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  • Writer's pictureMarcus Kowal

Running with David Goggins for change

I’m sorry that it has taken some time to write this. Often, after doing these events, I need some time to be able to put into words what we went through. I write “we” because it’s always a group effort. The team behind Liam’s Life Foundation; the sponsors; you all, who donate and share and support; and lastly, the team that goes through the journey of hard work, agony, and pain together.

As long as I’ve been doing these long-distance runs and ultra marathons, I’ve always known that one day, I was going to run with David Goggins for Liam’s Life Foundation. David Goggins has been a huge inspiration over the years and his honest and raw approach to mental strength and mental resilience training is in my opinion, exactly what the world needs more of.

Running 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours is a mental resilience challenge for most. Last year, we ran the 70-mile Backbone trail the week before Goggins’ 4x4x48 challenge and I reached out to Goggins to challenge him to come run the 70 miles with us and I was going to run his challenge with him. I’m glad he didn’t respond because I was in no shape to do the 48 miles the week after our 70-mile run. This year, my body wasn’t recovering from a 70-mile ultra-marathon but I also hadn’t prepared for an ultra-marathon, not even an interval one, so there's always a concern if the body will hold up but there weren't any issues, except a bad Charlie Horse (a contusion in the quadriceps) from a thigh to the knee during grappling (we did some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing sparring between the runs). The knee was an accident but it was one of the worst contusions I've had in many years. Many asked afterwards which run was the worst and personally, I thought it was going one of the two 4 am runs. Everyone had their own personal "hells" to deal with at different stages of the run. My worst stretch of the run was the second run, the very first with the contusion, and with two hours of grappling and sparring, I had only had 1 hour of rest. During that run, I was somewhat concerned with what effect the contusion would have. Interestingly, the more I ran, the more it went away and towards the end of the event, I wasn't feeling it anymore. It makes sense, however, since a deep contusion is just a bunch of coagulated blood. Thus, working the muscle and getting blood flow to it from running is a good way to help the healing.

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who was a part of organising the event, donating, running, and standing up in the fight against drunk driving. None of this would be possible without you and it’s because of you that we will save future lives from being lost to drunk driving. It’s important to remember that we, the people, make the decisions.

Here's a quick compilation of our runs but a longer version will soon be posted to my YouTube channel that you can subscribe to here.

This is a letter I sent out to all of our supporters with Liam's Life Foundation:

I want to personally thank everyone who came out to run for Liam’s Life Foundation the past Sunday, March 6th, alongside New York Times bestseller and ultra runner David Goggins. To see Hermosa Beach flooded with green frogs was something very special. Almost 1,000 people showed up and approximately 400 people actually ran the last four-mile leg of the 4x4x48 down to Redondo Beach and back.

This was the third annual 4x4x48 challenge by David Goggins, where participants run 4 miles every 4 hours, for 48 hours. It was a total of 9 of us who ran the whole 48 hours and by the time we did our last 4 miles in Hermosa Beach, we were physically exhausted and sleep-deprived but the energy from all the people made the last four miles the easiest.

In total, we raised $5608, which is more than we could have hoped for with such a short notice event. All the proceeds will be used to raise awareness against drunk driving and educate people on .05 BAC. In addition to raising funds, this was a very important event and a huge milestone for the foundation and the march towards a 0.05 legal BAC. On a personal level, it was an honor to get to run with David Goggins, who has been a huge inspiration to myself and the many “Runraisers” (fund and awareness raisers) that we have done over the years. It was also a huge acknowledgment to have someone of David Goggins’ reputation and influence, see the importance of ending drunk driving and supporting our cause. To have such a huge turnout to run for change was truly a dream come true.

I want to give a special thank you to Steve Kiefer of the Kiefer Foundation, who donated $2,500 to the foundation. The Kiefer foundation was founded to fight distracted driving (texting and driving), which is a cause that we fully support as well. At the end of the day, it is all part of being a responsible, considerate driver.

I want to thank our amazing team behind Liam’s Life Foundation who we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without. Thank you for hours upon hours that you donate and for your dedicated, selfless service. I also want to take a moment to thank everyone who came and joined us for some of the runs.

Whether it was for one run or five, your energy and support made the 48 grueling hours more bearable! To the 8 other runners who did the full 48 hours together: Thank you for your resilience!

A special shout out to Ryan, Juan, Hossein, Cesar, Nate (who ran in support of his motherland Ukraine, something we support heavily as well), and Alex, who none of them usually run. Systems members Hossein joined Saturday and ran a total of 20 miles (the furthest he’s ever ran by far!) and Cesar, who worked all night Friday and then joined the team Saturday morning and ran with us all until the run with David Goggins. He then decided to finish the full 48 miles and continued all through Sunday night and finished up Monday morning, before going back to work! And lastly, to Alex, who is only 17 years old and who really showed that mental toughness is not dependent on age! Lastly, I want to thank David Goggins for shining light on Liam’s Life Foundation and the drunk driving epidemic which takes over 10,000 lives in the U.S annually.

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