Friday, June 22, 2007

Treadmills, The Bane Of Dean Karnazes' Existence

Beginning on Thursday at midnight, and lasting for 24 hours, ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes attempted to break the world treadmill record of 153.76 miles. He fell short, running only 131 miles which is equal to five marathons. It was Karnazes' second attempt at breaking a world treadmill record, and the second time that he's failed to do so.

Back on April 30, 2004 he competed against ultramarathoner Christopher Bergland inside a Kiehl's store as they both attempted to break the record at that time of 153.6 miles set by Edit Berces of Hungary. Bergland beat Karnazes by setting the current record(Erwin Valdebenito of Chile supposedly broke it this past April with 153.9 miles, but that's unconfirmed), while Karnazes stopped at 147.96 miles.

Now, three years later, he's tried to beat Bergland again, and has failed to do so. Though, his accomplishments are still impressive given that he ran when he was younger, gave up running for 15 years, then started again after celebrating his 30th birthday at a bar. Think about all those beers and Jagerbombs you consumed on your last birthday, then imagine running 30 miles after that.

"According to a profile in Wired Magazine, Karnazes traces his current passion for running to the night of his 30th birthday, when, while celebrating at a bar with friends, he found himself "being hit on by an attractive woman who was not his wife." Karnazes felt ill, slipped out the back door, walked to his house, changed into running clothes , and started running. After 30 miles of running he was near Santa Cruz where he realized that there were "untapped reservoirs within him." He described this moment as being akin to a religious conversion."

Although, it's probably a good thing that Bergland is an American, or else Karnazes might call the State Department on him. For all of the great running feats that Karnazes has accomplished, he was involved in a very odd incident in 2002. This followed the running of the South Pole Marathon where Irishman Richard Donovan had been proclaimed the winner.
"Karnazes was dissatisfied with the outcome and had a falling out with Donovan. Karnazes contacted the Department of State to report that Donovan was “a non-U.S. resident acting aggressively and potentially with malicious intent toward a U.S. citizen.”

The State Department? Doesn't Karnazes know that in this day and age a call like that could have landed Donovan in a cell at Gitmo? Geez, he should have just challenged him to a race, as long as it wasn't on a treadmill.

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