If you happen to be watching the History Channel on May 17th, you’ll come across a Brazilian ultra-runner named Carlos Dias. He’s been named a “superhuman” in Latin America, and it’s a fitting title. Not only is the 39-year old an astonishing long-distance athlete, he’s also one of the kindness and most compassionate souls you’ll ever come across.

Carlos is here in Jordan for the Roving Race. He made a big impact while completing the 4 Deserts in 2008/2009 and then taking on Nepal in 2011. With limited English, he’s known for his radiant smiles and ability to make others happy just by being in his presence. But when our Portuguese-speaking volunteer sat down with him at the end of the first stage, the 39-year old unleashed his life story—and what a story it is.

The Brazilian first came across endurance races in 1997. “I read an article about an ultra in South Africa, 89-kilometers that got 14,000 runners together,” he explains. “I started learning and training to do that. I did a 100-kilometer race in Brazil, which I completed and felt really good about. Then, three months later, I went to South Africa to do the Comrades Marathon. That’s when I started doing this full time.”

He’s done all the major tests in the field, crossing the United States from New York to San Francisco (a total of 5,130-kilometers) in 59 days, and running across Brazil from north to south and completing the 9,000-kilometers in 100 days. In 2010, he set out on a loop of his entire country, 18,250-kilometers in 325 days. However, six weeks before he was due to set off, his mother passed away.

That test was very difficult to start,” he admits. “I had to work through all these emotions to continue my dream. I have a five-year old son, Vinicius, and I focused on him in that moment because I had lost the person who meant so much to me. He gives me strength and inspiration to keep fighting for children and overcoming challenges.”

Indeed, what makes this man really stand out as an athlete is how he uses his talents as a tool for serving others. “I always try to make my sporting career in service of a greater cause,” he says. “My cause is childhood cancer. That’s what I fight for, I feel like I have to use my passion. I try to use the determination and enthusiasm that God gave me for this. I’m a soldier for this.”

As we conclude the interview, the Brazilian leaves us with a gem of wisdom. Want to get things done in life? Follow this man’s advice: “I get an idea in my head, I put it straight on paper, make a commitment, and from there put it into practice and make it a reality.” Awesome words from a truly inspiring human being.

By Clare Morin

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