David Goggins

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David Goggins
Goggins in May 2008
BornFebruary 17, 1975 (1975-02-17) (age 44)
Buffalo, New York, U.S.[1]
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Air Force
 United States Navy
RankChief Petty Officer Chief Petty Officer[2]
UnitUnited States Navy Special Warfare insignia.png United States Navy SEALs
Other workSpecial Operations Warrior Foundation
Featured in the book Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzler (2015)

David Goggins (born February 17, 1975) is an American ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete, motivational speaker and author. He is a retired United States Navy SEAL and former United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party member who served in the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. He is a former world record holder for the most pull-ups done in 24 hours. His self-help memoir, Can't Hurt Me, was released in 2018.

Military career[edit]

Goggins initially applied to join the United States Air Force Pararescue, Goggins failed his ASVAB twice before succeeding and entering into 'The Pipeline' (Pararescue training). Goggins later became a member of the United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party also known as TACP. Goggins served his time in TACP and left the United States Air Force.

After three attempts, Goggins succeeded in graduating from BUD/S training with Class 235 in 2001 and was assigned to SEAL Team FIVE. Goggins served in Iraq. In 2004, Goggins graduated from Army Ranger School with the distinction of enlisted "Top Honor Man." [5]


After several of his friends died in Afghanistan in a helicopter crash in 2005 during Operation Red Wings,[3] Goggins began long-distance running with the aim of raising money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The Foundation gives college scholarships and grants to the children of fallen special operations soldiers.[6] Competing in endurance challenges, including the Badwater Ultramarathon three times, has enabled Goggins to raise more than $2 million for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. [7]

Marathon and ultramarathon running[edit]

Goggins attempted to enter the Badwater-135 Ultramarathon as a fundraiser, but was told by organizers that he needed to enter another ultramarathon first; as the Badwater is an invitational event. In 2005, Goggins entered the San Diego One Day, a 24-hour ultramarathon held at Hospitality Point in San Diego. He was able to run 101 miles in 19 hours and 6 minutes—despite never having attempted to run a marathon previously. Soon after, David completed his first marathon (Las Vegas), in a time that qualified him for entrance into the Boston Marathon. He was subsequently granted entry into the 2006 Badwater-135. During the 2006 Badwater-135, he finished 5th overall, an unheard of result from an ultramarathon novice at a world-class event.[8]

Goggins has competed in numerous long-distance endurance events including ultra-marathons.

He has participated in events such as the Las Vegas Marathon and the Badwater-135 Ultramarathon, where he placed highly. He also has participated in the Furnace Creek-508 (2009), an ultra-distance invitational Cycling Race.

Three months after completing his first Badwater Ultramarathon in 2006, he competed in the Ultraman World Championships Triathlon in Hawaii. He placed second in the three-day, 320-mile race, cycling 261 miles in two days on a rented bicycle. Before training for that race, he’d never ridden a bike competitively.

In 2007, Goggins achieved his best finish at the Badwater-135 by placing 3rd overall.[9]

He returned to the Badwater-135 in 2013, finishing 18th, after a break from the event since 2008.

Over the next two years, he competed in another 14 ultra-endurance races, with top-five finishes in nine of them. He set a course record at the 48-hour national championships, beating the previous record by 20 miles with a total distance traveled of 203.5 miles and earning himself a spot among the top 20 ultramarathoners in the world.

In 2008 he was named a "Hero of Running" by Runner's World.[10]

Motivational speaking[edit]

Goggins said "motivational speaker" is just his job title. [11]

As an inspirational speaker, Goggins travels and speaks to sports teams. He has spoken to athletes from professional teams, including the Atlanta Hawks and the Seattle Seahawks, as well as collegiate athletes from the Alabama, Tennessee and Michigan university football programs.[12]

Entrepreneur Jesse Itzler, upon seeing Goggins perform at a 24-hour ultramarathon, called and hired Goggins to live with him in his house for a month. Itzler wrote about his experience on a blog and later published the story as the book Living With A SEAL.[citation needed][13]

His self-help memoir, Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds, was released on December 4, 2018.

