The award-winning journalist, who currently heads up news operations as the Los Angeles Bureau Chief for VICE News, puts his full self into everything that he does, highlighting some of the biggest conflicts and national security issues in his impressive body of work.
Before his time on camera at Current TV and CNN, Larsen served as a US Navy SEAL for five years and was also a two-time national champion open water swimmer.
Of particular note from Larsen's storied career in journalism was when he highlighted the controversial practice of waterboarding by having himself waterboarded on TV during his time at Current TV.
Larsen's newest role is another unique addition to his incredible resumé: He's the host of the upcoming Ben Affleck and Matt Damon-produced reality competition, "The Runner," which will air on go90 and AOL.com. As the host of the show, Larsen will use his in-depth experience as a Navy SEAL to impart wisdom onto a the Runner, who is aiming to cross the country without being detected by the Chasers -- or anyone in the country, for that matter.
We caught up with Kaj Larsen over email and asked him about what he thinks it will take for a Runner to win the show, the biggest obstacles they'll face and the one piece of advice he would give to people hoping to reign victorious when it all comes to an end.
See photos of Kaj Larsen's wild experiences below:
#tbt to another day when you are supposed to wear green. Land navigation during SEAL training with the one of a kind old man wonder kid Rivchin. The only guy I know to graduate Basic Underwater Demolition training twice!!! #navyseals #budsinbud/s #oldschool BDUs.
Got to be in the #usaf for a day. Once we got past the chair force and the sailor jokes, was incredible to see how our Airmen fly and maintain some of the worlds deadliest aircraft. Right now there are men and women flying missions over CENTCOM, PACOM, SOUTHCOM and the rest of the world. Pretty amazing. #air force #stillserving
Thank you to everyone who watched 'The New Age of Nukes' on #viceonhbo I'm humbled by how many people wrote and responded about this new escalation in nuclear arms development. An incredibly important and under reported issue. Plus I got to fly a B52! If you missed the episode catch it on @hbo on demand platforms. Vice season 4 episode 50
@nate.j.anderson had the crazy task of being camera op on this shoot. Basically walking through places where there was tons of unexploded ordnance left in the ground. Like this bomb we found in a river bed. We were able to safely detonate it with a cutting charge. But it's a huge bang. Nate got it all on film. Watch on tonight's @HBO episode of #viceonhbo @vice
Party time in Hollywood hills with this stud @austinvoyage Good times good friends good tequila. Happy Birthday Ali!
This is Carlos. Army veteran who suffered a severe brain injury. He's survived several brain surgeries and is tough as nails. Never met anyone so gung-ho to charge into the line up and get some waves. He's also quite the ladies man. An honor to surf with this wounded veteran. @teamrwb
An amazing experience showing up for @vice shoot yesterday to learn our main interview subject was a former @themissioncontinues fellow. Really proud of Chris and all the work he continues to do on behalf of those who served. Episode coming to VICE soon @usnseals @teamrwb @ericgreitens @benjilanpher working the camera
Best way to start the day. Topes. #surfinglife photocred @robertgslambert
An honor to interview Dr William perry former Secretary of Defense. The epitome of what you want to be at 90. Still crusading to make the world a better place. #viceonhbo
It's funny, you can spend a decade in journalism covering conflict zones and national security, be on #viceonhbo one of the best shows on TV, but with the media- once a frogman always a frogman! #navyseals @vice @vicenews
#adventurers #trouble with @trekthunderkelly
The bang bang club boys of @vice. @benjohnanderson and I host tonight's episode of #viceonhbo I guess we dress pretty similar too.
For the past two years my colleagues @vicenews have been busting their ass, risking their lives, and burning the midnight oil in order to bring you intrepid, vanguard, accurate news and information from around the world. We are a baby in the news ecosystem but think we have made a big impact. In the next hour voting for the Webby awards closes. If you have enjoyed our content please take a moment to vote for us. http://bit.ly/1S7NJRH (note have to register first) Thank you for your support. @vice
When one of the most amazing impressive cool cats in the world tells you to come to Kauai to surf and celebrate his birthday- You 'Chance Up!!!'
Let's get tropical.
#tbt SEAL training. Me trying to figure out how to put that damn AK back together again. One of a few pics I found recently of my friend Matt 'axe' Axelson manhandling the 60. Matt was killed June 28th, 2005 during operation red wing along with our other class mate James Suh. I'm still close with both families and miss my buds. I think @evil237 is making a cameo in this photo too. Good times. #navyseals
Upward facing SEAL (x2) #navyseals #sammytheseal photocred @jaivlar
The pagan origins of Easter claim it as a holiday of fertility. So get your Easter bunny on! Happy Easter! #easter
Ready for Lil Wayne show. Let's do this!
In 1941 the world changed. The events that unfolded that year would leave an indelible mark on human history. But the most significant event of that year to me was the birth of my father. The original Brooklyn rabble rouser, rebel, and raconteur. Here we are today celebrating his 75th Birthday by racing motorcycles up the coast. There are few men with his character, his spirit, and his zeal for life. Here's to the Mickster! Still chargin harder and faster than anyone I know. Love you Daddio. Happy three quarters of a century. Go team Larsen. @dlennons @cartergaffney @ricardoharrisfuentes @crystal_fambrini @anniewonderlich #stud #fountainofyouth #poncedeleon
Correspondent debrief from this weekends @VICE on @HBO season opener. I go deeper into the Boko Haram story and talk about how we managed to get in touch with an actual Boko Haram commander. Check it out here: http://www.hbo.com/vice/episodes/04/37-boko-haram-and-unnatural-selection/video/ep-401-debrief
On the bridge with the US Navy. Good to be at sea. @vice
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Check out our full conversation with Kaj Larsen below:
What do you think is going to make a winning runner?
The best Runner, the most successful Runner, is going to have a combination of speed and smarts. He or She is going to have to have the ability to hide in plain sight, while still making progress on the mission. There's a phrase we say in the SEAL teams that is applicable here. In the face of any obstacles, chase teams close behind, difficult tasks, the successful Runner will be the one who despite the circumstances 'Finds a way to win' It means that you have a mentality that Failure is not an option. You find a way to win.
What major obstacles do you anticipate the runner will face?
The Runner is going to face a tremendous number of physical and mental obstacles. We have organized an incredibly intricate playing field. The challenges are difficult. And unlike other games, the Runner is not just facing a clock he is facing real people hunting him down, trying to take his very hard earned money. It's a real life national three dimensional maze with booby traps and chase teams. So trying to accomplish Runner tasks while looking over your shoulder the whole time. That's a challenge.
Why do you think people should watch?
People should watch to win crazy money. The upside here is incredible. Go90 has gone all in. Even the audience is getting paid. But beyond that the stakes are really high. There is a lot of money on the line, but these guys really have to earn it. Its going to be exciting high stakes mobile television.
With your experience, what's your best advice for the runner?
Find a way to win. No matter how cold, exhausted, scared you are, you gotta find a way to win. In the end, its not going to be about speed or intellect, although those will come into play. Its going to be about having more will to win than the other contestants.
Describe "The Runner" (the show) in three words.
Exciting. Innovative. Unprecedented.
RELATED: See photos of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon together throughout their careers:
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Enjoy this article? Check out more articles about "The Runner" here.
Watch the official first look of "The Runner" below: