The Irish Goat: A Fat-Boy and His Path to Ultra Distance
Saturday, January 10
Four Divorces. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Addict. Obesity – And all before turning thirty-seven. This guy was really fast-tracking the proverbial downward spiral.
It didn’t start out that way. Chris was an honor student, soccer hopeful and generally considered himself a happy guy. Sure, he had the trying moments of any small, nerdy ginger in a smaller, southern town; but overall, life wasn’t bad. Then puberty, drug use and a resulting teenage pregnancy changed life’s course. The resulting direction was far from his projected path.
After a military discharge, his fourth failed marriage and enough alcohol, tobacco and amphetamines to bring a Titan to his knees… he began recovery. But religion and counseling weren’t enough to stay the demons. Food became therapy, and over one hundred pounds later, depression and obesity resulted from this surrogate obsession.
And then Chris ran. One autumn morning in 2009, he laced up his shoes and hit the pavement. The course was set. The life had changed. His path to ultra-marathon, healthy-living and addiction recovery had begun.
Chris ‘Irish Goat’ Knodel is a coach, trainer and ultra-runner in San Antonio, TX. He can be found leading the 9-10 minute/mile marathon pace group at R&R Fitness, or instructing high-intensity classes at Run Wild Sports downtown. He still has strong ties with his North Carolina ultra-marathon roots, like the Brick City Running Tribe (Sanford), Mangum Track Club (Ellerbe) and Tir na nOg Run Club (Raleigh). Chris still contributes a weekly fitness column to the Sanford Herald newspaper, and has already begun the initial research on a book compilation of San Antonio area runners.
Chris is often joined on the trails by his wife (newly moved to the ‘dark side’ of ultra-running). He can be easily spotted by his kilt, tattoos and six inch, flaming red, Van Dyke goatee.