UItrarunner and Navy SEAL David Goggins Know How to Suffer
On a (painful) mission to help the families of fallen Special Forces troops
Photo by Aleeza Goggins
As a Navy SEAL stationed in San Diego, David Goggins was used to tackling grueling tasks that most people would think were crazy. He had gone through two Hell Weeks—the Navy’s notorious SEAL initiation rite that weeds out 75 percent of its participants—completed Army Ranger School for kicks, done tours in Iraq and had become a power lifter in his spare time.
But in 2005, Goggins, who then sported a 6-foot-1-inch, 240-pound linebacker build, decided to do something that even his fellow SEALs thought was crazy—run the Badwater Ultramarathon, a grueling 135-mile trek through Death Valley to Mount Whitney Portal under the excoriating desert sun, with almost no training under his belt.
And Goggins hates running. “He hates it,” says Aleeza Goggins, his wife. “He absolutely hates it.”
At the time, he had just learned that four of his SEAL teammates had died in combat in Afghanistan, and he decided to raise money to help their children. He reasoned that running the ultra would be an effective way to stir up publicity for the cause.
“People are definitely drawn to people suffering,” he says. “And if suffering is what it takes, then that’s what I’m doing.”
And suffer he did.