Oz Pearlman better known as Oz the Mentalist, is famous for his incredible magic tricks and mind games. He won an Emmy for his NBC show Oz Knows, came in 3rd on America Got Talent, and appeared on countless nationally syndicated television shows. As well-known and successful as he is at his trade, he’s an equally amazing runner. The man absolutely crushes. He’s won the New Jersey Marathon four times, the 50-mile Chicago Ultra Marathon in 5h 25m 26s, placed 6th at Badwater, and 12 more top 10 finishes on Ultra Signup.
I first became familiar with Oz just before his last big run when he reached out to very graciously let me know that he would be attempting to break my Central Park Loop Challenge FTK. He didn’t just take my record of 16 loops; he demolished it by putting up an insane 19 loops (117.5 miles) in 17h 40m 59s. Along the way, he raised over $100K for Ukraine. I can’t think of a better way to have the record taken, and I’ve had nothing but the utmost respect for him since. So when Oz reached out to let me know about his plans for Montauk to Manhattan, we jumped at the opportunity to be involved and help bring the story of this audacious effort to others.
Reece Robinson and Dom Aprile, our camera crew, woke up at 3am on August 4, 2022, to start driving to Montauk, the tip of Long Island, NY, where they met Oz and his crew for a 6am start. As the sun rose over the cliffs and shores of Long Island, Oz took the first steps of his long journey that day. Oz cruised through the first 50 miles of the effort quite seamlessly, averaging close to an 8:30 pace. Oz's crew, Dustin Emrani, Ryan Dexter, and Alex Petkoff, stopped every 2 miles to give Oz a gel, pedialyte, and dump ice water over his neck. It was one of the hottest days of the summer with highs around 88 and extreme humidity. In the early afternoon, Oz slowed down considerably to walk as the sun relentlessly beat down on him. Extreme fatigue set in at times and Oz had to adjust his pace at times due to the conditions. Even ice water proved futile at maintaining a comfortable temperature.
As nightfall set in, Oz ditched his sun shirt and things picked up. He started taking caffeine gels to keep energy high and blasted through miles 80-100 at a starting pace, completing 100 miles in an elite 16 hours, 30 mins. Oz's inertia and momentum were unstoppable. He ripped through Western Long Island at a lightning clip and began to enter NYC proper (Jamaica, Queens) right when he hit a setback. A huge wall. Mile 114. Oz nearly collapsed. All of the fast running, caffeine, and adrenaline caught up to him and he walked for a solid mile in delirium. Ryan Dexter, Oz's friend and experienced crew chief, walked with Oz and kept his head game in tact. Oz was leaning on Ryan at times, as a powerful moment manifested between the two of them. Oz put his headphones in and started to sing aloud to recoup steam. Miraculously, at Mile 116, Oz started running again, and didn't stop till he got to Times Square.