’s five times more mileage than i typically cover. most hardcore runners don’t exceed 120 miles per week, and this guy is going half again as long. he’s also raising money for his foundation to support, encourage, and motivate youth to get outside and become physically active. and he’s drawing a significant number of first time marathoners into the sport with his spirit of inclusion.
the girls and i went out to watch his run here on saturday. the website said he was going to do the seafair marathon course, which goes very near our house. so we got up and walked over to watch. after waiting about 30 minutes, i began to wonder whether or not we’d missed them. and the girls were starting to get ancy. several drivers thought we were crazy too : why is this guy out on the side of a road with his two kids early on a saturday morning? then a car drove up, and a guy hopped out to tell us that the runners were doing the half marathon course twice … which did not include the road we were staying on. ooops … still it was nice that they sent someone out to let the few spectators know – especially the family members who were waiting to see their loved ones go past.
no problem though – we walked back to the house and drove down to the finish line (also the halfway point). we hung out and watched the runners go by once, and watched the north face folks set up the finish area. then we watched the runners come in … lined up, holding hands, and having a blast. the positive vibe was palpable … i was sorry i hadn’t run it. on the other hand, the kids got to hold the tape for the runners. that was a kick for them (for me too).
so – after hearing our account of the day, kris decided to change her travel plans to the twin cities in a few weeks to accomodate a run with dean over the twin cities marathon course. she should fit right in.