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Rare Genetic Condition Allows 53-Year-Old to Run 350 Miles without Stopping

Most athletes would agree that lactic acid build-up in the muscles is the bane of all long-distance runners – but not American jogger Dean Karnazes. The 53-year-old has a rare genetic condition that rapidly flushes lactic acid from his system, allowing him to run indefinitely without ever experiencing a cramp or a seized muscle. The extreme runner has completed a marathon to the South Pole at -25C, and completed 50 back to back marathons in 50 days. He’s also jogged a whopping 350 miles in just 80 hours and 44 minutes, without any sleep!

When people exercise, glucose is converted into energy and a by-product of this reaction is lactic acid. As it builds up in the muscles, it causes cramps and fatigue, and signals the brain to stop. But in Dean’s case, he never receives those signals because lactic acid never builds up in his muscles. So he’s able to run for long distances over very long periods of time, giving him an edge in some of the toughest endurance competitions in the world.

“At a certain level of intensity, I do feel like I can go a long way without tiring,” Dean said, speaking to The Guardian. “No matter how hard I push, my muscles never seize up. That’s kind of a nice thing if I plan to run a long way. To be honest, what eventually happens is that I get sleepy. I’ve run through three nights without sleep and the third night of sleepless running was a bit psychotic. I actually experienced bouts of ‘sleep running’, where I was falling asleep while in motion, and I just willed myself to keep going.”

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Man Runs 370 Marathons in One Year, Proves Nothing Is Impossible

For most people, running one or two full marathons a year is quite the feat,  but for 33-year-old Rob Young it’s merely a short warm-up. This British superhuman did the unthinkable last year, completing a whopping 370 marathons, which basically means he ran more than one marathon per day!

It all started as a silly bet with his partner Joanna Hanasz on a Sunday morning, in April 2014, as they watched the TV coverage of the London Marathon. It was, in fact, Young who had insisted that he’d rather stay in and watch TV than go for a walk in the park with their son. He obviously wasn’t very interested in running at the time, and actually considered it ‘boring’.

But something changed that morning, when Hanasz teased him that he couldn’t run marathons, even if he tried. Young jokingly replied that he would bet her ‘twenty pence’ that he could run 50, a challenge that he later took seriously. The very next morning he woke up at 3.30 am, printed out the route of the Richmond Marathon, and completed it before work. And he felt so good that he returned to it every day, running the equivalent of 10 marathons by the end of the week.

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