An Interview with Ultramarathon Man Dean Karnazes

Dean Karnazes has completed 50 marathons in 50 days, won the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon, and run 350 miles in just over 80 hours without stopping.

But none of those feats were as challenging as his latest accomplishment: Regis & Kelly's Run Across America with Dean Karnazes.

Starting in California and finishing in New York City, Karnazes ran 40 to 50 miles a day to complete the 3,000 mile journey in 75 days.

I recently caught up with Dean to find out more about the Run Across America, who he met along the way, his critics, and his next big challenge.

Running Examiner: You recently finished the Run Across America. How did it compare to some of your other challenges, like the Badwater Ultramarathon or running 50 marathons in 50 days?

Dean Karnazes: I have to be honest. This was the most intense just because it was 75 days. That's a long time to be out on the road. And it was such a cerebral thing to try and get in my head every day, to run 40 or 50 miles non-stop.

The whole thing was also being televised on the morning show LIVE! with Regis and Kelly. That just added a layer of stress and tension that was as difficult sometimes as the running itself.

Running Examiner: Now that you've spent a few months featured on the most popular morning show in America, do you notice that you're getting recognized more, and is that kind of weird?

Dean Karnazes: It's weird but it's also wonderful. It's a whole different crowd that watches morning TV. Coming out of security at the international terminal in an airport there was this TSA employee. She was a big woman and definitely not a runner. She saw me and said, "Oh my gosh, you're Dean Karnazes. I watched you every morning and I walk now. You see these shoes? I was so inactive and I saw what you were doing, and now I walk."

Running Examiner: What was the most unique experience you had during the Run Across America?

Dean Karnazes: One of the most bizarre incidents of the entire trip was that I actually ran into the White House and met Michelle Obama. After running 40 miles and turning left, a bunch of Secret Service guys said, "She's waiting for you."

Running Examiner: I imagine you would have liked to be smelling a little fresher during that introduction.

Dean Karnazes: She hugged me too (he laughs). This was shocking but she said, "I can't believe I'm meeting you in person. This is such an honor." I'm looking at the First Lady going, "What?"

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