Looking for a New Year’s Resolution? A 4 x 4 x 48 challenge could be for you. This challenge sees participants run four miles (6.4K) every four hours for 48 hours, tests runners both physically and mentally, and it’s a favourite of American ultrarunner David Goggins. Organizers have set up a virtual “Goggins Challenge” that will double as a fundraiser for The Maddie Project, a charity in association with North York General Hospital that focuses on youth mental health. There is no entry fee for this event, although organizers encourage participants to raise at least $250 ahead of the run, which will start on March 5, 2021.
Toronto resident Michael Neale created The Maddie Project event, which he says “ties into COVID pretty well.” Mental health has always been a necessary topic of conversation, but quarantine and lockdowns have made it even more important in recent months as many people are struggling in these trying times. As for choosing the Goggins Challenge, Neale says it fit perfectly with a fundraiser for youth mental health.
“It’s more a mental challenge than a physical one,” he says. “Knowing you have to run 6.4K every four hours can get to you. That’s the idea — of being under mental stress.” Neale is an ultrarunner himself, and he said he has wanted to try the 4 x 4 x 48 for a while now. Instead of testing it out on his own, he decided to make it a community event that could raise money for a good cause. In total, he’s hoping to hit $12,000 for The Maddie Project. He says he’s hopeful that the 2021 event will be enough of a success to make it an annual challenge and fundraiser.
“It’s a very unique New Year’s challenge,” he says. “You can ask yourself the question: have you got your head in the right place for 2021?” The challenge isn’t until early March, but Neale says he wanted to give participants plenty of time to train for it. “Whoever wants to do this will need to plan ahead and work for it.”
Participants will be able to run their 6.4K legs wherever they please, whether that’s outside or indoors on the treadmill. As long as they complete each section — which adds up to 77K of running in two days — and can prove it on Strava or other tracking services, they’ll receive a certificate noting that they’ve finished the challenge.
“The overriding thing is it’s more of a mental than physical challenge,” Neale says. “The challenge will have this constant nagging that you have to go out again. This is all about mental health, and I want to show runners that even if you’re physically fit, you might not be as mentally fit as you think you are.”