I’ve run the NYC Marathon 3 times. 26.2 miles is a heck of a long way to run, not to mention the hundreds of miles you log training for it. At no point on any of these quests did I think to myself, ‘26.2 miles just isn’t enough… I really wish it was longer’. But in the booming sport of ultramarathons, races are 50, 100, 135 miles, and even longer. Equally as grueling as the distances are the conditions in which they are run.
Dean Karnazes is often credited with that booming popularity, and putting the sport of ultrarunning onto the map. For him, a marathon is a training run, and he usually runs one before breakfast. Karnazes completed his first ultramarathon in 1993. His first 100-miler was the famed Western States Endurance Run, a race that has become the marquis event of the sport. With just 369 spots, there are nearly 10 times the number of applicants. It’s the ultramarathon everyone wants to run, and comparable to the NYC Marathon, there is a lottery to get in. Karnazes is an 11-time 100-Mile/1 Day Silver Buckleholder in the event, which is awarded for completing the race in less than 24 hours.
In addition to other unfathomable challenges is the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon. It is run across Death Valley in the height of summer where temperatures have climbed as high as 130 degrees. Karnazes won it in 2004, in addition to five other top-10 finishes from 2000 to 2008. At the opposite end of extreme, he has run a marathon in the South Pole, with temperatures as low as -40 degrees. He has run across the United States from Disneyland to New York City in 75 days; 50 marathons in 50 states on 50 consecutive days; and, just this summer, 1000 miles across Australia. Read More