Dean Karnazes: Ultramarathon man

When Marvel first introduced Wolverine into the Marvel universe, they had no idea they were actually predicting the mutant abilities of extreme athlete, Dean Karnazes. In 1974, Karnazes was an awkward pre-adolescent track star just like any kid with a freak mutant ability, seemingly stuck somewhere between “girls are kind of icky” and “girls are kind of cool.” Before he resolved this great dilemma, he first decided to (thankfully) use his powers of extreme endurance for good, not evil. The world is a safer place.

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It is incredible what the human body can achieve. Photo from Creative Commons.

Dean Karnazes runs without stopping for petty necessities such as eating or drinking, preferring to order pizza during a run and grabbing it from a baffled delivery boy a few miles down the road, and as long as he keeps eating high-calorie foods and remains hydrated he may be able to run forever, although running forever might cut into his writing career, guest appearances and charity work.

Karnazes sprinted into national stardom when he participated in the Endurance 50, a series of 50 marathons in all 50 states in 50 days. Before the first marathon, Coaches Chris Carmichael and Jason Koop decided that Karnazes would be the perfect case study to find out why humans are obsolete. About halfway through the Endurance 50, they checked Karnazes’ blood samples and realized his CPK was dropping. The human body releases CPK (creatinine phosphokinase) when you experience muscle damage, injury to the brain or to the heart. Since Karnazes’ CPK was dropping despite being in the middle of the marathon, that means his body was adapting and healing in the middle of a 1300-mile endurance test.

As if having regenerative abilities wasn’t enough, Karnazes honed his body further into a prime running machine. Athletes like Karnazes who train for endurance build up bones, muscle, and plasma in order to maintain their bodies during marathons. It’s a process that takes decades of determination and effort, and Karnazes does it all for fun.

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