A Different Type of Elite Athlete (part 2)

In the first part of our mini-series on elites giving back, we looked at trailblazer Eluid Kipchoge and Canadian change makers Dave Proctor and Laura Townsend-Sherrer. If you missed it, you can read it here.

In this part we profile the charitable works of two ultra runners have thrown in completely to fight like a runner.

 David Goggins and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation

David Goggins is an ultramarathon runner and former Air Man and Navy SEAL who is quite divisive in the community. Having written his bestselling autobiographical piece ‘Can’t Hurt Me’ earlier in the year, David has seen increased attention, and criticism, paid to his performance. Recently, at the Moab 240 he was victim to a signage issue and went several miles off course, only to reroute himself and end up disqualified for medical reasons later in the race. Upon release from medical care Goggins chose to attempt to return and finish what he started, which sparked backlash as Goggins has such a large audience. What many do not know however, is that Goggins has for the bulk of his racing career done so for the benefit of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The Special Operations Warrior Foundation drew Goggins’ attention after the death of many of his friends in service in Afghanistan in 2005. The foundation funds scholarships for the children of fallen special operations members. Faced with the enormity of wanting to honor the memories of friends long past, it is easier to see how Goggins arrived at his decision to continue. To support Goggins’ passion for the SOWF, please visit: https://specialops.org/

 Fight depression with Jeff Jackson

Jeff Jackson is in every sense of the word a success story. Having endured alcoholism, addiction and obesity and come out the other side, Jeff gave a lot of thought to how he could prevent other people from suffering similarly with mental health issues. Being a keen ultramarathon runner and skilled road runner, Jeff highlighted movement as being key to fighting depression. Having the knowledge that silence and shame are major factors in athletes and lay people alike avoiding seeking help, Jeff co-founded Depression2Extinction with friend Luke Frazier to spread a message of communication, increased emotional fluency, and teaching emotional regulation techniques to children in schools through D2E programs. As a not-for-profit organization D2E relies on its ambassador athletes and on donors to help fund its in-school programs, small groups work, the anonymous emotional check-in service and other racing endeavours the organization takes on including the D2E 24 Hour Challenge and the upcoming 50 in 50 effort. To support Depression2Extinction’s continued success, please visit: https://depression2extinction.networkforgood.com/projects/76655-d2e-general-fund


The five individuals profiled in this series are runners competing, race directing and fundraising today in the interest of a better tomorrow. The inspiring thing is they make up such a small number of the runners who are dedicating their stride to furthering a cause, and they spark many more to join the fight. And while our conversations and contemplations on what it is to have an elite mindset are important to competition, perhaps we as a community should be just as concerned as Kipchoge, Goggins, David, Laura and Jeff are with fostering an elite heart.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published