Q&A with Dean Karnazes


BY STEVE BORN

Steve Born: I know that you'rea Hammer Nutrition guy, Dean,so I would imagine that you're asexcited as we are in partneringwith the North Face EnduranceChallenge Series races. What areyour thoughts about HammerNutrition's involvement in thesegreat events?

Dean Karnazes: I've been usingHammer Nutrition for years andbelieve in the Hammer Nutritionprinciples regarding nutrition,hydration and recovery. HammerNutrition was founded in SanFrancisco, and so was The NorthFace. The partnership seemsnatural. From what I haveseen thus far, the EnduranceChallenge participants are lovingHammer Nutrition products andare learning a lot about sportsnutrition and some of the mythssurrounding proper hydration andfueling. It's been educational, andthat's benefited all.

SB: Of the five races featuredthis year in the United States - Washington, D.C.; New York;Massachusetts; Wisconsin;and California - is there one inparticular that you're especiallyfond of? If so, what is it aboutthis specific race that makes it sospecial to you?

DK: They say it's always best inyour own backyard, and since Ilive in the San Francisco Bay areaI'm partial to our California race.All of our races are unique andnuanced; each provides a differentexperience. As someone who'srun all of them, I can say thatthe one constant is that there'snothing easy about finishing anEndurance Challenge race. Thatmedal must be earned throughhard work, dedication and grit.After all, it's not called TheNorth Face Cake Walk. It's theEndurance Challenge!

SB: In the two races that I'veattended, I have been mostimpressed by the impeccableorganization and attention todetail. The race organizers, staff,and volunteers really make sureto leave no stone unturnedwhen it comes to all aspects of therace, especially the aid stationsand course markings. Havingcompeted in a ton of races overthe years, would you agree thatattention to detail is one of thehallmarks of the NFECS races?

DK: We really pride ourselveson catering to the needs of theathlete. We're an organizationbuilt by athletes, for athletes.Running a great distance is toughenough, you don't want to dealwith poorly marked trails and alack of support and enthusiasmalong the way. Our greatest formof marketing is word-of-mouth.People rave about this raceseries, and it's on account of ourattention to detail and our passionand devotion to the athletes weserve.

SB: I have enjoyed witnessing theinteraction between you and somany of the participants at theraces that I've attended so far.You never seem to get tired ofsigning autographs, having yourphoto taken with others, and justsharing one-on-one conversationswith the athletes¦ it seems to be100% genuine fun for you¦ true?

DK: It's Hammer Nutrition thatkeeps me going! Seriously, I canrun all day, but standing aroundtaking pictures and signingautographs can get exhausting.It's funny to say that I makesure to properly fuel for publicappearances, but otherwise Irun myself ragged. I really enjoyinteracting with other runnersand hearing their stories, and Iwant to make sure that I'm freshand present. So I take specialmeasures to make sure I'm wellhydrated and adequately fueled.Sometimes I duck behind a tentand scarf down a Hammer Barand some HEED. That's my realsecret!

SB: Is there a question or twothat you field most frequentlywhen engaging in conversationswith the race participants?Anything in particular aboutfueling/Hammer Nutritionproducts that you get asked?

DK: Without a doubt, the mostfrequent questions I'm askedhave to do with hydrationand nutrition. People want toknow what I eat before a race.Sometimes what I tell them isshocking, not much. I don't take ina lot of calories prerace, and thisalarms some people. Honestly, Ithink many people tend to overconsumethe morning of a raceand it hurts their performance.I encourage them to try takingin less and focus on qualityversus quantity. Having HammerNutrition as a partner has reallyhelped educate people in thisregard, and it's been great. Afternutrition, the other question I getasked all the time, Can we take aselfie? Such is the modern worldwe live in!

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