Dean Karnazes Became An Inspiration By Following His Passion


Dean Karnazes is a well-known figure in the running world and will be joining me on the show today.

His running resume is just as long as the ultras that he runs, which includes, running all over the world, taking on seemingly impossible challenges, and writing several best-selling books.

I am excited to go a few easy miles with Dean Karnazes.

Dean Karnazes

The Birthday That Forever Changed Him

It would seem to anyone that doesn’t know the story of Dean Karnazes that he has been a runner forever.

Dean ran cross country while in high school but gave up running altogether at the age of 16.

The day he would run again was an unlikely one.

On Dean’s 30th birthday he was celebrating in a bar with friends and came up with the idea to run 30 miles in honor of turning 30.

That night it didn’t matter to Dean that he hadn’t run or trained to go that far.

He took off into the night and while the plan seemed outlandish it was where he was supposed to be.

That night would be the night that forever changed the course of his life.

Material Success Didn’t Equal Happiness

At the time of Dean’s 30-mile birthday run, he was living and working in San Francisco, California.

Dean didn’t grow up with much and had become quite successful as an adult.

He had all the material things that are thought to bring happiness yet he wasn’t happy.

It was his discontent with life that was the impetus to him getting back to running.

Running challenged and changed him and he wanted to find a way to dedicate himself to the sport he loved.

The support of his wife was what ultimately pushed him to follow his passion.

When Dean brought up the idea of quitting his job to pursue running his wife never doubted it was the right path for him.

Anything Is Possible

Dean shared that for him the beauty of running is that everyone is in it for their own experiences.

Dean has many incredible running feats to his name, but one race that sticks out is the Badwater Ultramarathon.

Prior to competing in the race, Dean couldn’t fathom running that far in the intense heat.

His first year competing in Badwater, the race crushed him and he had to drop out.

The entire next year Dean couldn’t think of anything else, but going back and trying again.

The following year Dean was able to finish and has since completed 10 Badwater Ultramarathons.

What seemed impossible at first proved to be an achievable goal.

Shared Suffering Brings Us Together

One thing Dean has learned from running all over the world is that even if we don’t speak the same language running brings people together.

Dean has the outlook that the world would be a much better place if more people took up running.

Running is achievable by anyone, old or young.

Some tips Dean has for runners are:

  • Be encouraging.
  • Lead by example.
  • When first starting out, run for time, not distance.
  • Running is very quantifiable and therefore can be a good motivator.
  • Running not only changes one’s physical appearance, but their mental outlook is often changed as well.

Even for as long as Dean has been in the sport he keeps coming back.

There are always new places to explore by foot and new challenges to try.

Dean Karnazes

Longevity In The Sport

Dean has been running for over two decades and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

In the early years of running, Dean would eat what he wanted without much thought.

When he was younger, he assumed a calorie was just a calorie and it didn’t matter what it came from.

Over the years Dean has fine-tuned his diet and also made other changes along the way that include:

  • Getting good quality sleep.
  • Consistently doing cross-training and strength training.
  • Having harmonious interpersonal relationships.

Dean had to take a 360-degree view of his life if he wanted to have longevity in the sport.

There is not one single thing that Dean attributes to staying healthy, but rather all of it working together.

Never Stop Trying

Dean thrives on pushing his limits and always seems to have his next big goal in mind.

For the past 5 years, Dean has been trying to coordinate his next challenge.

Dean has a goal to run a marathon in all 203 nations in the world over the course of one year.

Logistically this is nearly as hard as the physical portion.

The pieces have yet to fall into place, but that doesn’t stop Dean from continuing to try.

Even the simple act of getting into some countries has proven to be challenging.

Dean’s vision in completing this challenge is to unite people around the world as he runs in various countries.

He also hopes to partner with a media outlet to highlight human relations.

Running For Good

Dean’s most recent book is a compilation of short stories about running.

“Running For Good: 101 Stories For Runners and Walkers To Get You Going,” will hopefully motivate more people to get out the door and run.

For Dean, it was refreshing to read stories that were so different from his reality and how he experienced the sport.

Dean was humbled when learning about the challenges that some people went through to be active.

Even if a reader isn’t motivated to run, everybody wins if more people are interested in being active.

Dean never takes his life for granted and has immense gratitude for the running community.

The Newest Book By Dean Karnazes


Mentioned In This Episode:

Stay connected with Dean Karnazes by checking out his website Ultramarathonman and/or following him on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.


Dean Karnazes is best known as the Ultra Marathon Man. He is only limited by his imagination as to what he can accomplish in the sport of running. Click To Tweet


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