Endurance athlete Dean Karnazes, ran 350 miles (560 km) in 80 hours and 44 minutes without sleep in 2005.
In 2006, Karnazes embarked on the well-publicized Endurance 50: 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days. Beginning with the Lewis and Clark Marathon in St. Louis on September 17, 2006, it finished with the New York City Marathon on November 5. Eight of the 50 races were conventional marathon races. Since marathon races are typically held only on weekends, on the other days Karnazes (accompanied by between one and 50 runners) ran the course of a marathon in each state using the help of the race director and staff of each event to officially run the certified course, but on a different day than the “live” event. (For example, as part of the 50/50/50, Karnazes ran the official course of the Boston Marathon, but not the race itself, which is held in mid-April.)
Karnazes overcame the endurance and logistical difficulties of this goal and finished the final marathon, the NYC Marathon, on the official race day in 3 hours and 30 seconds. He weighed 154 lbs (70 kg) at the start and 153 lbs (69.5 kg) at the end.
After finishing the 50/50/50, Karnazes decided to run home to San Francisco from New York City. He was expected to finish the trip in January 2007. However Karnazes chose to end this trek December 15, 2006, in St. Charles, Missouri, to spend more time with his family.
The adventure was the primary subject of film director JB Benna’s 2008 film entitled UltraMarathon Man: 50 Marathons – 50 States – 50 Days, which was the first feature film about Karnazes. The film was produced by Journeyfilm, had a national theatrical release in 300 screens in 2008 and was released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2009.
A similar project, undertaken by Sam Thompson to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina, was finishing as Karnazes began his project. Thompson ran 51 marathons (all 50 states and D.C.) in 50 days.