The Collegian
Saturday, June 15, 2024

UR students participate in running challenge for mental health

<p>UR students who participated in the David Goggins 448 challenge. Photo courtesy of Tim Khoh.&nbsp;</p>

UR students who participated in the David Goggins 448 challenge. Photo courtesy of Tim Khoh. 

In late February and early March, four University of Richmond students competed in a running challenge to raise money for the JED Foundation, which works with teens’ mental health and suicide prevention. 

The running challenge, also known as David Goggins 448 challenge, is named for ultramarathon runner and Guinness World Record holder David Goggins. Participants must run four miles every four hours for 48 hours. 

The participants, Tim Khoh, Ryan McCaroll, Matt Pisani and Aiden Derby, are all first-year students. 

Khoh and McCaroll began the challenge the morning of Feb. 24, and Pisani began the same day in the evening. 

Derby was not around the week the others started their runs, so he took part in the challenge during Spring Break, beginning March 3. 

“To put it bluntly, it was a long two days filled with running, trying to replenish, hydrate, eat, all that stuff,” Derby said. “But it was definitely a good experience, learned a ton about myself.” 

Derby originally heard about the challenge from Khoh, who had gotten a group together and wondered if Derby wanted to participate. 

Always down for a challenge, Derby agreed to participate, he said. 

McCarroll said he started the challenge once his classes were finished for the week. However, he found the intervals in between runs difficult for schoolwork. 

“It was very hard for studying and doing homework for the week afterwards because you did not get enough time to have full-on sleep,” McCarroll said. 

Despite having prior running experience in the last few years, McCaroll said he went into the challenge a bit blind, as he only had about three weeks of preparation.

“I was like on mile two of the ninth run and I could barely move my legs,” McCarroll said. “Everything was just hurting and I really wanted to stop. But, after I did the entire challenge, I would do that again. And after all the donations and for the cause that we did it for, I feel like that’s what actually got me through that ninth run and that’s why I’d do it again.”

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Pisani is part of UR’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program and said he had always loved David Goggins. Pisani also likes to push himself, and while he runs a decent amount, it has been something that has stuck with him, he said.

“I kind of grew up kind of fat, never really in good shape,” Pisani said. “And since ROTC has kinda gotten me into better shape, I just want to push it and just try out something new and kinda push those limits.”

Pisani said the mental health component of the challenge was like the cherry on top. 

“It’s for a good cause and it makes it harder to quit when you’re kind of running for something that’s bigger than yourself,” Pisani said.  

Khoh said he started running during his conscription, as he is from Singapore and had to undergo two years of mandatory service. It was during that time that Khoh found his passion for running, he said. 

Khoh said the challenge was a perfect marriage of everything he is passionate about. 

“As someone who has struggled with their mental health as a child, in the past, I felt that me doing this challenge, something not only physically but mentally challenging would be me proving myself right in my goals,” Khoh said.

Khoh said he was confident the money was going to the right cause and helping many people just like him, in their struggles with mental health.

“To be honest,” Khoh said, “I just really wanted to not only prove myself right but to make that little kid in me proud. Because I know that little seven-year-old Tim who was going through it in elementary school, that got bullied, that came home crying every day, I know that if he saw the person that I am today, he would be happy, and that was one of my biggest motivations as well.”

In completing the challenge, the group of four raised over $480 for the JED Foundation. 

“I definitely want to do this again at one point,” Pisani said. “It was a great experience. As much as it sucked during the end, finishing that fourth mile, it felt great. But there are also other things that I see Goggins doing…I’d love to try out and see other ways to push my limits.”

Contact sports editor Jimmy James at jimmy.james@richmond.edu

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