From the Department of Hyperbole

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  GTF 12 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #5690

    GTF
    Member
  • #21918

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Sorry but, no matter what you think of him, Karnazes is no Michael Jordan. Let's save the Michael Jordan comparisons to the true greats of the sport. Tergat, Geb, Bekele, etc. would be worthy of such comparisons.

    Shortly before Karnazes began his current streak, a discussion started elsewhere about what people thought of this attempt. People were gushing over how great of an athlete he was. When I said I was incredibly impressed with his handling of the logistics and his promotional capability but less so with the athletic accomplishmemt based on the fact that many athletes do this type of volume every year with no publicity and simply call it base training, I was surprised at the responses I got. I even got e-mails from people telling me where to go and that what he was doing was a great athletic accomplishment, even comparing it to running a world record. Sorry but the athletic component of this, while being something one would definitely have to build up to with a lot of hard work, it isn't a world class athletic accomplishment and won't be no matter how many people gush over it.

  • #21919

    GTF
    Member

    Just goes to show that there are easily-impressed, vocal myopians who are ignorant of the sport, mostly by choice.

  • #21920

    r-at-work
    Member

    When I said I was incredibly impressed with his handling of the logistics and his promotional capability but less so with the athletic accomplishmemt based on the fact that many athletes do this type of volume every year with no publicity and simply call it base training, I was surprised at the responses I got.

    I also think the logistics are overwhelmingly impressive… I was talking to a friend on our long run this weekend and we compared the multi-marathoners (of which Dean is only one of many at this point) and I said that I couldn't do it because “I have a life” and my friend replied that “so does Dean”… that the multiple marathons & the books & publicity that this has spawned is HIS LIFE… cool…  in his own way he is impressive, but if I had to change lives for a day I would rather change with someone like Deena or Collen DeReuck or Marla Runyun… I really am happy with my life, but I admire them & their abilities (talent & drive)…

    and maybe people who get some publicity for sheer numbers of marathons or fund raising somehow bring the sport to a more public awareness. like the Olympics do every four years… but if no one ever heard of the event I would still enjoy the heck out of the whole process, not just the two or three times I hit a marathon course a year…

    of course right now I'm feeling good about the process as I am done with my last long run before I run Philly (11-19)… what great sport, something for everyone at many levels…

    ..but MJ, not quite…
    -Rita

  • #21921

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    and maybe people who get some publicity for sheer numbers of marathons or fund raising somehow bring the sport to a more public awareness. like the Olympics do every four years…

    I would actually disagree with this. Yes, this attempt is bringing a lot of visibility but two things.

    First, it's not bringing the visibility to the sport. It's bringing visibility to this guy. Someone asked me about Chicago this past Monday. Not about Cheruiyot and Njenga's battle at the end or Abdi or Sell's very good runs but about “that guy running a marathon every day”.

    Second, what kind of visibility is this producing? Is this creating a good image of marathoners? I've had a few non-runners ask me about “this crazy guy running all the marathons”. Not one non-runner has come up to me and said that's a cool thing this guy is doing. People already think runners are crazy (maybe for good reasons) and this is just expanding that image of the crazy runner. This isn't creating a positive image of running in the eyes of many non-runners.

  • #21922

    GTF
    Member

    Of the many things in this sport that I would happily associate with, Karnie is not one of them, mostly because he does not seem to care to associate with much in this sport beyond his own participation and benefit.  He is an immodest sideshow who appears to do nothing that will not ultimately benefit himself, exploiting the current climate of celebrating mediocrity and cheap celebrity.  I wonder how many of Karnie's kooks also are aware of and support the Hansons crew, one of the best stories in the sport today, just as an example. 

  • #21923

    jtpaten
    Member

    I'll admit to being a bit fascinated with ultrarunning, enough so that I've read Karno's book and subscribe to Ulrarunning magazine. (I've never run an ultra and doubt that I will … well, maybe a 50K.) The magazine, interestingly, has included no mention of Karno over the past year I've been reading it. What does that tell you? (Well, maybe because he's “only” running marathons daily, he doesn't merit attention in a mag focused on ulras. Still, you would think Karno would at least have been mentioned.)

    The truth is, Karnazes is not the first to do this 50/50/50 thing — not even the first to accomplish the feat this year. What makes him different is the publicity he's getting — which allowed him to tactlessly diss his most recent predecessor in a recent issue of Runner's World.

    In contrast, the new issue of Marathon & Beyond includes a big feature story on Scott Jurek, a truly impressive and classy ulramarathoner. He's won the Western States 100-mile an amazing seven consecutive times and holds the course record of 15:36:27. In 2005 he ran that race, said to be one of the toughest trail ultras out there, and 16 days later, won the 135-mile Badwater on scorching pavement. His feats have warranted comparisons to Lance Armstrong.

