“I had my own issues with drug addiction and alcoholism and … it took me to a pretty gnarly place,” Zac, 37, tells Life & Style on Thursday, April. 8. “For me, a huge part of this weekend [is] it’s just a gift. You know, it’s a gift to be able to go out there with 10 of my friends and rock this thing and hang out. It’s going to be an amazing experience.”
During the challenge, which kicks off at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 9, participants will run four miles every four hours for 48 hours in an effort to raise money and build awareness for the addiction and mental health crisis that our nation currently faces. The challenge will test runners both physically and mentally.
Zac, who got engaged to Tayshia Adams during season 16, founded Release Recovery, an addiction treatment center in New York, after his own struggle with addiction. “We’re a full-service recovery organization,” the New Jersey native explains about Release Recovery. “So, we provide transitional living, sober coaching, case management. We do interventions.”
His personal journey led him to participate in the Goggins Challenge, named in honor of American ultra-runner David Goggins.
“It’s important to show people that it just starts by saying, ‘Yes,’” continues the season 16 contestant. “All I did with this thing is I said, ‘Yes, I’m going to show up. I’m going to finish. If I have to crawl, I’m going to. I’m going to get the thing done. And I’m going to make memories that are going to last a lifetime.’”
He adds, “Hopefully, I’m able to show someone who might be in similar shoes as I was 10 years ago that it’s possible to kind of turn your life around. It’s possible to have a positive impact on the world. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do this weekend. So, it’s going to be a party.”
Ways to get involved in the Goggins Challenge include donating to the Release Recovery Foundation and sharing and “liking” social media content from the weekend. If you’re based in NYC, people are also invited to join Zac and the rest of the participants for one or more of the four-mile “legs” of the run. They will depart every 4 hours from the Equinox hotel in Hudson Yards.