Health problems[edit]

Goggins has reported the following health conditions:

  • Asthma[3][14]
  • Obesity
    • In the late 1990s, after spending four years in the Air Force, Goggins, who weighed almost 300 pounds, was told that he was too heavy to make it through SEAL training. In less than three months, he returned weighing 190 pounds.
    • In 2005, when he decided to run an ultramarathon to raise money for charity, he "weighed 280 pounds from years of power lifting...Eight months later, when I ran Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon, I weighed 177 pounds."[3]
  • Congenital heart defect
    • In May 2010, during a routine medical checkup, his doctor discovered a birth defect known as atrial septal defect (ASD), or a hole between atrial chambers of his heart, and it’s only able to function at about 75 percent capacity. This condition typically prevents people from doing activities such as scuba diving or anything at high altitude. Only a few days after learning of the condition, Goggins had surgery to repair his heart.[15]

World pull-up record[edit]

2012 attempts[edit]

On September 27, 2012, Goggins went on the Today Show to attempt to beat the world record for the most pull-ups done in 24 hours.[16] The main aim of the challenge was to raise money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. After 6 hours and 30 minutes in, Goggin had completed 2,011 pullups (halfway to the record). By 9:15 pm, after 13.5 hours, he completed pull-up 2588. He had been in considerable pain for hours as a severe bulge burst through the skin of his right wrist. An x-ray at 10:30pm confirmed a right extensor pollicis complex partial tear. The reason for the injury and the failure in the attempt is thought to be the use of a portable pull-up bar that was not bolted down, as opposed to the sturdier equipment he used during the months of training prior to this event.[17] Despite not beating the record, Goggins raised more than $20,000 for his chosen charity.

On November 27, 2012, he completed 3,207 pull-ups in 12 hours, but had to stop due to an injury in his left palm.

2013 success[edit]

On January 19, 2013, in Brentwood, Tennessee, Goggins broke the world record for the most pull-ups done in 24 hours. He completed 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours, and set a new world record. It was his third attempt at breaking the record.



  1. ^ "Speaker David Goggins, Book David Goggins, US Navy SEAL – Robinson Speakers Bureau". Robinsonspeakers.com.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b c d "He epitomizes what a SEAL is". Stripes.com. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ a b "An interview with US Navy Seal David Goggins". Slowtwitch.com.
  6. ^ "Special Operations Warrior Foundation -". Specialops.org.
  7. ^ "Inspiration has the Ability to Change Lives". www.vfw.org.
  8. ^ Badwater-135 results since 2000 Archived September 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Cramer, Cathy. "AdventureCORPS Presents :: 2007 Badwater 135 :: Race Results". dbase.adventurecorps.com.
  10. ^ "RW Hero of Running David Goggins at Runner's World.com". December 8, 2008. Archived from the original on December 8, 2008. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  11. ^ "Inspiration has the Ability to Change Lives". www.vfw.org.
  12. ^ "Inspiration has the Ability to Change Lives". www.vfw.org.
  13. ^ Itzler, Jesse (2015). Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet (1st ed.). New York, NY: Hachette Book Group. pp. 3–9. ISBN 9781455534678.
  14. ^ "Indy.com – Post: B-team: Super athlete David Goggins – Indianapolis, Indiana". June 18, 2009. Archived from the original on June 18, 2009. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  15. ^ "Never A Bad Day: Large And In Charge". Triathlete-europe.competitor.com. December 13, 2013. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  16. ^ "David Goggins Attempts 24 Hour Pull Up World Record – Nerve Rush". Nerverush.com. September 28, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  17. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: David Goggins 24-Hour Pull Up World Record: Take #2". Nerverush.com. November 20, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  18. ^ "Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds (2018)". davidgoggins.com. 2018. Retrieved December 25, 2018.

External links[edit]