    Well, I bring him up because in M&B, Jurek had a few things to say about Karnazes and Pam Reed (Reed was supposedly the first to run 300 miles nonstop a few years back, which Karnazes soon outdid by running 350 nonstop; the two have also traded Badwater wins, although Reed DNF'd this year and Karnazes finished a distant 16th behind Jurek; both Karno and Reed ran the Green Bay Marathon course together last week as she happened to be in the area to shill her new book).

    In M&B, Jurek said of them, “To me it takes away from the accomplishments and achievements of individuals who should be getting the publicity, such as Yiannis Kouros or John Geesler. … If you take Yiannis Kouros and what he's done done in 24-hour and 48-hour races on a track, and if you look at events like the Bunion Derbies and the six-day races that were held in Madison Square Garden in the 1800s, I find it surprising that people can go and make up a record. It's like saying you're running the 10,000 meters (by) putting a couple of extra skips in your step, or something like that. It's making up a division in the sport that doesn't really exist.”

    I don't think he meant to suggest the sport of ultrarunning doesn't exist — although, the argument could be made since very few people run, let alone, race ultras. At this point, I don't know which Karno's doing. Whatever it is, I don't think we ought to be overly impressed or concerned about it.

  • #21924

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    In M&B, Jurek said of them, “To me it takes away from the accomplishments and achievements of individuals who should be getting the publicity, such as Yiannis Kouros or John Geesler. … If you take Yiannis Kouros and what he's done done in 24-hour and 48-hour races on a track, and if you look at events like the Bunion Derbies and the six-day races that were held in Madison Square Garden in the 1800s, I find it surprising that people can go and make up a record. It's like saying you're running the 10,000 meters (by) putting a couple of extra skips in your step, or something like that. It's making up a division in the sport that doesn't really exist.”

    I don't think he meant to suggest the sport of ultrarunning doesn't exist — although, the argument could be made since very few people run, let alone, race ultras.

    I don't think that's what he's suggesting. The way I read that quote, he's saying that this “X marathons in Y states in Z days” is some kind of newly created “sport” made up by these guys. I actually have mentioned that this is kind of like being the only one to “race” a 10k by hopping on one leg, then claiming you hold the one leg hopping 10k world record. Good for you but that just means nobody else is out there doing it and recording it in the way you are.

    At this point, I don't know which Karno's doing. Whatever it is, I don't think we ought to be overly impressed or concerned about it.

    Well stated. Just be careful who you say that around or you might be told “It certainly IS a great feat to run 50 marathons in 50 days” (a quote from one of the e-mails I got). 😉

  • #21925

    r-at-work
    Member

    whatever… can we also give out special awards to people who complete marathons, hold down a 40 hour a week job, run the household and raise a couple of kids? I'm sure if we thought about it enough we could all come up with our own category…so what?

    I still am impressed with the logistics it takes to go around the country & run/race… and I think that Mr.K is bringing marathons into more of a public recognition, possibly not the best kind of recognition… especially as jtpaten mentioned he's not the first to do this…

    not sure I would bother to read what he's written either, not sure it has any relavence to me… has anyone on this site actaully read his book?
    -Rita

  • #21926

    rehammes
    Member

    Actually I read his book as it was a gift from my father-in-law.  My very first impression was that he comes across incredibly vain.  I concluded that I would probably sound vain too if I were writing a book about myself.  However, I came across his appearance on Letterman shortly after the book came out and my first impression was reaffirmed.  It's almost as if he is saying, 'Look how much I run, see how crazy I am?'  Good for the sport, bad for the sport, I don't know.  I just wish he'd go away.  Why should he get all this publicity?  He is supposedly running the 50/50/50 to raise money for his own foundation with the VERY general and vague goal of encouraging kids to get out and exercise.  I'm glad that I am not the only person that feels this way.  I felt like a bad person at first for dumping on him, but I truly believe his motives are entirely self-serving.  He is the distance running Paris Hilton in that he needs to complete some stunt like this every now and again to keep his name in the news. 

  • #21927

    Bart
    Member

    I still am impressed with the logistics it takes to go around the country & run/race…

    Rita, why do you find this impressive?  He has a motorhome with a driver, so he can sleep while they travel.  Plus he has a sponsor and assistants to ensure that everything is taken care of.  I've seen pictures of him running on the days when he's running the distance but is not participating in an actual marathon, and he has police support to get him through traffic.  It seems to me that his only role is to smile for the cameras and run.

