Former drug addict finds love for running; competing in upcoming California race

Posted at 6:36 AM, Aug 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-10 09:36:26-04

You can really say that Michael Murtaugh enjoys getting in a few miles.

"Runner's high is still legal in all 50 states," says Michael. "I can't get arrested and I don't lose my job and I love it."

He has run all over the United States, but rewind to his childhood and there was a much different high Michael was after. At just 11-years-old,  Michael started drinking and smoking pot.

"I remember that specifically; ducking down like there's no tomorrow," he said.

And from there Michael started doing cocaine and meth — not even realizing his life was getting out of control.

"No, because I enjoyed it," Michael said.  "I used to think I'd smoke pot until I died." 

It wasn't until Michael was 45 years old that he realized he needed a life without alcohol and drugs.

He started to get sober and deal with childhood issues like abandonment and abuse.

"I believe I probably did it for attention," Michael explained. "I probably did it to mask that pain that I didn't ever know I had. I didn't know what molesting did to me."  

This week Michael will swim from Alcatraz to shore then run to the Golden Gate Bridge in California. 

By his side, Charlie Webb, a lifelong friend who is paraplegic after a motorcycle crash. The two met in California and Charlie actually took Michael in at one of his lowest points. They used to do drugs together; things are a lot different now for both men.

While Michael swims, Charlie will paddleboard. And as Michael runs, Charlie will roll right along. The race might sound long and grueling, but this is nothing compared to race in life these two have already won.

"I'm going to do everything I wanted to be," Michael said. "Everything - unless I die and he takes me. So those dreams are out there and you need to go do them. But you just got do to the work."

The money Michael raises from the race will be donated to Calvary Healing Center, the organization that helped Michael get his life back.