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David Clark: When An Audacious Goal Becomes An Obsessive Addiction

By May 21, 2017January 25th, 2024No Comments

“I was not unhealthy. I was broken.”

David Clark   

Goals are great. Audacious goals? Even better.

But what happens when that quest to touch the outermost edge of your capabilities tips into maddening obsession?

David Clark has been there. And this week he returns to the podcast to tell us all about it.

Longtime listeners will remember well our first conversation — one of my most popular episodes to date — in which David vividly recalled his extraordinary journey from morbidly obese, full-blown alcoholic into sober, vegan, ultra-running warrior.

Not too long ago, David tipped the scales at 320 pounds. Fueled on a steady, death-defying diet of booze, pills and fast food, he was a man hell-bent on wrecking havoc, destruction and woe in the lives of loved ones and anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path,

He wasn’t just unhealthy. He was broken.


Ultimately Dave met his breaking point. Understanding that if he didn’t change he would surely die, he summoned the will to finally face and overcome his demons, transform his life wholesale and ultimately accomplish feats most sane people would deem impossible.

As told in his memoir Out There*, David didn’t just drop 150 pounds on a plant-based diet. He didn’t just complete a half-marathon. He didn’t just complete a marathon. And he didn’t just finish the Badwater 135, but went on to crush an impressive list of ultra-marathons, including a run across the entire United States (along with podcast fave Charlie Engle) and the Quad Boston, in which he ran the Boston marathon course four times without stopping.

Along the way, he repaired his broken self, emerging healthy.

Mission accomplished. Or so he thought.

No matter how far David continued to push the envelope, a void nonetheless remained. A hole in his soul he simply could not fill. So he continued to push, convinced that the answer he sought would surely be found in going further. Farther. Longer. Harder.

What had begun as a laudable journey to wholeness had fractured, leading him away from the light — and into darkness.

And yet once again, David found his way out.

This is a conversation about that journey.

It’s about what happens when goals devolve into addictions — an escape from what is most real and important.

It’s about the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, and the impact of those stories on our beliefs.

And it’s about constant, continual fidelity to growth and re-invention.

I sincerely hope you enjoy this powerful, contemplative exchange with the inspiring David Clark.

Peace + Plants,


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Thanks to this week’s sponsors:

Note: One of the best ways to support the podcast is to support the sponsors. For a complete list of all RRP sponsors and their respective vanity url’s and discount codes, visit my Resources page and click “Sponsors”.

Notable People Discussed

  • Pete Thomas: Author, trainer, motivational speaker and “The Biggest Loser” Season 2 Winner
  • Ryan Benson: Season 1 contestant and winner of “The Biggest Loser”
  • The Sud Brothers: Adam Sud & Robert Sud: Twin brother film makers and whole food, plant-based advocates
  • The Diaz Brothers: Professional Mixed Martial Arts UFC (plant-based) fighters
  • Pat Miletich: Five time UFC Champion, Trainer and inventor of the Militech MMA fighting style

 Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy

Thanks to Jason Camiolo for production, audio engineering, show notes and interstitial music; Shawn Patterson for graphics. Theme music by Ana Leimma.

*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.


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