Karl Meltzer is not like the rest of us. One of the top athletes in endurance running, or ultrarunning as it's known, Karl's regular competition distance is 100 miles. 100 miles. Of running. At once. When he's not competing, he takes on fun free-time projects like Red Bull Human Express, running the historical Pony Express Trail - all 2,064 miles of it - in 40 days.
He's definitely his own breed, but he's still human (we think) and he's still down for a slice of pizza and a Seinfeld marathon (maybe marathon's the wrong word...). Anyway, Karl took some time to let us in on his favorite things, so check 'em out and think about what this guy can do the next time you're knocking down 3 miles at the track in the gym. Only 97 to go...
Without Limits. I can never get enough of watching how incredible Steve Prefontaine was as a runner, and his lifestyle is somewhat like mine. He wasn't afraid to be a regular person, too.
If I had a favorite book, I wouldn't be able to run so much. Anything related to adventure is a good read, though.
I've had two holes-in-one, so knowing what that feels like is pretty cool.
Favorite TV show:
Seinfeld. Every episode relates to real life; I can never get enough of it.
Ultrarunning Magazine. It sticks to the basics of reporting races, and they'll write reports from race directors like myself [Ed. note: Karl also puts on a race called the Speedgoat 50k], and it can be entertaining. The magazine is not a bunch of ads and junk to thumb through.
Favorite song or artist:
Grateful Dead. Although I was never a true "deadhead", I've seen about 25 shows, and nothing compares to the music Jerry Garcia could create. It never gets old.
My doggie, Binger. I"ve had Binger since he was 6 weeks old and to this day, 15 yrs and 4 months later, he's still following me around and waits at the door for me to come home. He's human as far as I'm concerned.
Green has always been my favorite color.
Thanksgiving. We always have a good party with friends we don't see very often. It brings together some interesting stories.
Favorite tech gadget:
Satellite radio. Ever since I scoped out the Pony Express Trail for Red Bull Human Express, I couldn't believe I didn't have this in my home or in my car. I do now, and have a 24-hour Dead Show at my fingertips. Pretty cool with no commercials. I hate other gadgets, even my cell phone.
Favorite thing to eat:
Pizza would be my favorite food. I could probably eat it every day, like clockwork. Any variety will do, but NY Pizza and brick-oven pizzas in Europe are easily the best-tasting.
Favorite thing to wear:
Red Bull hat. Simple answer because it means something on an athlete level, and no regular folks get one.
Favorite place to be:
Anywhere in the mountains or deserts away from people where I can't be reached. Not having communication can be a good thing most of the time.
Favorite way to indulge or treat/reward yourself:
Have a fine meal with my wife. I'm a tightwad and don't like to spend money on things I don't need, but once in a while the $40 entree tastes damn good.
Favorite times to get up/go to bed:
Early to rise, early to bed, ensures I'll get some work done in the morning before I go out and play for the day.
Favorite thing to spend money on:
Greens fees. I love golf and it's always worth the price if the course is good. Hours of entertainment and a "good walk spoiled" is never a bad thing.
Favorite thing to do in your free time:
Go running - duh!
Favorite time for a Red Bull:
Either right before I go running, or in the afternoon when I'm still moving around doing things. I constantly move and can't sit still, so when I pound a Red Bull, I get even more done.
Favorite thing about your sport:
The camaraderie of all the folks in Ultrarunning is unmatched. It's a very competitive sport but even the fastest don't look at it that way. We all run the same long distances and have great war stories, especially the back-of-the-packers. Many other sports, even road running, are more aggro in terms of competition.
Favorite sport other than your own:
Golf, that's an easy one. Every shot is different; no matter where I play, it keeps me entertained every shot. Always looking for that perfect shot or a hole in one. I've had two holes-in-one, so knowing what that feels like is pretty cool.
Favorite celebrity or sports star:
Kramer for a celebrity - he never gets old on Seinfeld episodes, everything he does is a riot. Sports star? Karl Meltzer; I know exactly what he's thinking all the time. :-)
Favorite people to run with:
Anyone in the front of the pack, or any of my buddies in the ultra world. I know most of the top runners and when we all get together and go for a run, it's a priceless moment... Or a few hours.
Favorite thing in your house or apartment:
My trophy "basement". It used to be a trophy shelf, then a trophy room... Now it's my trophy basement, which is migrating to our upper floor. I'm running out of space.
Favorite thing about your life:
I do what I like to do, not necessarily what others expect. All my life I've worked to live, instead of trying to make money and get rich. Money is not the most important thing in life as long as we have a little. Too many people take the structured path that was laid out for them when they were young. I went the other way and satisfied my need for fun, not work. I've always taken the easy way out.
- Video: Karl's challenges on Red Bull Human Express
- How many calories did Karl burn on the Pony Express Trail?
- Karl's profile page
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