WAY TO HAPPINESS AMBASSADOR RUNS WORLD’S TOUGHEST RACE FOR THE 15TH TIME
Way to Happiness Ambassador John Radich just embarked on the world’s toughest race—a nonstop 135 miles over 48 hours and up 14,600 feet—for the 15th time.
The equivalent of five consecutive marathons, the invitation-only Badwater Race launches every year in Death Valley, which boasts a blistering world record: the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth.
Though Radich, 62, has run more than 100 ultramarathons since the ‘70s, he says: “This race doesn’t care… how strong you are. It will test your mind and body to the limit and it will try to break you.”
What keeps Radich going through the grueling heat, the rattlesnakes and the sleep deprivation—in fact, the reason he runs in the first place—is The Way to Happiness.
“It breaks my heart to see kids involved with drugs, crime and broken families. They are our future,” he says. “They deserve to survive and make it in the world.”
That is why Radich has championed the 21 precepts for 30 years.
It all began when Radich was 16, and the slowest kid on his high school’s cross-country team. He was fortunate, though, to have a coach who believed in him, and in whom he confided his dream to run across the full breadth of America someday.
“Johnny, if you do this, and I hope you do,” his coach told him, “don’t just do it for John Radich. Do it for a cause.”
Those words stuck with him, and define his life today.
“I feel what’s been bestowed upon me as an ultramarathon runner is a gift, and I consider it an honor to be able to do good with this sport, to make the world a better place,” he says.
Radich fulfilled his dream in 2010, traversing North America on (running) foot over the course of four and a half months.
As you might imagine, he collected some stories on the 2,771-mile journey, which he made pushing a baby jogger full of The Way to Happiness booklets.
“I feel what’s been bestowed upon me as an ultramarathon runner is a gift, and I consider it an honor to be able to do good with this sport, to make the world a better place.”
For example, Radich lost count (after 15) of the number of times he was pulled over by a cop who’d received a call about the crazy man running with a baby along the highway. (Each policeman he would reassure, and present with a copy of The Way to Happiness.)Radich spread word of the 21 precepts in every town and state he passed through. Some who saw him running would even greet him by name and congratulate him for his work, having seen him on the news.
He tells of passing through several high-crime neighborhoods unscathed, neighborhoods like Camden, New Jersey, about which people for miles had warned him.
And what was he met with in Camden? A barber stepping out onto the street to offer Radich a free haircut and asking for booklets to place on his counter. People were offering him Gatorade and cookies, dangerous stuff like that.
“I’ll never forget how some people would warn me ‘be careful, it’s dangerous,’” says Radich. “My solution, my weapon was The Way to Happiness, which is about brotherhood. The power of having a purpose such as that—it really kept me safe out there, and I saw the goodness of people, which was life-changing.”
The Way to Happiness Foundation International works to reverse the moral decay of society by restoring trust and honesty through widespread distribution of the 21 precepts. Donations support production and distribution of The Way to Happiness booklet and curriculum material.