Endurance Athlete Profile: David Goggins

I have had the privilege to meet and run with some amazing athletes who have done some amazing feats – run across America, run in the Olympics, run across the Sahara, run across the Death Valley Badwater course unassisted, to name some of the highlights. One of the really great thing about those runners is the level of humility and amount of friendliness that they possess. Some of these people would never even bring up their running accomplishments unless you really pressed them for it (and some not even then!).

One such athlete who displays some of the most incredible amount of endurance and selflessness combined is David Goggins. I had the privilege of meeting him one time and it certainly was a pleasure.  In case you are having a tough time getting motivated, I thought I would present a bit of a profile about this incredible athlete.

David Goggins

David Goggins

Photo by Paul Rudman

David started running in 2005 when he weighed 280 pounds. He first thought about running a distance longer than a marathon (even though he had never run a marathon before) when he lost some friends and committed to raise money for a charity committed to helping families like that (more on that in a minute). He decided he wanted to run Badwater to achieve that fundraising goal, but was told he would have to do a 100 miler first. He went and did that just four days laterAt this point, he had yet to run a marathon and he started out in a race to run 100 miles.

He finished that first 100 miles in just under 19 hours (in 2005). He suffered kidney failure and broke several bones in his feet. Just a few weeks later, he ran his first marathon in a time of 3:08! Most runners who run a 100 miler would not be able to do any type of speedwork for a while, but David crushed his first marathon in a time of 3:08 shortly after running his first 100!

From that point, he began to run many endurance events – ultramarathons, triathlons, etc. He does this even though he says that he hates to run, hates to bike, and hates to swim. He does all of this to race money for the charity near his heart.

A few years ago, he describe his daily routine as rising very early in the morning to run 15 miles, bike 25 miles to work, run another 5-8 miles during lunch, and then bike 25 miles home. Sometimes, he would run a few more miles after that before doing his weight workouts. Oh, by the way, his work that he runs to is his job as a Navy Seal!

That’s right, he is a Navy Seal. The reason he started running and doing all of these events is because some of his fellow SEALs has died while in Afghanistan. He wanted to do something to help their families and honor their memory so he began running for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The foundations says they believe has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the families of those fallen soldiers.

A few years ago, his hard training began to actually hurt (more than normal) and he went to his doctor and found out that he had a hole in heart (from birth). The hole was the size of a poker chip. It took a couple of surgeries to fix his heart. Believe it or not he had run dozens of races and ultramarathons, went through Hell Week (Navy Seal training week), and other events with this hole in his heart! That takes some kind of incredible willpower to push through the pain that he must have endured (not that I am suggesting anyone push through that much pain!). Fortunately, they were able to repair his heart and he was back at running after many months of recovery.

In addition to achieving amazing accomplishments in the running and triathlon circuits, he also broke the world record last year for the most pull-ups in 24 hours – 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours! This is after his first attempt that was derailed due to his tearing a muscle in his forearm (and continuing on to do several hundred more with the torn muscle before not being able to pull himself up anymore). His second attempt was stopped short at over 3,000 pull-ups because of third-degree burns on his hands from the effort!

Here is an interview that shows other videos and lists many other articles about what David has accomplished. Now go out and run! 🙂 Just writing these things down give me an itch to run tomorrow until it hurts – and then turn around to run home! 🙂

Some of the links on Running with Miles are affiliate links that pay a commission if a purchase is made. Running with Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.