Dean Karnazes loves to run . . . and run . . . and run. In fact, the 26.2-mile marathons that represent the pinnacle of athletic achievement for many runners are for Karnazes a typical weekend workout. (Those curious about how he fits all that mileage into a busy life might want to read his first book, the best-selling Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner.) In 2006, Karnazes took those workouts to an unprecedented, astonishing level via the Endurance 50. 50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days - and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance!, written with Matt Fitzgerald, is Karnazes' recounting of the experience, plus training tips, nutrition advice and encouragement for athletes of all ability levels.
Karnazes writes that he is always seeking new challenges or, more specifically, "epic tests of endurance that sound totally impossible." The idea for this latest endeavor popped into his head on a family vacation that, like many Karnazes family outings, included a road trip in a 27-foot RV and a long runs for the author. Three years later, in partnership with sponsor The North Face, a sports-centric retailer, it was a go: a road- and running-trip on a grand scale. The event consisted of 50 certified marathons of all types (pavement, trails, high elevation) and sizes (Karnazes ran with 38,000 runners in New York City, and just one in South Dakota) in each of the 50 states. He writes honestly about the delight and thankfulness he felt upon meeting the people who took the time to run with him - including then-governor Mike Huckabee - and about his frustrations and missteps, too.
The book includes detailed training schedules for runners interested in following in the author's multimarathon footsteps, plus a plan for runners aiming for their very first marathon. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of 50/50, though, is that rare peek into the mindset and motivation of an extreme athlete . . . and wondering, along with him, what's next.
Linda M. Castellitto writes (sometimes at her treadmill desk) from North Carolina.