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DEAN KARNAZES

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Dean Karnazes Bio Photo

An acclaimed endurance athlete and NY Times bestselling author, Dean Karnazes has pushed his body and mind to inconceivable limits. Among his many accomplishments, he has run 50 marathons, in all 50 US states, in 50 consecutive days, he’s run 350 continuous miles, foregoing sleep for three nights. He’s run across the Sahara Desert in 120-degree temperatures, and he’s run a marathon to the South Pole in negative 40 degrees. On ten separate occasions he’s run a 200-mile relay race solo, racing alongside teams of twelve. His long list of competitive achievements include winning the World’s Toughest Footrace, the Badwater Ultramarathon, running 135 miles nonstop across Death Valley during the middle of summer. He has raced and competed on all seven continents of the planet, twice over.

Yet, it is his unique ability to enthuse athletes of all abilities and backgrounds that truly set Dean apart. Despite his many accomplishments, awards and distinctions, he remains most proud of his ongoing contributions of time and funding to programs aimed at getting children and youth outdoors and active. He has raised millions of dollars for charity and was awarded the prestigious Community Leadership Award by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports.

Events, Wins, and Accomplishments

  • Introduced to long-distance running by track coach Jack McTavish in Junior High School. “Go out hard and finish harder.”
  • Under Jack McTavish, Dean won the 1-Mile California State Long-Distance Championship. Dean said the race felt good to which McTavish replied, “If it felt good, you didn't push hard enough. It's supposed to hurt like hell.”
  • 1976 - Joins the cross-country team as a freshman at San Clemente High under Benner Cummings.
  • 1976 - “Most Inspirational” team member on the cross-country team.
  • 1976 - First endurance event: just under 6 hours with 105 laps around the track raising money for underprivileged children.
  • Graduate of USF's McLaren School of Business & Management
  • 1995 – Co-Founds EnergyWell Natural Foods
  • 1994 – 2018 - Twelve Western States 100-Mile Run Endurance Run Silver Buckles
  • 2000 - Won Outdoor World Championships
  • 1995 - 2008 - 10 Badwater finishes (5x top-ten)
  • 2002 - Marathon to the South Pole
  • 2004 – Winner Badwater Ultramarathon
  • 2004 - 148 miles completed in 24 Hours on a treadmill
  • 2005 and 2008 - American Ultrarunning Team, World Championships
  • 2005 - Ran 350 miles in 80 hours and 44 minutes without sleep
  • 2006 - Won the Vermont 100 Endurance Race
  • 2006 - 50 Marathons in 50 States in 50 Days
  • 2007 - Won the Dead President’s Ultra Endurance Run
  • 2008 – Won the Atacama Crossing, Chile
  • 2008 - Dean tries Hammer for the first time at the Sahara Race during the 4 Deserts Challenge. Goes on to win the overall event becoming first individual to finisher all 4 Desert races in one-year. Perpetuem and Endurolytes save his race and propel him through the remaining races in the series.
  • 2008 - Won the Four Desserts Race Series
  • 2009 - 212 miles on a treadmill in 48 hours
  • 2009 - Swam across the San Francisco Bay
  • 2011 - Ran 3,000 miles across America from Disneyland to NYC
  • Completed “The Relay” eleven times, solo, a 199-mile run from Calistoga to Santa Cruz typically run in teams of twelve.
  • 2016 - 525km over 10 days along the Silk Road in Central Asia as a US Athlete Ambassador on a State Department sports diplomacy envoy.
  • 2018 – Served as US Athlete Ambassador on a sports diplomacy envoy to South America.

Charity and Public Service

  • Raised Millions of Dollars for Charity
  • Founded Karno Kids charity
  • Running USA Youth Fitness Contributor of the Year
  • Named to the President’s Council for Physical Fitness and Sports
  • Named to the California State Senate Task Force on Youth Wellness
  • Member of the San Francisco Physical Activity Council
  • Board member of Girls on the Run

New York Times Bestselling Author

  • 2005 - Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner
  • 2009 - 50:50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days – and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance
  • 2011 - Run! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss
  • 2016 - The Road to Sparta: Reliving the Ancient Battle and Epic Run That Inspired the World’s Greatest Footrace
  • 2019 Co-Author Chicken Soup for the Soul: Running for Good
  • 2021 - A Runner’s High: My Life in Motion

Awards and Recognition

  • 2004 - Outside Magazine’s Top 10 Ultimate Athletes
  • 2004 - One of GQ’s Best Bodies of the Year
  • 2005 - Men’s Journal Adventure Hall of Fame
  • 2005, 2006, and 2008 - Competitor magazine Endurance Athlete of the Year
  • 2006 - ESPN ESPY winner Best Outdoor Athlete
  • 2006 - Time’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the World
  • 2006 - Emmy Award for Best Sports Feature
  • 2006 - Awarded Arkansas Traveler Award by Governor Mike Huckabee
  • 2007 - ESPN ESPY Award Winner for Best Outdoor Athlete
  • 2008 - Olympic Torchbearer San Francisco – Beijing Olympic Games
  • 2012 - Named one of Men’s Health 100 Fittest Men of All Time
  • 2012 - The Best Athletes Right Now in Esquire
  • 2018 - Olympic Torchbearer Delphi, Greece – South Korea Olympic Games
  • 2019 - President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
  • 2020 - Named Men’s Health Fittest Man over 50

Appeared on

  • 60 Minutes
  • The Today Show
  • The Late Show with David Letterman
  • Late Night with Conan O’Brien
  • The Howard Stern Show
  • NPR’s Morning Show
  • CNN
  • CBS News
  • ESPN
  • And many others…

Featured in

  • Time
  • Newsweek
  • People
  • GQ
  • Runner’s World
  • Esquire
  • Forbes
  • New York Times
  • USA Today
  • Washington Post
  • London Telegraph
  • And many others…