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is someone who runs 211 miles in a row a “role model” for fat kids? or anyone??

Posted by on Apr 5, 2011 in Blog Posts | 13 comments

We first got to know Dean when he tried to break a world record on our show, running more than 211 miles on a treadmill over a 48-hour period. The entire staff was amazed and inspired by him,” said Michael Gelman, executive producer of “LIVE! with Regis and Kelly.” “This is an incredible opportunity for us, to be working with a role model like Dean Karnazes on such a positive effort: encouraging fitness, fighting against childhood obesity, and hopefully, inspiring our viewers to live healthier lives.”

Really? Really? A guy who runs hundreds of miles in a row, a guy who is at the VERY, VERY extreme of “fitness” is supposed to be a role model? Is any but the tiniest percentage of humanity actually capable of doing this? Is his life balanced, joyful, healthy? Why do we assume that it is and that he has anything to say on this topic? Won’t the vast majority of viewers say,”I could never do that” and be more demoralized than before? Why can’t someone who goes for walks every day with their dog, or challenges themselves with more humble fitness goals, or goes dancing , or gardening be a good example?
It’s more of the same with our warped sense of fitness and health in this country, the “all or nothing” effect. Do you think in France this guy would be celebrated, or ridiculed as a role model for every day people.

Just sayin’

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  1. Emily

    I’m not sure that it’s necessarily bad to hold up extreme athletes as role models – many people are inspired by seeing people at the Olympics, for instance. However, I do find that many runners are simply unable to believe that not everyone can run the way they do. I know I spent a year training 2hours a day (roughly), running several times a week. By the end of the year, I was doing super-high aerobics, swimming a couple of miles at a time – but couldn’t run more than a mile or two, at a 10-minute pace. That’s the sort of pace that runners suggest people who are out of shape _start_ at.

  2. Hel

    I have been rock climbing and mountaineering for 14 years. My ankles hurt when the weather changes, I have now an injured tendon in my shoulder. My fingers are deformed, widened after years of climbing, and always full of callus. I have sprained the other shoulder once, I had broke my skull in a fall, I had burned my thigh with a rope, etc, etc.
    One of my friends says if you have been climbing more than 12 years and you don’t feel any pain when you get up, you are dead. And we are not elite climbers, only medium ones.
    If you don`t take sports with moderation you are going to hurt your body more than if you don’t take sports at all.

  3. sandrad

    Elite athletes are amazing, but it is SO ridiculous to hold them up as models of good health or a healthy lifestyle. Their bodies often are so injured by the need to push to the very limits of human ability that they live with pain and disability for the rest of their lives.

  4. Alexie

    Well, I can’t answer for the French, but I’ve met enough of them to think their reaction would pretty much be the same as the Germans: they’d laugh their heads off at the idea of someone indoors in a gym running like a hamster in a cage and calling it healthy. What’s healthy here is getting out and walking in nature.

    (I live in Germany.)

    • katja

      I’ve lived in Germany, and that was the best thing. My parents apartment was by some protected woods and fields. We all went for a Spaziergang after weekend meals and saw whole families out enjoying the day! What an example THAT would be!

    • KellyK

      I like that idea. Gyms are lovely for getting some movement when the weather’s lousy or if you don’t have a good place to walk, but time spent outside is way better.

    • Jess

      Yes! My thoughts exactly. My family in Germany is constantly outside biking, walking and gardening in all but the very worst weather. Every baby in our family always took naps outside in the stroller even in the dead of winter (das Kind braucht ja frische Luft!)

      I’m a runner myself, but Dean’s life sounds boring, not inspirational.

      • Jess

        And, having logged plenty of rainy day miles on treadmills in my time, I think you’d have to be insane to run 211 miles on one.

      • katja

        sounds so nice!
        I want to nap in the sun, or wrapped up in a blankie in the cold with rosy cheeks!

  5. DeeLeigh

    211 miles on a treadmill? He’d make a great role model for those seeking repetitive strain injuries.

  6. Bree

    I have a feeling if he were doing all this extreme running for another cause instead of childhood obesity, he probably wouldn’t get as much press as he is. Fat kids is the crisis du jour in America right now so anyone who jumps on the “get rid of the fat kids” bandwagon will be celebrated.

    But with the anti-bullying efforts also gaining momentum (even Prince William and Kate Middleton are supporting this too)doesn’t anybody stop to think that all this ranting and raving over little ones’ bodies will cause more harm, shame and bullying? Why won’t these anti-fat kid folks actually stop screaming about these children dropping dead any moment and actually TALK to them instead of at them? Is that so much to ask?