5 Amazing Runners Including Meb Keflezighi Who Overcame Incredible Obstacles – Stories Shared by Bob Babbitt

Amazing Runners Incredible Obstacles

To title this episode “Obstacle Runners” would not just be misleading, but also a negligent understatement. Sometimes we think we have it tough because we’re training in bad weather, or we have a calf strain or maybe even a stress fracture. This episode will not only recalibrate our perspective on challenges we face as runners, but inspire us as we face the challenges of life.

Never a Bad Day

On this episode, we meet Bob Babbitt long time runner and triathlete, co-founder of Competitor Magazine, creator of the Muddy Buddy Ride and Run Series and wonderful storyteller, too. His book, Never A Bad Day, is a collection of favorite editorials he wrote for Competitor Magazine from 1987 through 2010.

Horrifying Disasters, Amazing Recoveries

Today we learn about 5 outstanding athletes, interviewed by Bob, who have overcome horrifying disasters, danger, and difficulties to continue as runners and competitors. You’ll be hearing about Meb Keflezighi, possibly America’s greatest marathoner of all time and his epic story originating in fleeing with his family from Africa; you’ll hear about endurance runner Johan Otter who was attacked by a grizzly bear, Danelle Ballengee who fell 60 feet into a canyon and survived for 56 hours and was rescued by her rescue dog(!); Jim Knaub, 5 time Boston Marathon Champion, and Scout Bassett, setting her sights on the US Paralympic team, hoping to medal in 2020 in Tokyo!

Heartwarming and Inspiring

The stories of each of these athletes are heartwarming and inspiring. The challenges that they have overcome will warm your heart and make you ask the question “how did they do it?” The way Bob describes each of them will definitely encourage you to try a little harder on your next race or training run.

Bob himself has completed 50 marathons and six Ironman World Championships and raced about 30 times in 2018. Most of his running events these days are often in an Elvis outfit. The man clearly adores racing and endurance sports. His love for life exudes from his every word and every action and certainly fits the title of his most recent book “Never a Bad Day”.

Questions Bob is asked:

4:40 First Four:

  1. How old are you?
  2. Where were you born?
  3. Where do you live now?
  4. What is your favorite race distance or type of race?

5:42 Why did you choose to focus on endurance sports?

7:08 How did you make a career out of endurance sports while having fun with it, too?

9:16 What can you tell us about Danelle Ballengee’s story?

13:26 And what about Scout Bassett?

17:50 What is Jim Knaub’s story?

21:15 How about Johan Otter?

23:47 Why do these amazing stories continue to inspire?

24:54 And what about Meb Keflezighi?

31:19 How have you been helping disabled athletes begin or continue in sport?

35:15 What happened with the Elvis (Presley) suit?

43:01 Any final thoughts?

44: 02 Final Kick Round:

  1. What is your favorite local training run or outing (location, starting point, parking, distance, terrain and safety issues)?
  2. Favorite running or health related book(s)?
  3. Words of Wisdom or Humor?
  4. Who or what would you like to have featured on the Run To The Top podcast?

Quotes by Bob:

“To look at (all these stories that are) continuing today… it’s not like one sentence, ‘this person overcame losing their leg and ran a marathon.’, it’s ‘They’ve changed their life through sport and they continue to change their life through sport.’.”

“Just seeing where Scout came from when people talk about, ‘Oh, you know, I’ve had some problems in my life…’, they have no idea until you meet someone like Scout who has overcome the biggest of odds to become… a one-named athlete, like Pele…”

“(Jim Knaub) knew from the point where he was hit that his life had a bigger purpose. And Jimmy came back from that to become this great wheelchair racer, but people forget that back in those days the wheelchairs people were racing in were like 4-wheeled grocery carts.”

“The main thing that always resonated for me when I was writing stories for the magazine was I wanted things that people could relate to, and overcoming obstacles is something that’s universal.”

“Frank Shorter’s win in 1972 probably created the running boom, but Meb’s win in 2014 in Boston is probably the greatest win in the history of American Marathoning.”

Take a Listen on Your Next Run

Want more awesome interviews and advice?
Subscribe to our iTunes channel

Mentioned in this podcast:

Run To The Top Winners Circle Facebook Community

RunnersConnect Facebook page


RunnersConnect 2019 Running Retreats

Book: Never A Bad Day by Bob Babbitt

Babbittville Homepage

Bob’s story on Danelle Ballangee

Scout Bassett

Jim Knaub

Johan Otter

Meb’s 2014 Boston Marathon Win

Challenged Athletes Foundation

(Picture) Elvis leads inaugural San Diego Rock ‘N” Roll Marathon

Rancho Santa Fe golf course running trail

Book: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Muddy Buddy Races

Marcus Cook’s Journey to IRONMAN

email Bob

We really hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Run to the Top.

The best way you can show your support of the show is to share this podcast with your family and friends and share it on your Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media channel you use.

If more people who know about the podcast and download the episodes, it means I can reach out to and get through to the top running influencers, to bring them on and share their advice, which hopefully makes the show even more enjoyable for you!

Thank you to our sponsors for supporting Run to the Top


Don’t let knee pain keep you from completing your long runs, or worse, sideline you altogether.

An innovative new product called NuNee can help. NuNee is designed specifically to relieve that dreaded Runner’s Knee pain. Let NuNee help you get back to running without knee pain.

Available today at NuNeeShop.com.  Use  code  RC20  for  a  20%  discount. 

Have a running friend who would love this? Share it...

Connect with Jeff Gaudette on Google+

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Adding new comments is only available for RunnersConnect Insider members.

Already a member? Login here Want to become an Insider for free?.Register here