Dean Karnazes, On getting people moving: The RBR Interview, by Larry Eder

Karnazes_Dean-Hartford06.JPGDean Karnazes, Hartford, CT, photo by

To say Dean Karnazes is unique, well, is an understatement. Karnazes recently ran from California to New York City, in 75 days! Over 3,000 miles, running between 40 and 50 miles a day. Karnazes is remarkably old school, but with a better understanding of branding and marketing than many heads of marketing at major global brands.

Time magazine named Dean Karnazes one of 100 most influential people in the world. This is where some people get a bit queasy. The man does not stop moving or talking about moving! Dean is self-promoting, but, he does it in a charming way, and also he has great causes. He has created a brand around himself that is embraced by runners and want to be runners alike. 

RBR spoke to Dean on Friday, May 21, to get an understanding of his love of movement, his role as ambassador of Dick's National Running Month, and his thought on running for young teenagers and adults.  (Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher are the other ambassadors). We also wanted to try and get some understanding of a man who understands personal branding better than anyone but Donald Trump.

Karnazes had been involved in running when he was pretty young. " I had run home from school, back and forth, since Kindegarten." noted Dean. " I ran as a young high schooler, but then did not run for fifteen years."

And this is where the story gets riveting, so hold on...." I was at my 30th birthday party, at a bar..." noted Dean. " I told my friends how I missed running. They told me that I was drunk." related Dean, as he laughed. " I went out and started running, and did not stop until I had completed thirty miles...I stumbled the first fifteen miles, then, I cursed the next fifteen miles. It took me seven plus hours to finish thirty miles, but I have not stopped since then."

Since then, Karnazes has run 50 marathons in 50 states,  and various fetes of amazing endurance. He has become Mr. Endurance for many, and writes for all of the major running magazines. It is not hard to get caught up in the whirlwind that is Karnazes, a man who is on the mission of making everyone in America get off their butts and move. For example, in his run across America, the event publicity helped him raise $177k for Action for Kids, a non-profit he supports. 

Dean is everywhere. At the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, while most were finishing the race one time, Dean ran the course start to finish and finish back to start, 52.4 miles in one day, as a promotion for VW, a sponsor
for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Dean is a public relations teams' dream. He is good looking, well-spoken, extremely fit and believes in both his running and his goal of making America move. We wish Dean much success: he is on a mission to get us all moving. So, go take a walk or run after your read this!  

We spoke with Dean on Friday, May 21, as Dean was doing interviews for the Dick's Sporting Goods Running Month.

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RBR, #1. What is the goal of Dick's Sporting Goods National Running Month?

Dean: The goal is to partner with Dick. I want to inspire everyone to get outside and get active. Sometimes, people need a goal. I am encouraging everyone to get active. Dick's has some really good discounts on
running footwear so that people that get new gear and get moving.

RBR, #2. Get moving?

Dean: If people make the investment in good running shoes, and good running shoes are critical for running or walking. People feel goofy if they make an investment and do not use it, so getting a pair of running shoes pushes people to get moving.

RBR, #3. How do you suggest people get started moving?

Dean: A couple of things...I think you need to go out for a set amount of time, don't just take off. Run when you can, walk when you have to, crawl when you must. I tell them to keep moving.Try your best, give it your all.

RBR, #4. What do you tell young teenagers about running? How do you get kids involved in running?

Dean: The kids like how hard I run, they understand trying to give something your all. The idea is to give something your best.

For high schoolers, junior high schoolers, I try and use technology. I get them to try mapmyrun, the software that tracks your runs. Young runners like it because they see what they are accomplishing. Using technology to gets to move-it gives them something to focus on.

RBR, #5. What is your most recent running adventure?

Dean: I just ran across the country. I ran from California to New York, 75 days in 3,000 miles.

RBR, #6. How did you set your days up?

Dean: I tried to run a marathon before noon each day. I averaged between 40 and 50 miles a day. I always tried to go an extra mile.

RBR, #7. What was your support like?

Dean: I had a support crew on television. The film crew was not direct support. I had three guys who were my stable support. One, a great friend of mine, would run, with me most days, he was very supportive and he was a Navy Seal.

RBR, #8. What was your philosophy on running across the country?

Dean: I was just hammering every day. No rest days. I had to
average 40-50 miles a day. I was getting up at five in the morning,
trying to log a marathon before noon. Depending on the
weather conditions, the cold days were the toughest.

9. Any highlights?

Dean: I ran to the White House and was met by Michele Obama.
Mrs. Obama congratulated me on the run and told us how her
family were following my run on TV. It was very surreal. I was
hammering on the road by myself and then, rapping with the
First Lady!

10. What do you do as an ambassador for Dick's Sporting

Dean: A number of social media and appearances. Dick's was great,
I was doing organized 5ks in fourteen cities. Most were with kids at
schools. At Dick's Headquarters, in Pittsburg, Dick's employees, many
of them marathoners and runners, joined us on the 5k run and donated
$27k to help kids get into running. It was tremendous.

RBR, #11. How can people keep track of all the things you do?

Dean: You can check me out at

RBR, #12. What is your message?

Dean: As a society, we would be universally happier and healthier if we all ran (or walked). Movement makes you healthier. We would save so much money on health issues due to obesity. In California alone, $30 billion will be spent this year on obesity related health issues.

RBR, #13. How did you get involved in running?

Dean: I was running home from school in kindergarten and ran competitively through early high school. I did not run for fifteen years, until, while in a bar on my 30th birthday, doing what you do on birthdays, I said, at 11 pm, I am going running. Someone said, "You're drunk." I said, " I am not." I used to love running and wanted my life back. I stumbled out of the bar, running fifteen miles, then cursed for the next fifteen miles, finishing 30 miles in about seven plus hours.

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Dick's Sporting Goods National Runners' Month

Fact Sheet


·         Now in its second year, Dick's Sporting Goods National Runners' Month is a celebratory campaign during May to further serve the running community and encourage everyone to get out and go for a run this May.


·         The program includes:

o   Major sponsorship of ten premiere running events in WA, TX, CA, MN, IL, PA, CO and OR

o   Web and social media activation (

o   A charity partnership with Action for Healthy Kids

o   In store promotions

o   A team of ambassadors including Dean Karnazes, Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher


·         Dick's Sporting Goods National Runners' Month made a $27,500 donation to Action for Healthy Kids to help inspire Americans and in particular youth to get active.


·         As a centerpiece of the program's social media efforts, Dick's Sporting Goods National Runners' Month will be sponsoring a Twitter-based contest powered by This contest gives fans the opportunity to utilize their Twitter following to help them earn points towards the chance to win a $5,000 Dick's Sporting Goods shopping spree.


·         Karnazes, known by most as the "Ultramarathon Man" and a program ambassador last year, just finished one of the most epic running endeavors of all time. Karnazes is participated in LIVE! with Regis and Kelly's "Run Across America" where he trekked over 3,000 miles from California to New York.



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