Having read his book "Ultramarathon man" recently. I grabbed it and here are some quotes:
"My legs throbbing and cramped"
"Then without warning the quadriceps and calf muscles of both muscles seized in wicked cramps"
"The cramps were still so severe that..."
I'm gonna stop there, but ctrl-f finds at least 10 more references.
Really shows how far these pseudo-journalists go for a story. The rest of the portrayal of him being some super human is also completely in opposition with his biography.
It actually takes away from him. The reality is that many, many people WOULD be capable, if they displayed the level of dedication that he does.
(for background: Scott Jurek is definitely one of the top ultrarunners of the current generation)
Not correct. He has won the Badwater 135 Mile and the Vermont 100 Mile ultras, and has come in fourth place in the Western States 100 Mile (iirc).
Jurek has a more impressive record than Karno as an ultra runner, and a history of being negative about not being as well known as Karno. Karno is a great runner who also wrote a great book and got a lot of people to read it and has a history of being positive and encouraging about everyone running.
Edited to add references:
First place at Badwater 135 Mile, 2004: http://www.badwater.com/results/index.html
First place at Vermont 100 Mile, 2006: http://vermont100.com/html/2006_results.html
Fourth place at Western States 100 Mile, 2003: http://www.wser.org/results/2003-results/
His athletic accomplishments are pretty awesome but you're right - Jurek and others make up the elite of the sport.
Ray Zahab , Lizzy Hawker , Kilian Jornet, Anton Krupicka and countless other well known (in running circles) and lesser known people (your neighbor) have run just as long or longer and often faster...
"10. PROMOTE THE HELL OUT OF YOURSELF
Before he became Superman, Karnazes was the Clark Kent of the PR world: a humdrum marketing executive at a pharmaceutical company. But in the past three years, he's published a memoir, nabbed a sponsorship from the North Face, appeared on Late Show With David Letterman, and gotten himself on the cover of a handful of magazines. The book and the North Face contract generate enough money to support his family, and the high profile translates into maximum motivation: Failure is scarier when the family income is on the line."
Because he tries for it. Some people (most of us like/love him) in the ultra community curse him for this, but this has enabled him to go on all sorts of adventures & inspire others to run. Not a bad thing.
Last year he did the run across America with Regis and whoever he is with now. He has written a few books and is always at ultraraces...he was the starter for the most recent Ultramarahon that I did.
Aren't most people doing ultra endurance sports performing well below their lactate threshold?
As such, its not our lactate threshold that tends to stop us 'going forever'. Once our LT is above a certain point, our limiting factor will something else, such as muscle endurance.
If his unique feature is that he doesn't have a lactate threshold, wouldn't that mean he'd be an ideal sprinter, or middle distance, because he'd be able to go all-out without cramping, rather than an ideal endurance athlete?
Regarding your last comment: Anything under approximately 10 mile race pace is under your lactate threshold pace (LT). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactate_threshold
LT pace means you are in a steady state. The lactate your are creating is being eliminated at the same rate. The further beneath that pace you go the shorter you will be able to maintain it. I would describe going well under LT pace as a feeling of "heaviness" in your legs as lactic acid builds up in your blood stream.
Human physiology dictates that a runner's near-top speed cannot be maintained for more than 30–35 seconds due to the accumulation of lactic acid in muscles.
They mention testing his aerobic capacity, but I think they are referring to his maximal aerobic capacity (VO2-max).
They never said he was fast
I must not understand what sprinting is.
These guys are amazing athletes but they experience fear and doubt just like everyone else, and don't run these distances effortlessly. Imagine the discipline required to push yourself to your limits for hours or days at a time.
That it is such a taxing endeavor both physically and mentally is what makes it all the more incredible. One of my favorite stories about ultrarunners is the time Scott Jurek ran the Badwater Ultramarathon for the first time.
There were a bunch of reasons it was objectively a terrible idea. Half way through he collapsed vomited and seriously considered giving up. He managed to keep going though and made up a ton of time in the second half of the race and ended up winning and set a course record despite being behind at the half way point:
All of those are topics that I'd love to read about, but the article is very light on details.
Genetics can give you the propensity for a natural advantage but you express your genes differently depending on your environment and your lifestyle.
Years of training will improve both your enzymes and mitochondria
I also thought the lactate buildup comes from anaerobic exercise, which is not what any long-range runner relies on anyway.
(I wonder how you replenish electrolytes, not to mention energy storage, on a multi-day run without eventually getting stomach cramps and other GI issues? From the picture, he already has very little body fat)
I would have said quagmire, but yes.
That sounds quite dangerous. Not only mentally, but I'd be concerned of a sudden lapse of physical control and smashing my skull onto the pavement. Then again, I'd never have to worry about that because I don't have that level of extreme determination. Very impressive.
My "battle buddy" said I didn't behave any differently than usual, just quiet. All told, I blacked out for about a half-hour. My experience wasn't uncommon, I'd say about 10% of us experienced something similar during that particular exercise. The human body is an amazing machine.
Of course, running has less risks than biking. But still, falling while running could have real bad consequences.
This guy reminds me of that movie.
And if so, then I am his Mr. Glass. I pretty much hit my threshold for running when I finish tying my running shoes' laces.
I'm not a biologist, but that seems like a bad reason to stop. He cleared an hour on the test. Why not maintain the test for several hours? Four times the theoretical maximum is not "forever"...
This article seems highly sensational. I'd like to see more science behind this.
EDIT: I see he's already been on that show.
Edited to add: Sure it's on the "US" section of the Guardian but they don't appear to change any other spellings to match US English.