Dean Karnazes, one of the fittest human beings on the planet, is a surfer, and has temporarily crawled out of the water long enough to run across America in the hopes of inspiring the nation's children (and adults) to get healthy.
As a teenager growing up in Southern California, Karnazes and his brother Kraig were part of the San Clemente Surf Team, members for three out of the five years the team went undefeated. He worked at Rip Curl, and was later sponsored by them as a windsurfer, specializing in riding and jumping waves. He went on surf trips all over California, Tahiti, and Tavarua Island, Fiji. Certainly, enough to qualify him as a hard-core surfer. But he doesn't get time to surf much these days, what with a wife, two kids, a yogurt store he just opened, and running a 140 miles a week ... yes, running 140 miles ... a week!
And now "Live! With Regis and Kelly" is partnering with Karnazes, featuring daily updates on their morning show monitoring his progress. At the end of February Kelly Ripa flew to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., where Dean's run started. All told the run should last for almost 75 days with Karnazes running about 45 miles a day, ending in New York City in May at Regis and Kelly's studio.
Besides all the road time he put in prior, to prepare for these kind of runs occasionally sneaks in a surf session. As he says, "Once a surfer, always a surfer."
Ever the over achiever, Karnazes was once finished 27th on TIME Magazine's poll of the World's 100 Most Influential People, he's written three books, the newest one called "Run!" (which is now on the NY Times Best Seller list, as was his first book). If you think Kelly and Laird are the only surfers the mainstream has latched onto, you should probably add Karnazes to that list.
He's been on 60 Minutes, Conan, Good Morning America and The David Letterman Show. And when Letterman commented that he must be a really fast runner, Karnazes' reply was, "Well, Dave, I'm really not that fast, I just go for a long time!"
At present Karnazes is about halfway across the country, still grinding away at 45 miles per day. We're guessing when he finally gets to New York he's going to want to take a dip in the Atlantic.