First off let me just say that I LOVE Dean Karnazes. He’s probably my favorite running persona and athlete. He’s a great role model and does great things for people through running. I definitely look up to him.
I read “UltraMarathon Man” last year. I loved the book, but never got around to making a book review post. I had read Dean’s book “50/50 – Secrets I learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days” previously which is really where my appreciation for the athlete bloomed. You can find my review on that book HERE.
I decided to finally review “UltraMarathon Man,” the book, When my NetFlix delivered the movie to my mailbox. While this movie is more closely related to “50/50,” all the books and the movie tie together.
I highly recommend reading one or both books and watching this movie if you are like me and in need of a little motivation and inspiration. He has one other book called “Run! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss” that I plan on picking up soon.
Let’s start with the movie, which was made in 2008. The movie follows Dean, his crew and family as they travel from marathon to marathon through the 50 states. You get to see candid shots of Dean as well as insights on why Dean does what he does.
I really like seeing Dean in action to complement the books I had already read. They also point the camera on other athletes who speak on their own running as well as why they follow Dean.
One of my favorite lines is spoken by another runner, Mike Huckabee, the governor (at the time) of Arkansas at Marathon #4: “I think what Dean is doing is pretty amazing and the inspiration that he is giving to everybody – that if he can run 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states, then every american can do at least 50 minutes of exercise three or four times a week and get healthy.”
There’s plenty of inspiration to be found in this movie, and not just from Dean. He tells the stories of other runners he has met along the way, including a then 53-year-old woman who had run 50 marathons in the last three years and beaten cancer all at the same time. WOW!
The book, written in 2006, is everything up to his 50 states challenge. He chronologically explains his running career from high school, to the absence of running for about 14 years, to how he got started again and started running ultramarathons. He follows his passion and took what he loved to find out how to make it part of his life. Now, not only does he get paid for it, but he uses it running to help others in need. And that’s truly inspiring to me. I can only hope that this can happened for me and for others.
This man, this athlete, is an animal! But it’s not just his athletic greatness that inspires others and myself. He’s down to earth. He’s very motivating if so because he is so charismatic. He’s a genuinely nice guy and always running for a cause. We see in “UltraMarathon Man” the book, that he runs a relay race (meant for a team of 6 to 12) by himself all to raise money and awareness so a little girl could have an organ transplant.
“I always not wanted this to be about me”, Dean says in the movie, “not about one runner trying to prove something to the world. I wanted it to be about inclusion, about bringing people together. About uniting people and celebrating health.”
Yes, it’s true, I did get inspiration to run all 50 states from Dean, but I hope emulate the same inspiration. If I can just inspire one person to start running, not for the sake of running, but for the sake of being healthier, I would be happy. I can only hope to meet him someday and hopefully I’ll mumble something that sounds like “you’re my hero.”
I sit here writing this post while the move plays again in the background thinking to myself how all I want to do is get outside and run (despite the wind) and wondering why my stomach aches and my muscles hurt. Wondering if I should attempt to run right this second or wait to heal up. Nevertheless, I AM truly inspired. Not just to start running again and keep striving for my goals, but also to get healthier and stronger so I can complete and COMPETE for my dreams.
The movie ends with Dean finishing all 50 states and afterwards, what does he do? Runs. Just goes, without a distance goal, without a map and runs with his voiceover: “Follow your heart. Do what you love. The hardest thing for people to do is take that leap of faith.”
“I’m just doin’ what I love” -Dean Karnazes
YOUR TURN: Has anyone else seen this movie or read his books?? More curiously, who is your running idol??
Dean’s Website – All about the athlete from this training to nutrition and all his books and tour dates.