Isaiah Stofferahn’s 10 million+ followers know that he’s up for almost any kind of challenge. Lately he’s been focusing on running, whether that’s racing a marathon in Crocs or taking on his DoorDash driver in a head-to-head competition. What they didn’t know until recently was the story behind his drive to accomplish crazy goals and to have fun doing it.

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Isaiah already had a huge YouTube audience when he began posting running content on his Instagram late last year. “My YouTube content has revolved a lot around physical challenges, and they range from running to trying to climb Everest on a StairMaster to tons of other different types of things. Running is one that has sort of become an obsession and so we’ve done a lot of running videos, but we’ll attack any challenge if we think it’s a good idea for the YouTube channel.

“But I think the most relevant version of Isaiah right now is the guy that runs and sometimes incorporates silly challenges into the running space, which I think up till recently maybe would have been frowned upon amongst the running community. But running being as popular as it is right now, it seems that people find it to be at least entertaining, if nothing else. I like to challenge myself in any capacity that I can, and I find that running is such a fantastic personal challenge in a daily capacity but also long term, and I love that aspect of running. So that all put together, I just like to challenge myself and be the best version of myself every day.”

Taking on challenges comes naturally to him. “I was definitely the kid that was always getting hurt,  like my parents were constantly having to take me to the hospital to deal with something, getting stitches frequently, more so than my brothers.”

When he was 16 though, his daredevil nature resulted in much more than a few stitches. He went snowboarding with his brothers and some friends to race on a hill they’d never attempted before. “I caught an edge on my snowboard and essentially shot into the woods and my snowboard caught a tree, sort of wrapped me around the tree. And then I sort of came around and hit the tree with my head. I don’t have any memory of this, but I was traveling fast enough to fracture my skull. So I was on the mountain, going in and out of consciousness, and basically dying.

“The ski patrol came and got me and they took me to the local hospital to find that I had fractured my skull and there was brain bleeding going on. What happens is, your brain starts to swell and your skull just kind of suffocates your brain in that moment. They needed to actually break my head open more in order to alleviate some of that pressure, and they were not capable of doing it at that hospital.”

He was airlifted to another hospital and miraculously, the scans they took revealed that the bleeding had stopped. He didn’t require surgery, but he was in a coma for three days. “The doctors told my parents, ‘We don’t know what Isaiah is going to be like when he comes to. Don’t expect anything because he may have lost function to certain things. He maybe doesn’t remember you; he doesn’t remember family members, those kinds of things. We just don’t know.’ 

“I was fortunate enough to not have any of those things happen to me, but it really wrecked my high school. I couldn’t do sports. I couldn’t even watch movies for like six months because the stimulation was too much. It just kind of threw my world upside down. I was a pretty active teenager, and now I’m bedridden, kind of had to crawl around different places. It just was really shocking to somebody at that age. 

“The way that I thought of it was like, ‘This is a bummer. I’m not going to be able to do the things I want to do.’ And I think that really only was that way for about a year or two, until I kind of was like, ‘Wait, why would it stop me?’  There are these things I want to do. I want to go skydiving. I want to cliff jump. I want to do all these crazy things that I wanna do. And if I don’t have somebody there holding my hand, telling me, ‘Don’t do this,’ then I’m just gonna do it. So I don’t know if it necessarily became a catalyst to do the thing that I want to do, but it definitely didn’t hold me back, whether it be for good or bad.” 

Although Isaiah had shared many challenges with his followers, he had never told the story of his accident. “I think up until this point, I didn’t think that it was that big of a deal. I didn’t want it to be a big deal when I was that age, because I felt like it reminded me that I can’t do some things. But I think in a big way, it’s turned into this is the reason you should do some things, because life is short and something bad could happen. And I don’t want to look back on my life and go, ‘I wish I had done this or that.’

“I don’t want to wait until I’m 40 or 50 and be like, ‘Man, I wish that I had done more in my 20s and 30s and 40s’ and even up to this point. So I think the biggest takeaway was you gotta keep trying no matter how hard it is, and you gotta keep pushing yourself because yeah, life is short and some random freak accident could happen. And I would hate to look back and go like, ‘Man, if I had only just pushed myself and actually tried those things.’

He also wants to enjoy what he’s doing and hopes that by sharing his videos, he’s encouraging others to do the same. He’d been posting content for a couple of years when his mother asked him what it was that he was trying to do with YouTube. “I remember telling her, ‘All I want to do, Mom, is make videos and have fun with my friends.’ And it was the most immature thing I could have said, but it was the truth. I was like, ‘This is what I want to do.’

“I see myself mostly as an entertainer, especially within running. All the videos are supposed to be funny. The challenges are ridiculous. I just ran a marathon in Crocs in San Diego. The average runner is like, ‘What are you doing? This is stupid.’ The runners that are serious are like, ‘This guy’s an idiot.’ You’re not going to please everybody. That’s just true of anything in life. But I think if I can make something that people find enjoyable to watch, but also hopefully helps inspire them a bit, then I’ve done exactly what I want to do.”


Isaiah’s YouTube

Isaiah’s Instagram

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