An internationally recognized endurance athlete and a New York Times bestselling author, Dean Karnazes has pushed his body and mind to inconceivable limits. Among his many accomplishments, he has run 350 continuous miles, foregoing sleep for three nights. He ran across Death Valley in 120-degree temperatures, and he ran a marathon to the South Pole in negative 40 degrees. On ten different occasions, he has run a 200-mile relay race solo, racing alongside teams of twelve. One of TIME magazine’s “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World,” his most recent endeavor was running 50 marathons, in all 50 US states, in 50 consecutive days, finishing with the NYC Marathon, which he ran in three hours flat. Dean and his incredible adventures have been featured on 60 Minutes, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS News, CNN, ESPN, The Howard Stern Show, NPR’s Morning Edition, the BBC, and many others.
Here, Dean shares a little more about himself, in his own words.
How did you get your start?
I’m a simple guy who loves to run, explore, discover and seek. I’m happiest when pushing my body and mind to limits of human endurance, but sometimes I enjoy running a 5K, too.
I started running home from kindergarten when I was 5 years old. Those were my earliest childhood memories. I guess I haven’t changed much since then.
Where have you appeared or been featured?
Here’s a partial list: The Today Show, 60 Minutes, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS News, CNN, ESPN, The Howard Stern Show, NPR’s Morning Edition, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, the BBC, Good Morning America, and many others. I have appeared on the covers of Runner’s World, Outside, and Wired magazines (as well as 25 others), and I have been featured in TIME, Newsweek, People, GQ, The New York Times, USA TODAY, The Washington Post, Men’s Journal, Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, and London Telegraph, to mention a few.
How do you find your fit?
I begin each morning with 50 push-ups. That sets a precedent for the rest of the day. I would recommend for everyone do the same.
What is your most memorable achievement?
While I’ve had the great privilege of running and racing on all 7 continents of the planet, twice now, in some of the most remote and exotic locations on earth—from a marathon to the South Pole to running across the Sahara Desert—my most cherished achievement is running a 10K race with my daughter, Alexandria, on her 10th birthday. Nothing will ever surpass that experience.
Why do you love Fitbit?
My Fitbit tracker is like a trusted friend. It’s always there for me with honest and insightful feedback. My Fitbit tracker is constantly encouraging me to do more, to go further. And when I reach my goals, it congratulates me. It’s a friendship that has stood the test of time.
What do you love most about your job or sport?
I love getting out of bed every morning, and doing exactly what I love to do. People sometimes ask me, “Isn’t it difficult finding the motivation to do what you do?” Honestly, when you’re passionate about what you’re doing it doesn’t take much motivation at all—even if it means running hundreds of miles in a clip.
What are you most proud of?
Being the man that I am. Socrates once said, “Be who you are.” Yeah, I’m just a runner, but it’s who I am. It makes me proud not to pretend I’m someone or something that I’m not.
What’s the best health or fitness advice you’ve ever received?
One of my mentors, a guy by the name of Jack LaLanne, once advised, “If man makes it, don’t eat it; and if it tastes good, spit it out!”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve ever learned?
It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.