It’s always been his favorite pastime, but during the last three years running has been the way that Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathaniel Dirvin pays it forward—raising money for Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) through his races.
Admittedly, having gone through challenging times himself, Dirvin said he learned about CGMA during basic training in 2021 when he enlisted as a reservist and “it just hit home.” Also being a middle school guidance counselor, Dirvin has additional insight into where some families need help, and he wants to assist “people with what they are going through.”
Since Dirvin began fund raising in 2021 after basic training, he has raised close to $3,000 toward his goal of $10,000. “I figured every time I run a race I would post about the event to raise awareness, utilizing social media to promote CGMA.”
At the time of this interview, Dirvin recently completed a 100-mile race in Arizona made of five, 20-mile loops through the dessert. Before that he finished a 240-mile race and says he probably wasn’t fully recovered but, he “was able to mentally push through.”
In fact, that is the ultimate message he wants to share with the Coast Guard workforce, “You can overcome most challenges,” Dirvin said. “It doesn’t have to be running, but whatever your passion is, there will inevitably be highs and lows and you can overcome them.”
No stranger to competition, Dirvin did cross training and was a rower at Temple University. He was also an ocean lifeguard in Wildwood, New Jersey where he attained his Open Water Rescue Certification to do rescues during the crowded beach days, as well as, after-hours. He later enlisted in the Coast Guard in March 2021 as a reservist. Most recently, he served at the Sector Field Office in Atlantic City, New Jersey on temporary active duty through the end of the year as an electrician’s mate in Cape May, New Jersey.
Dirvin pushed himself harder after first joining the Coast Guard. In the last two years he ran a few ultra marathons, various endurance events and even the Bigfoot 200, which is a run of 200 miles around Mount St. Helens and through the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. He also ran more than 200 miles through the Black Hills of South Dakota and around Mount Rushmore, and 250 miles from Prescott to Flagstaff, Arizona—to name a few events.
When Dirvin meets other runners along his travels, he gives them the same sage advice he follows, “Use this opportunity to raise money for something you believe in.”
Dirvin actively advocates for his cause through running. He did a podcast interview this past fall promoting the work he is doing to benefit CGMA: Running Times: Limitless with Nate Dirvin. Also, for 2022, he earned the award of “Most Hours Spent Racing on Road and Trail” from UltraSignup while promoting CGMA.
Ultimately, Dirvin says part of his journey is about setting an example and being a role model to his son Parker, and others. “It's all about a hard work ethic and being devoted to your goals,” he said. “I learned the value of compassion as a great trait to have as a Coastie from one of my company commander's during training. My overall goal is to inspire others, whether I do that financially, through advice, or coaching them in life.”
Dirvin added, “I also always try to have fun because if you’re not having fun and enjoying what you're doing—what’s the point?”
To learn more information or to contribute to Dirvin’s CGMA fund, visit here.