This week I found myself deeply absorbed into a book about a well-known Amercian-Greek runner called Dean Karnazes.
The book I'm talking about is 'Run! 26.2 stories of blisters and bliss' by ultra marathon runner and athlete Dean Karnazes. 'Karno', as his friends call him, wasn't a born runner. Though his drive and passion for running and love for adventure made him fully commit to his running career and follow a trail full of pleasure and pain.
Run! is Karno's follow-up book to his bestseller 'Ultramarathon Man'. His second book comprises of 26.2 (aka marathon distance) short stories about Karno's experiences and memories of tackling some of the most challenging ultra marathons in the world, including:
- a 350 mile run through the Australian outback
- the Western States 100 miles endurance race
- annual attempts at the Badwater ultramarathon in Death Valley, California
- a four deserts race across the Atacama, Gobi, Sahara and Antarctica deserts
- a 75 day track crossing America, running from California to NYC and raising money for charity
- the Ultra trail du Mont Blanc, one of the most preeminent off-road races in Europe
- and many more countless marathons and night runs.
On his own account he has never signed up for any runs shorter than marathon distance. He now owns an impressive collection of medals and silver belt buckles (that is the award for successfully completing an ultra marathon). Despite his grown fame and fortune his feet remain firmly on the ground. For him it is the experience that counts, less the gained prosperity or won trophies.
Unlike many autobiographies I've read before, Karno not only talks about his friends and family, he also gives them the opportunity to give their own, honest account of what it's like to be close to and live with Karno, the running man. His wife Julie, a non-runner by nature, describes the Dean Karnazes that she got to know and love. A humble character, driven by his passion for running, who always puts his family first.
Many fans and readers have been inspired by Karno's passion for extreme sports as well as his close friend Topher Gaylord. In the book Karno dedicates a chapter to his friend in which Topher describes his first tough but ultimately rewarding ultramarathon experience.
For Karno passion and conviction are more important than talent. He doesn't see himself as special or particularly gifted, like other runners before he one day put on his running shoes and never looked back. He runs for pure enjoyment and to fulfil his running dreams.
Run! is the first book I've come across by Dean Karnazes and I found it humbling, awe-striking and inspiring what a human being can achieve with pure will and conviction. I'm only at the beginning of my running career and have achieved little so far. But Karno inspired me to keep going and set my bars high. Running not only helps you to keep fit, it also gives you a purpose and will power to overcome any obstacles in life. Soon, anything seems possible.
In Karno's own words...
"Do what you love. Dream big. Be restless. Sleep little. Don't play life safe, dare boldly instead. Live as though you really mean it."
Now turn off that computer you're sitting at and get running...
You can find more information on Dean Karnazes, his books and events on his website www.ultramarathonman.com.