Dean Karnazes is a ultramarathoner who runs crazy distances in places people rarely visit. I had no intention to be inspired by his adventurous but incomprehensive outdoor activities and accomplishments. Also, he seemed too superficial and immodest for a ultramarathoner to my liking (too many TV appearances, and who would pose half naked on a book cover!?) but I thought I’d read his experiences since I did not know what sort of stories he could tell. He was one of World’s 100 Most Influential People in 2010 by Time Magazine, after all.
I was wrong! He seems very laid-back and humble middle-aged son/father/husband who just loves to run. He is a non-fiction version of Forrest Gump, in terms of love of running. But I was right, in that he’s run crazy distances in some of the most remote places on earth. In some races, he had near-death experiences but he never stops, because that’s what he likes to do. He runs and that’s how he lives and supports his family. How fantastic is that!? I wish I had such talent and determination.
In Run! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss, he shares his stories about his races, family and everything about running in a non-pretentious fashion that makes everybody like him. There is no cockiness anywhere in the book that I was prepared to read and forget. One of the most memorable stories from the book is his experiences during the 4 Deserts, which a runner takes on 250km (or 155 miles) in seven days in four of the world’s most forbidden and unforgiving deserts: Atacama (Chile), Gobi (China), Sahara (Egypt) and Antarctica – a total of 1,000km. He writes about his suffering, hallucination, dehydration and all other possible consequences of running such race that one can think of. I didn’t understand why he put himself through such grave agonies. He is no Forrest Gump, in terms of intelligence: He has run Fortune 500 companies and start-ups. But as I read, I realized that is what he really likes to do. Simple as that. His next big endeavor is a plan to run a marathon in all countries in the world, starting November 2012. I wish him the best luck and keep running!