by Kraig Becker
Ultrarunner Dean Karnazes has managed to make a career out of running incredibly long distance, often in some of the harshest and most unforgiving environments on the planet. His incredible resume includes running a marathon on every continent, as well as completing 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 U.S. states. His amazing feats don’t end there however as he once ran 350 miles non-stop and has managed to complete the grueling Badwater Ultra, held in Death Valley each July, an astounding ten straight years. But all of those impressive accomplishments pale in comparison to what he has planned for 2015, when he hopes to run a marathon in 198 different countries around the globe in a single year.
Karnazes hasn’t officially announced this undertaking just yet but he is one of the featured lecturers in the North Face Speaker Series that is currently on tour and it is briefly mentioned at the end of his presentation. During the hour long lecture Dean shares some impressive stories from his running adventures which have taken him deep into the Sahara, across the Gobi, around Mont Blanc and all the way to the South Pole, amongst numerous other places. His photos from those expeditions show him running across all manner of terrain in a variety of conditions, invariably with a big smile on his face. But the final slides of the show are dedicated to what he has planned next, which will be this mind-blowing attempt to run through nearly 200 countries in just on year’s time.
Dean tells those in attendance that most of the countries he’ll be running through host formal marathons at various times of the year. He hopes to take part in as many of those races as possible over the course of his epic year, but when he visits the handful of nations that don’t hold formal running events, he intends to organize one himself.
Considering the fact that Karnazes is the type of guy who runs a marathon before breakfast most mornings, it seems that the running part of the journey may be the easiest. Traveling to 198 countries in a single year will be quite a challenge however and this type of endeavor will no doubt take its toll on the body, even for someone as fit as Dean. It should be interesting to follow his progress and to see if is possible for him to actually pull this off.