Fittest Real Athletes – David Goggins

David Goggins     Photo: photograph by Jake Chessum

After fellow commandos were killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005, Goggins—a Navy SEAL temporarily working a desk job—decided to pay tribute by setting the hardest goal he could think of: running the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon. Though a novice runner, Goggins signed up to raise money for the Warrior Foundation—which pays the school costs of fallen soldiers' children—dropped 50 pounds, and completed the race in 2006, finishing fifth. He returned the next year to place third, beating Dean Karnazes's best time by more than an hour. Goggins has now notched 28 ultramarathons, including a two-day, 203-mile run in 2007. Next fall, before he's redeployed into combat zones, he plans to climb Everest.

"A lot of people choose to have balance, but my time is coming to an end. I have another year before I'm deployed again. I believe that when you're dead, your spirit lives on to think about all the things you didn't accomplish in your life. So I'm trying to accomplish everything. I was 270 pounds, and I said I wanted to run Badwater, so I did. I'd run 10 or 15 miles in the morning, then ride my bike 20 or 30 miles on the way to work. At lunch, I'd run, then I'd ride home after work. I'd do my six-, seven-, eight-hour runs on the weekends. It taught me that you don't have to enjoy things to do them. But what better place to find out what you're made of than when you're 24 hours into a 48-hour race?" KEY TIP: "Stop making excuses. If you want to make something happen, just make it happen."

Polo Shirt ($152) by Trovata; Core Freedom 5 Pocket Pant ($55) by Tommy Hilfiger; Striper Laceless CVO shoes ($60) by Sperry Top-Sider

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