Navy SEAL Faces Death Valley for Children of Fallen Special Operations Personnel

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Navy SEAL David Goggins is one of 90 athletes competing in the 29th Annual Badwater Ultramarathon, July 24-16. His goal is to raise awareness and money for the children of fallen special operations personnel during the 135-mile race.

What if someone gave you the choice to either run one mile in Death Valley during the hottest month of the year or donate one dime to charity? I think you'd join me in throwing a dime in the pot.

Actually most people wouldn’t even consider running in the blazing heat of the desert, but that is exactly what David Goggins is going to be doing on July 24-26th as part of the 29th Annual Badwater 135-mile Ultramarathon.

Goggins, a Navy SEAL, is one of only 90 people worldwide accepted to the extreme foot race, and he is hoping that by braving the heat and the grueling elements, perhaps people will drop more than a few dimes into the pot for his favorite charity, one that helps the children of fallen special operations personnel.

Covering 135 miles non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA in temperatures up to 130 degrees the Badwater is reported to be the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on Earth. Runners will travel through landmarks with names like Furnace Creek, Devil’s Cornfield, and Stovepipe Wells. For those who finish the 135-mile journey in less than 48-hours, their reward is a coveted Badwater belt buckle. There is no prize money.

Goggins’ sole purpose for competing in this grueling event is to raise money for the children of fallen special operations personnel, including Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces and Rangers, and Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel. He hopes to raise money for college education through the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, an organization that provides college scholarship grants, not loans, for tuition, books, fees, room and board. Goggins is running on behalf of more than 660 children who lost a parent while serving in special operations since 1980.

“I decided to do something to look after the children who lost their fathers,” said Goggins, who works at Naval Special Warfare Group One Training Detachment at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.

Since last November, Goggins who admitted that he “hates running” and had never competed in a marathon before, has been training night and day in preparation for the 135-mile foot race. To qualify for the Badwater Ultramarathon, Goggins had to finish other ultramarathons for his application to be accepted.

Being a highly-trained Navy SEAL, physical training is a big part of his life, but Goggins admits preparing for the brutal heat of Death Valley and the seemingly endless hours of feet pounding the asphalt is a challenge.

“I go everywhere in my car with the heat on. I wear sweatshirts all the time, and run in multiple sweaters,” said Goggins, who can be seen nightly running near his home in Chula Vista, Calif. from midnight until 4 a.m. He also squeezes in a couple hours of riding his bike before heading to work for a normal full workday.

But make no mistake, despite the Hollywood image of Navy SEALs being invincible, Goggins admits feeling the aches and pains from the extreme training.

“Luckily I can take the pain,” said Goggins, “especially when I remember why I’m doing all of this.”

Since running through Death Valley is not something an average person, or even a highly trained athlete would consider, most people who agree it is easier to donate one dime for every mile Goggins runs. That equates to $13.50 or, in today's world: four gallons of gas; a good martini; a burger and a beer; two vanilla lattes with a scone -- you get the picture. But $13.50 exponentially donated will make a true impact to the children left behind by honoring their fallen parent and making sure these children get the college education they deserve.

If you are interested in supporting David Goggins’ in his efforts to raise awareness and funds for the children of fallen special operations heroes, please make a donation online in his honor at http://www.specialops.org You can also watch the race through a “live” webcast produced by AdventureCORPS at http://www.badwater.com/2006web. Cheer on David Goggins, who is wearing bib number 88.

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