Can you please explain how I am bad mouthing Dean? I simply stated that I would like to see him compete for a change rather than pull of a variety of stunts that no one else seems to have the time of day for (or, perhaps, are up for). If, on the off hand, he's doing it solely for charitable / humanitarian purposes, then I'll shut up because the stunts are certainly drawing media attention (and plenty of discourse on this and other sites). But I doubt it.
I've seen Dean tackle Badwater first hand and I was impressed with him as much as I was with every one else tackling that beast of a course. I plan on taking part in it one day and I will be grateful to even finish.
Futher, I've met Dean twice and both times I came away with the impression that he's a very nice guy. When Pam Reed beat him at Badwater, he was gracious in defeat and friendly to anyone who wanted a word with him (the same can't be said of Pam, at least at that moment in time...but then again, she did just run 135 miles through the desert).
Finally, I'm not sure where you got the idea that I was claiming to be a stud runner. I'm definitely not, but I don't suck either. Just an above average runner who is a big fan (and supporter) of the sport. As for my knowledge of the sport, I've been running for 20 years, have been race director of over 60 running events, have crewed (not run) at Badwater, have run against Dean a few times, trained with and had my ass handed to me by Olympic ahletes, blah, blah, blah. Google my name. Lot's of mediocre times (4:02, 8:43, 15:23,...you get the idea) and even a few embarrassing performances (but a few good beer mile times!). Like the time I walked the last 18 km of the Whidbey Island Marathon and still finished an hour ahead of the "Ultramarathon Man." Sorry, cheap shot.
I have no idea if I could beat Dean at one of his extreme events or not. I've beaten him at a couple of road races, and by quite a margin. However, I don't think he cares one bit who I am and whether I beat him or not.
All I'm saying is that I would love to see him take on the challenge of racing against some of the best ultrarunners around and see where he ends up.
He may not have annointed himself the best runner in America, but he's sure not going out of his way to disprove that notion. Personally, that bugs me. Seems dishonorable. Slightly disrespectful of America's elite - Meb, Hall, even Jurek and Matt Carpenter.
Also, a number of people have stated that Dean should be given credit for increasing the exposure of running in North America. To a certain extent, yes. However, the kind of running that he is bringing exposure to is the kind of running that only a tiny percentage of the running population is doing - 24 hours on a treadmill; running a marathon a day in every state; 350 miles without stopping, etc. How is that going to boost participation in running? Who can relate? We can all revel in the insanity of it. The indestructability of his body. His actions will undoubtedly lead to charitable donations (good on him), and perhaps there will be a movement en masse from the couch to the streets once his book is read in every home in America (and Canada). I doubt it. He's a novelty act and he's making a living from it. I wish I could sometimes.
Again, party of one. Solitary fish in an otherwise empty pond. He's not running. He's persevering. He's showing that he has incredible stamina. Top of the gene pool. I am genuinely impressed.
I still want to see him bring it against a field of worthy competitors. That would be good for the sport. Good entertainment as well.