While Dean Karnazes has certainly been full of controversy among various ultrarunning circles, he has been an inspiration to many (including me) to get into longer distance running. However, some things are starting to bug me about the Dean marketing machine. Remember a few years ago when Sam Thompson announced he would be running 50 marathons and a short while later was overshadowed by Dean' s 50 in 50? Arguably, even though Sam started first, Dean may not have known about his plans when he set his own in motion. But what happened last year?
Many of you may have heard this headline " Dean Karnazes chases the first-ever “Desert Grand Slam”". Pretty impressive that he' d be the first one to attempt to run 5 deserts in one year isn' t it? Only problem is that it had already been done one year earlier. By a woman. And she ran 6. Why then was it called "the first"? Brilliant marketing I tell you. The tagline was "first to run 5 deserts in one calendar year." While this tagline was technically true, you can' t really argue that he was the first to do a grand slam unless you say "the first to do a grand slam on these specific 5 deserts within on calendar year". Just like in Hollywood, word of mouth, exaggerating the truth, etc. is often what gets you or your film noticed.
I' m all for thanking Dean for getting me into marathons (and subsequently ultras) but I' m also all for the underdog. Or the pure runners. People who just love to run and don' t necessarily care about the press. Have you read Scott Jurek' s book yet? Nope. He doesn' t have one or two or a film about him for that matter. And kudos to Canada' s Sandy McCallum - who in 2007 because the FIRST person to complete a desert grand slam even though most of you have never heard of her - including me until recently.