Web exclusive: Karnazes to attempt first-ever "Moonathon"

March 31, 2008

by Magnus Folly (Associated Press)

HOUSTON — On April 21st, American endurance athlete Dean Karnazes hopes to complete the first extraterrestrial marathon in the history of the solar system, NASA announced yesterday. The date of the lunar marathon attempt was chosen to coincide with the 112th running of the Boston Marathon.

“We’ve devised a route that mimics the topography of the Boston course,” Karnazes explained at a press conference held at Johnson Space Center. “It’s a net downhill course, but I’ll have to climb out of a large impact crater at mile 21, which will serve as my own personal Heartbreak Hill.”

If successful, Karnazes will easily break the unofficial record for the longest moonwalk. The current record is believed to be about 2,000 meters, set by Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyev in 1997.

Karnazes, 45, is no stranger to racing under extreme conditions, having previously won the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon and the running division of the South Pole Marathon. In lieu of the usual aid stations and support crews, he will be tethered to a Moon Patrol Independent Explorer (MoonPIE) unit throughout his run. In addition, his progress will be monitored by astronauts aboard the space shuttle Discovery, who will live-blog the event via the website http://www.moonathonman.com.

Preparations for the “Moonathon” have been underway for several months. To ensure optimal traction on the moon’s dusty, uneven surface, The North Face and NASA have outfitted Karnazes with a custom-made trail racing shoe dubbed The Eclipse by its developers. Its features include a microjet propulsion system for automatically dislodging rocks that get caught in its treads.

To practice running in a low-gravity environment, Karnazes has completed several 20- to 30-mile runs on an anti-gravity treadmill manufactured by Alter-G.

“I’m still getting used to it,” he said. “On the one hand, I can take these enormously long strides, which is very cool. On the other hand, my cadence is out of whack because I float in the air for seconds at a time.”

“All in all,” he said, “I expect the Moonathon to be a few thousand steps for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”


  1. April Fools!!!!!If Dean could get NASA to accellerate its return to the moon by a decade or more, that would be an accomplishment I would truely have respect for!

  2. Btw, I must be truly amazing to be able to post a response 1:08 hours before you will post your original blog entry I'm responding to.Or are you on the East Coast right now?

  3. Thanks for the laugh, Crowther! It's gonna be awfully hard to get the timing right on the Karnazes pizza delivery, though I hear it's free is it's is delivered within 30 days.

  4. I also heard he will not need life-support systems of any kind while on the moon because his self-promotional machine serves as its own biosphere.

  5. Uli: Yes, you are truly amazing.Keith: Now, now — there's no need for hyperbole….

  6. You made me shoot my hot tea out my nose with that one!

  7. … and all the time i spent searching the directory for this Magnus Folly dude…

  8. Might Dean skip or hop the marathon rather than run?http://microlnx.com/dinosaurs/Locomotion.htmlBalto

  9. Very Nice!!!!Maybe we can have the Lunar showdown. Yiannis vs. Dean.It will be out of this world.See you in WI.

  10. Greg, I couldn't help it – I had to copy your fake article in the spirit of April Fools' Day and post it up on LiveJournal. If you do a google search for "Moonathon", it's the second hit! That took Google less than 10 minutes to spot after I posted it, talk about fast!

  11. Balto: Thanks for the excellent link.Jon: I'm glad you found a good "second home" for the piece.

  12. Hi-Larious! Well done.

  13. Greg–How do you and some of the elite athletes in the ultramarathoning community put up with such a [expletive deleted] self-promoter like Karnazes?!?I wished he had been the guy holding the Olympic flame getting tackled in San Francisco–that's how much of his schtick I can't stand!

  14. Paul:I don't think Dean deserves a lot of the hatred that is heaped upon him.The main charges against him seem to be that he is a relentless self-promoter and that he is dishonest in representing his achievements.It's true that Dean is not shy about promoting himself, but neither am I and many others. Most of us welcome recognition for our achievements; many of us seek out sponsorships; and some of us have blogs that scream out to the world, "Look at me! Aren't I cool? Aren't I important?!" Dean certainly has a healthy ego, but I don't hold that against him (too much) because I have one too.In terms of exaggerating his own achievements, Dean has a politician's flair for making statements that are technically true but also misleading. For example, he has called himself the "winner" of various events (such as the "Running Division of the South Pole Marathon") in which he was the only participant. I see these offenses as pretty minor. If you ask him directly whether he's as good a trail runner as Scott Jurek (according to the usual competitive yardsticks), or as good a 24-hour runner as Yiannis Kouros, he'll say no. And if you ask him whether there really is a world record for consecutive miles run "without stopping," he'll say no. Thus his knack for enhancing his resume is one I can live with, for the most part.

  15. Brian, How could you possibly be so bitter towards someone that has done so much good in this world? Why dont you do us all a favor and just kill yourself so you put us all out of your misery. Thankyou

  16. Sorry, my post was meant for Paul not Brian.

  17. Mike: Suggestions that someone kill himself are not appropriate for this blog. Please retain a modicum of civility, or else I will censor your comments.

  18. Crowther, It was ok with you when Paul had wished that Dean was attacked when carrying the Torch? Don't worry about me, I will not visit your blog again.

  19. Mike: No, I was not happy with Paul's comment. That's why I censored it and responded to it by defending Dean. However, there is a difference between wishing that someone be "tackled" and wishing for someone's death. Also note that Paul used his full name and included a link to his website, whereas you essentially remain anonymous. Those two factors made your comment more worrisome than Paul's.

  20. Crowther, My apologies. I certainly do not wish Paul dead. It was more of a sarcastic joke. Admittedly a bit too far on the dark side. I didnt mean to cause you any troubles, and I loved your Web exclusive up above. Take care.

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