Running 26.2 miles is a daunting task — but Rob Riggle is up for the challenge.
The comedian is ready to pound the pavement on Sunday during the Bank of America Chicago Marathon to raise money for Salute, Inc., a charity that provides funds for military veterans and their families as they readjust to civilian life.
A former Marine himself, Riggle served for 23 years with deployments to Liberia, Kosovo and Afghanistan before retiring in 2013 as a lieutenant colonel.
“Whenever I’m given a chance to support veterans’ initiatives I try to do that. Children and veterans — if they’re involved, you can pretty much count me in,” Riggle tells PEOPLE. “Salute, Inc. is based in Chicago, and I thought that it was a natural fit.”
This will be his second marathon; he ran the New York City Marathon in 2002.
“I had literally just come back from Afghanistan, so I didn’t have much time to train for it,” Riggle explains. “I wasn’t what I would call totally prepped, but I was living in New York at the time, and I always wanted to do it.”
On his decision to tackle Chicago: “I thought New York was great, and it had been a long time since I had done something like this. I’ve been trying to get in shape. Plus, I heard great things about the marathon itself — of all the marathons to do, people speak very highly of the Chicago Marathon.”
Riggle is prepping for the race with long runs, as well as swimming and biking. But he has yet to experience any comedic aspects of endurance training.
“I wish there was something funny about it! It’s too painful!” he says. “Nothing’s happened, really, I’ve just been training.”
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Riggle did pull a leg muscle, but he’s hoping it will be back to normal by Sunday so he can reach his goal.
“If my leg holds up, I’d like to finish in close to five hours,” he says. “If my leg doesn’t hold up, I’d like to finish any way I can.”
And if the going does get tough, he may pull out some motivating tunes.