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Watch > Episode > Dean Karnazes - The Road to Sparta

Dean Karnazes - The Road to Sparta


Dean Karnazes, often referred to as the “Ultra Marathon Man,” is a living embodiment of extraordinary endurance and resilience. Renowned for his unparalleled feats of long-distance running, Karnazes has pushed the limits of human capability, becoming a global icon in the world of ultra-marathons. In this exclusive London Real interview, Brian Rose sits down with Dean Karnazes to discuss his remarkable life, achievements and how the human spirit can overcome even the greatest of challenges.

Born on August 23, 1962, in Inglewood, California, Dean Karnazes initially showed signs of his future passion for running during his youth. However, it wasn’t until the age of 30, after a night of revelry, that Karnazes experienced what he describes as an epiphany. Driven by an unexplainable desire, he found himself lacing up his running shoes and embarking on an impromptu 30-mile run. This transformative experience marked the beginning of Karnazes’ extraordinary journey into the world of ultra-marathons.

Dean Karnazes’ list of endurance accomplishments is nothing short of awe-inspiring. From completing the Badwater Ultramarathon, known as the world’s toughest foot race, to running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days, Karnazes has consistently sought out challenges that defy conventional notions of human endurance.

One of his most remarkable feats was the 200-mile run from Half Moon Bay to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, which he completed without sleep. Karnazes ran for almost 48 hours straight, covering a distance equivalent to nearly eight marathons, showcasing an unparalleled mental and physical fortitude.

What sets Dean Karnazes apart is not just his physical ability but his mental resilience and unwavering determination. Karnazes often speaks about the mental challenges of ultra-marathons, emphasising the importance of overcoming the inner obstacles that arise during such gruelling endeavours.

His philosophy revolves around embracing discomfort, welcoming pain, and recognising that endurance is not solely a physical pursuit but a mental and spiritual journey. Karnazes’ approach to running reflects a profound understanding of the connection between the human spirit and the ability to endure, persevere, and achieve the seemingly impossible.

Dean Karnazes has shared his insights and experiences with a global audience through his writing. His books, including “Ultra Marathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner” and “Run! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss,” offer readers a glimpse into the world of extreme endurance running and the transformative power of embracing challenges.Beyond his personal achievements, Karnazes is an advocate for living an active and healthy lifestyle. He encourages individuals to step out of their comfort zones, embrace physical challenges, and discover the joy of pushing personal boundaries. Karnazes firmly believes that everyone has untapped reservoirs of strength within them, waiting to be discovered through the pursuit of endurance challenges.

Dean Karnazes has left an indelible mark on the world of ultra-marathons, inspiring countless individuals to redefine their limits and explore the depths of their potential. His legacy extends beyond the racecourse, influencing the broader fitness and endurance community. Karnazes’ story resonates with those seeking inspiration to overcome obstacles, pursue audacious goals, and embrace the transformative journey of self-discovery.

Dean Karnazes, the Ultra Marathon Man, continues to captivate the world with his unparalleled feats of endurance and his unwavering commitment to pushing the limits of human potential. Through his extraordinary running endeavours, philosophical insights, and advocacy for an active lifestyle, Karnazes invites us all to reconsider the boundaries of what we believe is achievable. As a living testament to the resilience of the human spirit, Dean Karnazes inspires individuals to embark on their own journeys of self-discovery and endurance, reminding us that the path to greatness often lies just beyond our perceived limits.


00:00 | Trailer
02:01 Brian’s thoughts on the episode
06:15 Brian’s introduction
07:01 Dean’s marathon connections between UK, Greece and America
09:14 Why so many people now seek out the extreme challenge of a marathon
11:04 Deciding to quit his job and make a living out of running
15:27 Why and how Dean runs such long distances
18:00 Running Death Valley, the world’s toughest foot race
22:00 Pain is just perception
25:26 Sign up and run your first marathon, you will learn so much
27:09 Running the Boston marathon after the 2013 bombing
32:03 How ultra-marathon running has changed over last 20 years
34:32 Writing ‘The Road to Sparta’
36:11 The story behind the Spartathlon and marathon running
41:11 Dean’s Spartathlon experience
44:22 Dean’s view of the future prospects for Greece and its people
47:02 Dean’s world perspective from global marathon running
48:59 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days is sane compared to Dean’s next challenge
50:34 How Dean physically prepares for marathons
53:50 What keeps Dean awake at night
54:58 Success Secrets
55:48 What is failure to Dean
56:20 What we would be surprised to learn about Dean
58:14 Phone call to the 20 year old Dean
59:25 Best advice ever received
1:01:09 Advice to the young person across the world who has a dream
1:02:21 Why are people so eager to meet Dean at his London book signings
1:04:15 Brian’s summing up.


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