Meet the incredibly impressive Ultramarathon Man

Dean Karnazes speaks to Off The Ball about his feats of endurance

BY Raf Diallo 20:32 Thursday 4 May 2017, 20:32 4 May 2017

DEAN KARNAZES, who ran 50 states in 50 consecutive days, at the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon.Staten Island and Central Park, NYC.November 1, 2015. Sonia Moskowitz/Zuma Press/PA Images

"In one go, I've run 350 miles in about 81 hours of continuous running..."

That's how Dean Karnazes kicks off his interview with Off The Ball.

To put that into contex, that includes "no sleep, just running" during those three and a bit days.

Karnazes has told his story in the book Ultramarathon Man: Confessions Of An All-Night Runner as well as The Road To Sparta.

But what is it like to be in a human body for such distances in one go?

"It's quite a surreal experience," says Karnazes, before touching on his experience of a race called The Spartathlon which seemed to verge into the territory of out of body experiences.

"It's a 153 mile continuous foot race from Athens to Sparta in Greece and after about 120 miles of running, I was severely dehydrated and my electrolytes were out of balance.

"As I was running along, I saw below me what looked like a lotus, a sort of bug, just prancing along between my feet and I couldn't understand what this bug was. I was trying to make some sense of it.

"All of a sudden I realised that bug by my feet was actually me. It was as though I was in a helicopter or a hot air balloon, hovering above myself looking down from the air at me running." 

He feels that in the moments of pushing the body to and beyond its limits, one gains a "really heightened sense of awareness" and that memories from those moments are crystal clear.

Karnazes also undertook the challenge of doing 50 marathons in 50 days across 50 US States which he discussed in detail, as well as some of his endurance runs in extreme conditions like Death Valley.

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