Saturday, July 8

Ultra Ultra

The venerable marathon has assumed a sacred place in the heart of athletics. 26.2 miles. More than 45,000 strides. Agony and euphoria. Some have described it as experiencing all of life's emotions in one, four-hour span (or five-hour, or whatever).

This fall, Dean Karnazes will attempt to run 50 of them: 50 marathons, in 50 states, in consecutive 50 days. No really!

Known as the North Face Endurance 50 (or E50 for short), this test of human fortitude will begin on September 17 at the Lewis and Clark Marathon in St. Louis, Missouri, and conclude 50 days later in New York's Central Park, at the finish line of the legendary New York City Marathon on November 5. Think of it! 1, 310 miles in 50 days, scattered out across the whole US, from Alaska to Florida, from Hawaii to Maine, and everywhere between. Wow!

Karnazes is known for his extraordinary physical feats--documented in his bestselling book Ultra Marathon Man. He has run a marathon at the North Pole. He has won the shoe-melting Badwater 135-mile race across Death Valley. He has even run a world-record 350 consecutive non-stop miles--without sleep! But, he considers the E50 his greatest test to date. "To my knowledge, no one has ever attempted anything like this before," he says. "It combines the physical element of running 50 straight marathons and the adventurous, logistical element of trying to get from state to state."

And, there is a good point to it all too. Karnazes hopes to raise a million dollars for charity along the way.

The really exciting part of all this is that Karnazes is asking for runners and endurance athletes from all over the country to help him achieve his goal by running with him. I'm still working on logistics, but I think I am going to try to run one, perhaps even two of the legs of this adventure (on September 17th, the Lewis and Clark Marathon in St. Louis and/or on September 18th, over the course that the St. Jude Marathon follows in Memphis). Could be amazing fun--to say nothing of the training boost it would give me for my own staged ultra in October (details to follow soon).