    Bart

  • #21928

    jtpaten
    Member

    Like I said, I read the Karno's book. I found the chapter on his running the first South Pole marathon interesting. Due to temperatures even more dangerous than normal, everyone involved was trapped down there for weeks, if I remember correctly. He managed to talk to his wife by phone during the ordeal: She wanted to know when he was coming home to her and their children; he almost told her it depended on his not dying, which he said he seriously feared. Then, when he got to the actual South Pole, he took off all his clothes and ran around.

    Yeah, he's cool.

    I finished the book rather quickly and remember little of it. It was like reading a motivational speaker's powerpoint presentation: Full of high-energy “Look At Me!” stories that are supposed to inspire normal people to go after their more mundane dreams, but are really just somewhat dangerous, but mostly pointless, publicity stunts. I find it rather ironic that such incredible tales of endurance resulted in such short, shallow and forgettable prose.

  • #21929

    jtpaten
    Member

    P.S. According to several reviews I've read, Pam Reed's new book is just terribly written.  And that she's accepting of nher anorexia.

    Even if these are just the latest bad books in a new genre of bad books, one reader asked on Amazon, “At what point does healthy exercise become a twisted psychological addiction?”

    That, dear friends, way be the only questions worth asking ourselves if these are our sport's emerging role models. (Well, “Why?” is good, too.)

  • #21930

    r-at-work
    Member

    That, dear friends, may be the only questions worth asking ourselves if these are our sport's emerging role models.

    I hope these aren't the emerging role models… I showed my son the videos from ChasingKimbia.com and he thought THAT was cool…

    as for why I'm impressed by his logistics… I guess after trying to take vacations as a single mom with two kids I think getting anywhere with any sort of organization is something, but to do it day in and day out, well, maybe I should say I'm impressed with his crew…

  • #21931

    GTF
    Member

    According to several reviews I've read, Pam Reed's new book is just terribly written.  And that she's accepting of her anorexia.

    Overtly?  What publisher could be so irresponsible as to allow distribution of idiotic crap like that?  If people are that hard-up for worthwhile reading material that they would actually pay money for it, they must be wholly unaware of superb books out right now by the likes of Zupan and Obama.  For fiction, there is Lautenslager's running epic.

  • #21932

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    I hope these aren't the emerging role models…

    Just what I was thinking. While his generosity seems to be admirable, I hope the running role models are still those in the front of the pack, setting good examples of work ethic, sportsmanship, teamwork, and all the other lessons that can be learned through running.

  • #21933

    Mark
    Member

    Although I agree that most of what he does today is for publicity, I would have to say that anyone that can complete the Badwater Ultramarathon is an exceptional distance runner (although they may be crazy), to win it puts them well above 99.9% of the rest of the ultra runners in the world.

    Mark

  • #21934

    jtpaten
    Member

    Well, there are much more impressive ultramarathon racers today than Dean Karnazes.

    There are also more inspiring and less self-serving long distance running feats that have received scant publicity. Bringing attention to one is a reader of Runner's World who responds in the new issue to the mag's recent 10-page spread devoted to Dean's 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states. “I was reminded of Terry Fox who, 26 years ago, ran approximately 143 marathons in 143 days,” Kevin Wood of Alberta, Canada, wrote. “Oh and did I mention he was battling bone cancer when he ran the 5,400 kilometers on a prosthetic leg?”

    Today at http://www.Letsrun.com, in the upper left corner, is a short video of Terry Fox's run across Canada. It will bring you to tears.

    As the RW reader concluded, “Dean Karnazes is inspiring us to go farther Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope challenges us to live inspirationally.”

  • #21935

    Mark
    Member

    As the RW reader concluded, “Dean Karnazes is inspiring us to go farther Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope challenges us to live inspirationally.”

    I agree completely. I personally don't like the degree and type of attention Dean gets, it does seem very self serving. However, we should not discount his ability or accomplishments. 139 miles, mostly uphill, at temps over 117 deg. is hard to ignore.

    Mark

  • #21936

    GTF
    Member

    Terry Fox is on youtube.com

    Although I agree that most of what he does today is for publicity, I would have to say that anyone that can complete the Badwater Ultramarathon is an exceptional distance runner (although they may be crazy), to win it puts them well above 99.9% of the rest of the ultra runners in the world.

      That was not the comparison being made in the quote in the original post.  Michael Jordan is the best basketball player the sport has seen (to this point; LBJ may prove to be better eventually) but Karnie is not the best runner, distance runner, or even ultrarunner to grace the face of the planet.  Not even close.

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