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 Iraq War. He is the 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.
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). During the training he had been diagnosed with sickle cell trait and was advised to stay home for a week, when he had returned to the doctor after a week, he has been told that he could return to the training, but the commander said he would have to do it all over again, he decided not to. He then proceeded to serve as member of the United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party also known as TACP after completing successful training. Starting from 1994 Goggins served his time in TACP until 1999 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."
After several of his friends died in Afghanistan in a helicopter crash in 2005 during Operation Red Wings, 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. 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.
Marathon and ultramarathon running
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. After those two events, having yet to be invited to the Badwater-135, Goggins entered into the Hurt-100; an ultra marathon in Hawaii which is widely regarded as one of the hardest ultra-marathons in the world. He was the ninth runner to cross the finish line, and only 23 runners finished the event. 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.
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 had never ridden a bike competitively.
In 2007, Goggins achieved his best finish at the Badwater-135 by placing 3rd overall.
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.
In 2016, Goggins won the Infinitus 88k in 12 hours, almost twenty minutes ahead of the next finisher. In the same year, he also won the Music City Ultra 50k, and Strolling Jim 40 Miler.
Goggins said "motivational speaker" is just his job title.
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.
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.
His self-help memoir, Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds, was released on December 4, 2018. In the book he refers to the 40% rule, his belief that most of us only tap into 40% of our capabilities. The Audible version of this book has sat in the Amazon best sellers list since day 1 with over 15,000 positive reviews.
Goggins has reported the following health conditions:
- 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."
- 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 is 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.
World pull-up record
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. The main aim of the challenge was to raise money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. After 6 hours and 30 minutes in, Goggins had completed 2,011 pullups (halfway to the record). By 9:15 pm, after 13.5 hours, he completed pull-up 2,588. 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. 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.
On January 19, 2013, at Crossfit Brentwood Hills in Brentwood, Tennessee, Goggins broke the world record for the most pull-ups done in 24 hours, completing 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours.