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Friday 10 June 2011

Dean Karnazes' run across America ends in victory

TheStar - 11 May 2011

NEW YORK (AP): Mega-marathoner Dean Karnazes crossed the finish line Tuesday morning after a run across America, completing a remarkable run that had taken him from coast to coast.

Karnazes arrived at the Manhattan studio of a popular morning TV talk show more than two months after he set off from California's Disneyland on Feb. 25.

Accompanied by a clutch of fellow runners on this final leg of his cross-country odyssey, he ran down Columbus Avenue waving an American flag, turned left onto 67th Street, and paused with a high school marching band and a throng of spectators beneath a burst of confetti. Then he dashed into the red-carpeted entrance of "Live! With Regis and Kelly," where his wife Julie and 13-year-old son Nick held the tape that marked his long-awaited finish.

He hugged co-hosts Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa and greeted the cheering studio audience. He urged everyone to chase their dreams, as he has.

"It's been a dream of mine for 75 days to be standing right here," he said, wearing a wide grin and clearly feeling pumped. "God bless America! Go get 'em, people!"

Teamed up with "Live" for his run across America, the 48-year-old Karnazes has been promoting fitness for Americans and young people in particular. The show regularly aired updates, tracking his progress along a route that covered nearly 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) and took him through 16 states and Washington.

Other notable stats from his pilgrimage:

_ an average of 40 to 50 miles (60 to 80 kilometers) run daily (from eight to 15 hours daily).

_ more than 50 pairs of shoes exhausted.

_ $177,865 collected during a dozen 5K fun runs Karnazes led en route, to benefit Action for Healthy Kids, a nonprofit and volunteer organization that fights childhood obesity and undernourishment.

The San Francisco Bay area native came to the challenge seemingly well-qualified. His lengthy list of endurance derring-do includes this amazing feat: 50 marathons run in 50 days in all 50 states. He not only is a mega-marathoner, but also a fitness advocate and author whose latest book is "Run! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss."

The worst moment of the run?

"The end of the first day," Karnazes replied instantly. "I was destroyed. I thought, 'How am I going to do this for 74 more days?' It had been so easy to talk about it, but after that first day it hit me: the enormity of what we were about to undertake. Then I told myself, 'Get up in the morning and try your best. You may or may not make it, but your commitment is to try your very hardest."'

Karnazes heads home on Wednesday, and he can put his feet up for the journey - he'll be flying, not running - while, proudly, he ponders where he has been.

"It's a great, vast country, and you fly over it and look down and wonder, 'What's down there?' I know what's down there," he said. "I just ran right across it. I saw it first-hand."


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