When I recently ran the Georgia Jewel 35-miler (37ish miles in this COVID altered addition), I had no idea I was sharing the trail with a former Georgia Bulldog offensive lineman. Only Watts Dantzler was tackling a much longer race that day than I was.
After interviewing Watts Dantzler, I told him he might be the unlikeliest ultra marathoner I've ever encountered. Just a few years removed from being a 6'8" 350 pound athlete battling in the trenches at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia - Watts Dantzler was returning to his Dalton, Georgia home to tackle the first 100 mile race of his life.
In this interview Watts and I talk about his journey running from the grief of losing his dad - his hero - when he was a high school sophomore. We talk about his journey running from the identity of "football star." We talk about how running from demons in life put him on a path back to God and in pursuit of conquering the 100-mile Georgia Jewel.
Watts says, "I really had to change my entire lifestyle. I needed to get away from identifying as a football player and that is really hard to do. I had really built my credentials on that. Always being introduced as a former lineman for the University of Georgia. I didn't want that to be the only image people had of me."
Change his life he did.
I hope you enjoy this conversation exploring this incredible journey.