marathon yellow

The 2013 ING New York City Marathon kicks off in less than a week, and the buzz and excitement surrounding the marathon is beginning to hit a boiling point. Participants are getting in their final training sessions, locals are re-routing their commutes to avoid road blocks, and, as always, there are a handful of unexpected and celebrity runners gaining attention from the media.  As Marathon madness reaches its peak, take a break from all the preparation and take a look at some familiar faces that you may be surprised to see running. These are The 10 Most Surprising Participants in the NYC Marathon This Year.

Riley Jones is a freelance writer from Charlottesville, VA and contributor to Sneaker Report. With an unshakable affinity for basketball and all things ’90s, he can be found on Twitter @rchrstphr.

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Dean Karnazes
Image via Outside Online

No. 10 – Dean Karnazes

Known for: Ultramarathon runner
Charity/cause: Action for Healthy Kids

Okay, so maybe it's not all that surprising that ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes will continue his ways with an appearance in the 2013 NYC Marathon. It's Karnazes' body of accomplishments as a whole that are downright shocking. In 2006, Karnazes made headlines by partaking in the Endurance 50, which placed him in 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days. If your feet hurt just from reading that, consider some of Karnazes other achievements: running 350 straight miles in 80 hours and 44 minutes without a wink of sleep, running a marathon to the South Pole (where temperatures are as low as negative 25 degrees Celsius) without snowshoes, and swimming across the San Fransisco Bay. Yeah, it's safe to say that Dean Karnazes is another level of human, and he'll be putting his prowess on display next weekend.

Carol Mead
Image via KGAB

No. 9 – Carol Mead

Known for: First lady of Wyoming
Charity/cause:
Remember the 8

Carol Mead is known for her historic renovations around Wyoming and her efforts in promoting literacy, health, and creativity amongst the state’s children. In 2012, she planned on adding another experience to her resume by running in the NYC Marathon before its cancellation. This year, she’s back at it, and she’ll be running for the Remember the 8 charity, which honors eight cross country runners who were tragically killed by a drunk driver in 2001.

Sarah Reinertsen
Image via Always Tri

No. 8 – Sarah Reinertsen

Known for: First female leg-amputee to complete the Ironman World Championship, Amazing Race on CBS
Charity/cause: Challenged Athletes Foundation

To call Sarah Reinertsen's journey remarkable would be a understatement. Born with proximal femoral focal deficiency, Reinertsen has her leg amputated above the knee at the age of seven. Just four years later, Reinertsen took up running as a hobby, and by age 13 she ran in her first international track meet. After being disqualified in the 2004 Ironman World Championship, she returned in 2005 with an "unfinished business" mindset. Reinertsen made history by completing the event, and since then she's broken a number of amputee marathon records. On Sunday, Reinertsen makes her triumphant return to the New York City Marathon.

Bryan Steinhauer
Image via NY Daily News

No. 7 – Bryan Steinhauer

Known for: Inspirational recovery following 2008 assault
Charity/cause: 
Minds Over Matter

Bryan Steinhauser's road to the 2013 ING New York City Marathon is both heartbreaking and endlessly inspirational. In 2008, the Brooklyn native was assaulted by a Serbian basketball player who, at 260 lbs, weighed nearly twice as much as Steinhauer. The beating left Steinhauer in a three month coma and doctors weren't sure if he would regain his ability to speak. Now, five years later, Steinhauer is preparing for his first full length marathon. After months of physical therapy, Steinhauer stayed active by using treadmills and running in parks. Before long, he participated in April's New York Half Marathon, and on Sunday, he'll take his biggest step yet.

Richard Blais
Image via Esquire

No. 6 – Richard Blais

Known for: Chef, restaurateur, TV personality
Charity/cause:
Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Chef and television personality Richard Blais ran his first marathon in the 2011 ING New York City Marathon, completing the stretch in 4:31:54. Known for his love for burgers, TV appearances, and renowned restaurants, Blais will be taking his Top Chef competitiveness to the 2013 event.

Stephanie Abrams
Image via Zimbio

No. 5 – Stephanie Abrams

Known for: Meteorologist, The Weather Channel
Charity/cause:
N/A

The Weather Channel’s Stephanie Abrams is another runner who had been set to run last year’s ING New York City Marathon. Somewhat ironically, it was the same weather Abrams covers that altered her 2012 plans. Since then, she’s competed in the Empire State Building Run-Up, and she’ll be hitting the streets of NYC next Sunday.

Joe Bastianich
Image via NY Mag

No. 4 - Joe Bastianich

Known for: Master Chef judge, restaurateur
Charity/cause:
N/A

Joe Bastianich ran the NYC Marathon in 2008 and 2011, with his fastest time clocking in at 3:47:03. The Master Chef judge is best known for his NYC and LA-based restaurants as well as his vineyards in Friuli, Tuscany, Argentina, and Italy. This year, he’ll be expanding on an already impressive background as he looks to improve on his 2011 time.

Christy Turlington Burns
Image via Runner's World

No. 3 – Christy Turlington Burns

Known for: Supermodel
Charity/cause:
Every Mother Counts

For 20 years, Christy Turlington Burns was best known for her modeling work with Calvin Klein. Married to actor Ed Burns, Turlington is heavily involved in humanitarian organizations and founded the campaign Every Mother Counts in 2010. With a goal to end preventable deaths caused by pregnancy and childbirth, Turlington and her Every Mother Counts team took to the NYC streets for the marathon in 2011 and will be returning for the 2013 race on Sunday.

Bill Rancic
Image via Runner's World

No. 2 – Bill Rancic

Known for: Entrepreneur, The Apprentice
Charity/cause: Fab-U-Wish, TIMEX

Bill Rancic came to fame after appearing on Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, and today he works as a motivational speaker and real estate developer. Over a decade ago, Rancic ran in the 2011 Chicago Marathon, and now, at 42, he’ll be running in the 2013 ING New York City Marathon. But there’s a twist. Rancic will begin the marathon in dead last place, with the goal of passing as many runners as possible. For each runner Rancic is able to overtake, TIMEX has agreed to donate $1 to Fab-U-Wish.

Pam Anderson
Image via NY Daily News

No. 1 – Pamela Anderson

Known for: Model, actress
Charity/cause:
J/P Haitian Relief Organization

Sorry fellas, don’t expect to see the Pamela Anderson gliding across the NYC Marathon finish line in slow motion Baywatch fashion. The former model and actress will be out there giving it her all for Haitian Relief, and we can’t help but enjoy the enthusiasm she’s shown in the weeks leading up to the race. Anderson has expressed a genuine devotion to the J/P Haitian Relief Organization, and their team has already raised $164,197 on Crowdrise.

Riley Jones is a freelance writer from Charlottesville, VA and contributor to Sneaker Report. With an unshakable affinity for basketball and all things ’90s, he can be found on Twitter @rchrstphr.

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