Ultra-running is the process of running extreme distances, usually over trails, and, in the case of ultra-runner Mike Rouse, to raise money for charity.
On July 27, Rouse, 60, who lives in San Diego and who is one of the more popular and gregarious members of the large San Diego running community, will begin a 24-hour run to raise money and awareness for the Navy SEAL Foundation’s 31 Heroes Project. The project helps support the families of the 31 Americans who were killed in a Chinook shootdown in Afghanistan in August of 2011. It was a deadly attack that also took the life of Rouse’s dear friend J.T. Tumilson.
Like Rouse, Tumilson was a popular member of the San Diego running community before he moved to Virginia to join the elite SEAL Team 6, and his death sent shock waves through the tight-knit group.
Tumilson’s death also became emblematic of the sacrifices U.S. military members continue to make overseas, largely without any media coverage and out of the minds of most Americans, when a photo of his dog, Hawkeye, resting despondently next to Tumilson's casket during his funeral, went viral.
This is the second year Rouse will run for 24 hours—a feat that will open the Joggin’ for Frogmen 5K in San Diego this Sunday.
“To run for J.T. means that I am honoring a dear friend’s life of sacrifice, as well as the other 30 who died with him, and all of our military who risk their lives and sacrifice so much,” Rouse said.
Last year, the Joggin’ for Frogmen 5K and Rouse raised $58,000 for the charity, and they hope to raise $100,000 this year, he says.
To prepare, Rouse, who works full-time on his running and triathlon consulting business Ultra Endurance Sports, has been running 6- to 10-hour runs on Saturdays followed by a 20-miler on Sundays.
“You got to teach your body to run tired; that's the key,” he told GrindTV. “Obviously in 24 hours you're going to get tired, and you have to teach your body to keep moving forward.”
Rouse thinks he’s prepared, but you never know with a 24-hour run, he says.
“A million things can happen,” he continues.
All photos courtesy of Mike Rouse.