North Face Speaker Series events here in Austin, TX. The guest of honor was ultrarunner Dean Karnazes, who was fun, interesting and engaging to listen to. Over the course of about an hour and a half, Dean shared stories from his many endurance runs that have taken him to the far corners of the globe. He also talked about his training regimen and how he feels like he really isn't all that special of an athlete, he just happens to have a lot of personal drive to push himself beyond normal human limits. Considering he has finished the Badwater Ultramarathon ten years in a row, run a marathon on every continent and once ran a marathon in all 50 states in just 50 days, I'd say there is more than something special about the man. And while I found his lecture to be informative and entertaining, it was his plans for what he wants to do next that stuck with me after I left the theater.
At the end of the lecture Dean referenced his next big running project during which he hopes to run all over the world. He announced his intentions to run a marathon in all 198 countries on the planet in a single year. He hopes to launch this ambitious attempt in 2015 as he makes a global tour to push his endurance exploits even further.
Details on the plans were fairly light and I get the impression that there are still a lot of logistics to be worked out, but it was pretty clear that he wants this to be his next major project. He said that not all of the countries have organized marathons that take place there each year, so he's working with partners such as Google to plot out his own marathon in those countries that don't have official events. Of course, for us mere mortals, running 198 marathons in a single year sound crazy, but for a guy who does that ever morning before breakfast, it is just another day that ends with the letter "y."
Dean's website doesn't have any information about his plans to run through all of those countries just yet, but I'd guess you'll start to hear more about it next year as he ramps up for those runs. Obviously an endeavor of this magnitude takes a lot of planning and I'm sure he isn't quite ready to officially layout all of his plans just yet. I guess we'll have to wait to learn more details once it all becomes official but I found it to be a fascinating project even at this early conceptional stage. Of course, once it becomes official, I'll share more when Dean does.