Dean Carnazes is a marathon runner known for serious feats of endurance. He recently wrote a book, Runner’s High: A Life in Motion, about running and his experience as a marathon runner. I got the chance to speak with Dean about his marathon career and Runner’s High.
What was your favorite experience while running?
While I was running across the country—from LA to NYC—I got a call from the White House saying that Michelle Obama wanted me to stop in to say hi. Prank call was my first reaction. But it was real. I’ll never forget running down the hallway of the White House and out to the South Lawn to meet with the first lady. She welcomed me with a hug and said, “It’s such an honor to meet you.” I’m not making this up.
What is your favorite part of the marathon experience?
The pain and the struggle. You remember the joyful moments, but the tough moments leave a more indelible imprint.
Do you have a marathon that you particularly liked?
How long is the interview? (laughter) I’ve run hundreds of marathons and each is memorable in it’s own way. I once ran 50 marathons, in all 50 states, in 50 consecutive days. That experience in its totality was quite extraordinary.
Do you have a favorite place to run?
Greece. I’m 100% Greek and Greece is the birthplace of the marathon. It doesn’t get more real than that.
What athletes do you particularly admire?
The back of the packers struggling to reach the finish line before the cutoff. Sure, I admire the elite, but watching the last place finisher is more inspiring.
I’ve been in a 2-week quarantine in a hotel in Sydney in preparation for this crazy 1,000-mile run across Australia, so I’ve been watching a lot of the Tokyo Olympics. In fact, I’ve probably watched more television in the past two weeks than I’ve watched in the past two years!
Are there any Olympic athletes, in the most recent Tokyo Olympics, that you were particularly impressed by?
So many of the athletes impress me. But I think what impressed me the most this Olympics’ was Simone Biles withdrawal because of mental health concerns. She is such a dominant force but she became very human in showing her vulnerability.
How do you feel about energy drinks and other products that may change/enhance athletes’ performance?
Athletes will always seek anything that can provide an edge. So long as it is not a banned substance, I’m okay with it.
What, in your opinion, is your biggest accomplishment as a runner?
The fact that I am still just as passionate about running as I was when I first started. The stoke is still there after all these years.
What was it like to write a book about something you’re so passionate about like running?
To capture my authentic running voice, I do a lot of writing while I run (by dictating into my phone). People say I truthfully capture the essence of running in my writing, and that’s because at a time when I’m experiencing the thoughts, feelings and emotions of a runner I’m taking note. To put that passion into words makes compelling reading.
Are you happy with the way people have spoken about your book thus far?
I got an email from a gentleman this morning who said he had intended to read a couple chapters of my book last night before going to bed. Five hours later he finished the book, he told me. Then, he said, he got up. He just had to go on a run.
Yes, I’m happy with the way people have spoken about my book. That message says it all.