17 going on 50

Hello Team Never Quit. I would like to start off by thanking you guys for everything you do, your podcasts inspire me to get after it every day. My name is Andy and I am 17 years old, that’s right 17 years old. I wasn’t born with any diseases, my family was never poor, and I never had a life-changing accident, but just because I was born into a comfortable life doesn’t mean I can’t have a Never Quit story.

It all started about 18 months ago when I found your podcast and was inspired to train for a Marathon. My Cross Country coach thought I was too young to do it and told me it was a bad idea, so of course I had to do it. So on May 3rd, at just 15 I ran my first Marathon. It was pretty hard, but I knew I could go further, so I started looking into doing ultramarathons. I decided that a 50k would be “too easy” so I decided that I would do a 50 Mile Ultra. Again I talked to my coach about it and again I was told not to do it, so I had to do it. I started training, and on December 19th I decided to do it. I didn’t actually do an official ultra, I just ran laps around my house. Around mile 29 I realized it was getting dark, I was hurting, and I was alone. I decided to do another 2 miles and then stop at mile 31 (or 50 kilometers, the distance I thought would be too easy), and at just 16, I had done my first ultramarathon.

My friends and family told me how awesome and crazy I was, but inside I was miserable, how could they not see, I thought, I had failed, no, even worse, I had quit. For the next few weeks I barely ran, I stopped listening to the podcast, and I kept wondering if I could have gone just 1 mile further. Then I decided to start listening to the podcast again. After just one episode I realized that I was being ridiculous, I had been knocked down, and I had a choice, to either stay where I was or to get back up again. I decided I would attempt to do 50 miles again, only this time I would do an official race so I wouldn’t be alone. After looking around, I decided I would do the Badger trail 50 mile ultramarathon in Belleville Wisconsin on August 1st. This time I trained harder than I had ever trained before, and whenever I felt like quitting I would listen to your podcast, remember why I was doing it, and push on. When the day finally came I was nervous but excited. I felt ok until about mile 30, then I started hurting bad. I wanted to quit, but I knew the pain of disappointing my family would be worse than the pain I was in now. I pushed on, and you know what, it actually got easier the further I went.

I eventually made it to mile 40, got some food and water, and started running again. At this point, I would like to thank my sister who ran the last 10 miles with me as my pacer. When I left that aid station I was dead last, but with her help, I ended up passing over 10 people. I crossed that finish line after running for over 10 hours and I was in a lot of pain, but after a long journey, I could finally rest. Running this race has been the greatest struggle in my life of 17 years but my story is not over. My plan is to go to BUDs and become a SEAL; I know I will encounter much harder obstacles than a 50 mile ultra on this path, but I now know that with the right people by my side, there is nothing I can’t do. Hooyah.

Author: Andy