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Going the distance

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan -- Sixteen McConnell Airmen ran an eight mile portion of the Wichita Marathon course that traverses McConnell in 15 knot winds and pelting rain with Dean Karnazes Sept. 21.

This is Mr. Karnazes' fifth marathon on his way to running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days.

Running 50 marathons in 50 days may seem unrealistic to most, but Mr. Karnazes has experience competing in some of the most physically demanding competitions in the world.

After competing the in the World's Toughest Foot race, a marathon in the South Pole, and the Badwater Ultra marathon, a 135-mile race through Death Valley in the middle of the summer, Mr. Karnazes knows what it takes to train for an event like this and wants to see how far his body can go.

"I am working closely with Chris Carmichael [Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's coach] to determine the effects [of running 50 marathons] on the human body," he said.

The weather couldn't stop a group of long distance runners from keeping pace with Mr. Karnazes, including Capt. Gabe Avilla, 22nd Communications Squadron.

"It was great running with Mr. Karnazes, he's an inspiration for physical fitness excellence," said Captain Avilla.

Mr. Karnazes said he was honored to run with the men and women of Team McConnell.

"Running is freedom, and I can do this because of them," he said.

The proceeds from registration fees paid by runners who run along side him will go towards Karno Kids, a charity focused on physical fitness and preserving the environment started by Mr. Karnazes.

"To put physical fitness in the spotlight with such a tremendous emphasis is impressive, but hopefully his mission will be received by the intended audience, that being the youth of America to get outside and become physically active," said Captain Avilla. "The second part of his mission, to restore and preserve the environment for future generations, is equally important."

After the race Mr. Karnazes will make a six-hour drive to Iowa, where he will compete in the Des Moines Marathon.

Only 1,188 miles and 45 states to go...you can track his accomplishments at www.Endurance50.com