Note that donations are still being accepted in case you would like to help out. You can also check out my previous interviews with him about his accomplishments and training, and his goal to run 500 miles nonstop.
Karnazes Completes 350-Mile Run
By Charles Bethea
October 18, 2005 On Wednesday, October 12, at 2 p.m., ultrarunner Dean Karnazes went for a run. At 10:44 p.m. on Saturday, October 15, 80 hours and 44 minutes later, he had covered 350 miles in a nonstop, sleepless loop through the San Francisco Bay Area.
Karnazes’ run is part of his fundraising effort to collect donations totaling $10,000 for two-year-old Katalina Thang, a little girl with a congenital heart defect who is awaiting a heart transplant at Stanford Children’s Hospital.
“One of the motivations was to experience the lows of a selfish runner dude, and realize that my pain was so much less than Katalina’s,” Karnazes told Outside Online.
His route included San Francisco’s 199-mile relay race, known as The Relay, an annual benefit for children’s organ donation. But, true to form, the semi-celebrity author of Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner upped the masochistic ante. He ran 151 miles to get to the start of the relay, which he then ran by himself.
Karnazes is getting closer to his goal. While most donations have come from individuals, corporations have also contributed to the cause. The North Face pledged $10 for each mile he ran for a total of $3,500. And donations are still rolling in.
Most of Karnazes’ long runs—he has completed dozens over 100 miles—have been structured as fundraisers. He has raised money for the Special Olympics, the Leukemia Society, and The Challenged Athlete Foundation, among other charities.
This time around, he endured temperatures in the 90s that “fried me a bit,” extreme sleep deprivation, and the occasional scare from roadside creatures.
“My third night without sleep was psychotic, almost an out-of-body experience,” he said. “I felt detached from my body. There was even a full moon. I saw coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and deer. It was crazy.”
In order to survive the 350-mile gauntlet, Karnazes had to ingest abnormal quantities of food and drink.
“I ate 40,000 calories and drank nine gallons of liquid during the run. That’s what a normal person eats in about three weeks,” he said.
In addition to raising money for Thang, running 350 miles was something of a test for Karnazes, who plans to attempt an even longer feat in the future.
“My eventual goal is to run 500 miles nonstop. But running 500 may take a better runner than me. Three hundred and fifty did things to my mind, it made me so strung out… I can’t imagine going beyond that.”
To make a secure online donation to help Katalina Thang, visit www.ultramarathonman.com/charity.php
To learn more about Dean Karnazes, Pam Reed, and other ultrarunners, read “Desperate Housewife Stalks Male Supermodel in Sports Death March” from this month’s issue of Outside.