Viewers of the 10th season of America’s Got Talent know Oz Pearlman as a gifted mentalist who most recently punched his ticket to the Finals by narrating judge Howard Stern’s on-stage drinking choices while being manually blindfolded by judge Heidi Klum.
Today Show viewers know Pearlman as the guest who blew the anchors’ minds a couple weeks ago with apparent mind readings.
But the ultra running community know the Israeli-born New Yorker in a wholly different context — namely that of a world-class endurance athlete. Wait, what?
Pearlman first became interested in distance running after his sister competed in the New York City Marathon. In a fit of sibling rivalry, he signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon which was being run a month a later. While he struggled to the finish line, he rapidly improved in subsequent races, including posting the fastest time in the 2008 Hamptons Marathon.
Pearlman, influenced by running buddy Michael “The Fruitarian” Arnstein, eventually tried longer distances. He had success in 50-mile ultra marathons, before pursuing even longer distances like the famed Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run and the 153-mile Spartathlon.
In 2013, Pearlman ran the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon which bills itself as “the world’s toughest foot race.” The race starts at 282-feet below sea level in the blistering heat of California’s Death Valley, and ends at an elevation of 8360 feet at the trailhead to Mount Whitney.
Incredibly, Pearlman finished in sixth place with a time of 28:03:55 and an average speed of 4.81 mph.