Interview with Dean Karnazes, The Road to Sparta

Dean Karnazes

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Dean Karnazes is a New York Times Best Selling Author and was named by Time as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

His new book is called The Road to Sparta -Reliving The Ancient Battle And Epic Run That Inspired The World’s Greatest Footrace.

Here’s what I didn’t know before reading this book . . .

Interview with Dean Karnazes

The Road to Sparta is a fun and informative read that weaves together ancient history and Dean’s own adventures. Here are six things I learned from this book:

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  1. Dean’s real name is Constantine Nicholas Karnazes. He’s 100% Greek by ancestry. He never says where the nickname Dean came from but he does tell the story of being united with long-lost relatives because of his meaty calves.

  2. The word marathon actually means fields of fennel. Who’da guessed!? When the Persians landed on the shores of Greece in 490 BCE they spotted a massive field of fennel and it was in this location that the Battle of Marathon took place.

  3. The name Pheidippides means spare the horses. Pheidippides was a hemerodromos, a day-long runner who, due to the rocky terrain and climate of Greece, could cary a message further and faster than a horse. These hemerodromoi were the high speed internet of the ancient world.

  4. Pheidippides actually ran 153 miles from Athens to Sparta (and back). His most famous run from Marathon to Athens (where the marathon gets it’s name) was not even his most impressive feat. Not by a long shot! Pheidippides had to run to Sparta to recruit the bad-ass Spartans against the invading Persians. He arrived in Sparta “the day after he set out”. This means he covered 153 miles (almost six marathons) in two days time.

  5. The ancient Greek runners ate a fueling gel called pasteli. This was in addition to cured meat, figs and olives. Pasteli is made from honey and ground sesame seeds mixed into a paste and sounds kinda good.

  6. The 153 mile Spartathalon is probably the toughest footrace on the planet. Hot weather and a strict 36 hour cut-off resulted in only about 1/3 of the 300 athletes finishing the race the year Dean ran it. You’ll have to get the book to see how he does.

Dean Karnazes running

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Also Mentioned in This Episode

Dean’s website: http://www.ultramarathonman.com/web/

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2 Responses to Interview with Dean Karnazes, The Road to Sparta

  1. Lewis Van Atta December 2, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

    Where is that top picture from? If I didn’t know better, I’d think that was a trail somewhere along the northern California coast, around Half Moon Bay. The windblown trees look exactly the same!

    Just finished reading Dean’s book last week, by the way…excellent story!

    • Trevor Spencer December 3, 2016 at 10:08 am #

      You’re right Lewis. That picture is probably along the California coast close to where Dean lives. He sent me these photos.

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