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“My goal was to finish,” he said. “No matter how bad my feet got, if I didn’t have a biomechanical or major dehydration issue, I would finish.” The Internet is awash in training regimens for the MdS, but, astonishingly, Grossman didn’t do any research or set a schedule. He’d run until he got tired — although that usually didn’t happen until he’d covered eight straight hours through the desolate, rugged territory of Central Oregon. He also did yoga, tae bo and lifted weights. He didn’t diet or count calories, but he did give up burgers, fries, chips and beer. Most of his time went into researching gear and footwear. “He’s very disciplined, very committed,” said Grossman’s running partner, Eric Plantenberg, who has climbed Mt. Everest and plans to run the MdS someday. “I’ve never heard of anyone training for an endurance race like that, but what I love about it is it fits Brian’s personality. He’s bucking conventional wisdom and he gets great results.”

“I want to live an inspired life, and that means inspiring others with what you do.”

Brian Grossman, top, during the Marathon des Sables. Bottom: Grossman’s shoes and gear that got him through the Sahara Desert.

On April 5, Grossman found himself at the start of the race in Morocco, confident he’d done everything he could to prepare. He had the right recovery drink, good shoes and a light pack. All he had to do was ignore the signals that his body, running in extreme heat over sand and scree, would send to his brain: that he was dying and had to stop. Running the MdS is actually a misnomer; most MdS participants power-walk large sections of it. At night Grossman slept in military-style tents that race organizers provided; during the day he ate oatmeal, protein bars, nuts, beef jerky and ginger. Dinner consisted of expedition-style meals of beef stroganoff and chili con carne. At rest stations, he regularly changed his wet socks to dry ones because he was worried about blisters hobbling him. Grossman ran through rain and a sandstorm. He thought about his family. About eating and drinking. How painful his feet felt. And if he’d get through the race or drop out. He finished, of course, and spent two weeks recovering. He lost 32 pounds and raised $58,000 for Kids in the Game. After an initial bout of gloom — what do you do to follow up running the most difficult race in the world? — Grossman decided he wants to do more for the world. But he’s not sure what. “I want to live an inspired life, and that means inspiring others with what you do,” he said. “When you’re in your late 80s, sitting on a park bench and looking back on your life, it won’t matter the mistakes you made or how good a lawyer you were. What I don’t want to have is regrets over the things I could have done.” To donate to Kids in the Game, visit the organization’s website:

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Willamette Lawyer | Fall 2012 Vol. XII, No. 2  
Willamette Lawyer | Fall 2012 Vol. XII, No. 2  

Last fall, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced he would no longer carry out executions, saying that Oregonians need to have a statewide con...