Dean Karnazes, The Man Who Ran 135 Miles Across Death Valley

In 2005, Dean Karnazes ran 350 miles in 80 hours and 44 minutes foregoing sleep for 3 days!


Karnazes’ passion for running began as a kindergartner when he began running home from school. Eventually, his runs diverted into expedition routes into uncharted territory. When Karnazes was 12 years old, he cycled 40 miles to his grandparents’ home without telling his parents.

When Dean Karnazes was 14 years old, he quit running for 15 years to follow life’s traditional path. Karnazes graduated high school, went to business school and soon found himself bolted to a desk and climbing the monotonous corporate ladder much of us find ourselves following at some point or another.

Miserable and depressed, Dean found himself 15 years later in a neighborhood bar celebrating his 30th birthday by throwing back some cheap tequila shots. This was not the life he imagined for himself. The company had just bought him a Lexus. To some, these gifts are all it takes to sell your soul to the corporate lifestyle. But to him, it made him sick. He was a corporate hack running the rat race. Drunk and with a clearer vision than ever before, Dean decided to walk out of the bar and celebrate his 30th with a 30 mile stroll. The impromptu run changed his life forever and led him to a commitment to follow his passions for fitness, motivational speaking, and sense of personal accomplishments.

Studies have shown that Dean’s muscles have an extraordinary ability to withstand exercise that others could only dream about. He has also has more blood in his circulatory system than the average person thus allowing him to stay hydrated and maintain continuous exercise without tiring.

Dean is not only a great athlete and physical phenomenon, but also an amazing father, husband and philanthropist. Karnazes is dedicated to preventing child obesity and has raised over $1.2 million dollars for children’s causes through his affiliate charity organizations.

Other notable achievements:

  • Single-handedly completed “The Relay”, a 199 mile run from Calistoga to Santa Cruz, eleven times
  • In 2002, Ran a marathon to the South Pole in -40 degree temperatures without snowshoes
  • In 2004, ran 135 miles across Death Valley in 120 degree heat
  • 2004, Outside Magazine, Ultimate Top 10 Outdoor Athletes
  • 2005, Men’s Journal, Adventur Hall of Fame
  • In 2006, ran 50 marathons in all 50 states in 50 consecutive days
  • 2006 Winner, Vermont Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run
  • 2008 Overall Winner, 4 Deserts Race Series
  • American Ultrarunning Team, World Championships, 2005, 2008
  • In 2011, ran 3,000 miles across the US (From Disney to NYC) in 75 days, running 40-50 miles per day
  • Swam across the San Francisco Bay
  • Two-time Emmy Award winner, 2005, 2007
  • ESPN ESPY Award winner, “Best Outdoor Athlete”, 2007
  • Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner (March 2, 2006)
  • 50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 days (August 12, 2009)
  • Run: 26:2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss (March 1, 2011)
  • KARNO KIDS Charity for Kids

“If you can’t run, then walk. And if you can’t walk, then crawl. Do what you have to do. Just keep moving forward and never, ever give up.” — Dean Karnazes