Billy Dewalt: Why Do I Run?

William (Billy) DeWalt is a current Military and Veterans Resource Coalition Board Member. One of his most recent contributions to our organization is his dedication to running for veterans. Billy is raising money through an online platform to support military and families while he runs throughout the year. To learn more visit Run4RaleighVets. 

Why Do I Run?

It was the end of 2013 and in its wake was destruction and despair. I was on the healing end of 2 major back surgeries that culminated with an XLIF fusion at L4 and 5. My marriage of a decade was over and as a result I looked into the proverbial rabbit hole and attempted to end my own life. I went through the counseling program while taking a handful of medications every day that more or less made me into a zombie that was less than fun to be around. Looking into my son’s eyes I knew something had to change. I was in a new place, life had ample solitude, and there was a new world in front of me. One of my neighbors, who at the time was healing from a microdissectomy, asked me if I liked to run. I considered this question and thought back to my days serving in the Army and I did like to run so why not now?

I started back to running with Joggernaut run club almost literally dying at a 16 minute mile. I wasn’t happy at all with this knowing in the Army I frequently ran a sub 12 minute 2 mile for my PT Test. I kept working at the run, eating right, and strength training and this year I have gotten a 5k PR at 24:XX and a half marathon PR at 1:59:XX. I run for my health both physically and mentally. I noticed that working out as much as I do was the equivalent of taking all the medications that were prescribed to me, so I stopped taking them against my physicians orders. He won’t admit that I was right, but he has noticed the changes in me as well as all my friends. Today I run a hundred or more miles a month and hit my crossfit gym (Red Dog Crossfit, wake Forest) as often as I can. This year is a year of goals and positive changes. November 5-6th, 2016 I will be competing in the Working Wounded Games hosted in College Park, Maryland. I know I have had friends come up to me and tell me that because of what I am doing it gave them the courage to make changes as well. Then I look at my son who is now running and racing in local 5 K’s and doing crossfit and know that I can’t quit now because you never know who is watching or who you are motivating.


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