The Goggins running challenge for Carty House

Leah Brockie and Carolyn Thompson at the finish line with fellow runners Sydney and Brendan, and Louise and Michelle from Carty House.
Brendan, Sydney, Leah and Carolyn after the 8 p.m. run in the Experimental Farm

By Carolyn Thompson
and Leah Brockie

Rain, shine, snow, or ice. Four miles, every four hours for 48 hours. That’s how we spent the first weekend in March.

The David Goggins 4x4x48 Challenge began on Friday March 4. Five of us – four women and one man – ran four miles (or 6.4 km) every four hours for 48 hours. Yes, you read that right. We began at 8 p.m., which means we ran at midnight, 4 a.m., 8 a.m., etc., for two days straight until the last leg at 4 p.m. Sunday. The 4x4x48 model was started by David Goggins, a former U.S. Navy SEAL turned fitness fanatic. He runs the event every year on the first weekend in March, along with thousands of people across the world.

While it was a fun, thrilling weekend of running, it was also a successful fundraising campaign for a local Ottawa non-profit, Carty House. Carty is a first home for female refugee claimants who come to Canada alone. It provides residents with referrals to educational and counselling support, language instruction, employment training, job-search programs and cultural-integration programs. Our goal was simple – run 48 miles and raise $4,800; in the end, we raised $5,729!

Forecasts leading up to the weekend didn’t look good. There were weather warnings for ice, snow and rain, but nothing was going to stop us.

At 8 p.m. Friday, the sidewalks were icy and wet. We wore light-up vests while running in the dark. The overnight runs presented another challenge – getting some sleep between them. The four women all stayed at a condo in Hintonburg; our male partner went home to his place in Centretown. Trouble is, running in the middle of the night gives you an unparalleled endorphin high that kicks in as your head touches the pillow. This sends you into spirals as you try to trick your brain into shutting down. It doesn’t always work – the hoped-for three hours of sleep between runs often turns into only one.

Food is another challenge, which we learned the hard way as our energy depleted. We stocked countless treats, including muffins, pasta, energy bars, bananas, peanut butter, candy, and cookies, and tried to eat after every run (even the 4 a.m. ones!) to reduce our caloric deficit.

Our daytime routes took us to the Experimental Farm. Sometimes, it was just our small, mighty running pack; sometimes, friends joined us. Between runs, we chatted with friends, stretched, watched movies or slept.

Despite all those weather warnings, the weather was mostly glorious, until Sunday morning when we woke up to slick sidewalks and roads that required some acrobatics and critical thinking to navigate. After running 76.8 kilometres in two days, it’s no surprise that we slept 12 hours on Sunday night!

During the previous few months, we had reached out to local Ottawa companies and organizations. Everyone was so supportive and welcoming. Dominion City Brewing Company supplied us with post-run drinks and even came to run a 6.4 km leg with us. Beyond the Pale, Strawberry Blond, Lululemon Westboro and Top of the World all sent donations to support our runners or Carty House. The Ottawa community is remarkable. The weekend showed us just how much this community shows up.

The whole weekend was sleepless and cold; it was mentally draining and took a toll on our bodies. But it taught us about resilience, and it reaffirmed our love of running and our trust in our bodies to take us to the end. Rest assured, our Goggins 4x4x48 team will be back in one year to do this all over again, to raise money for another deserving local organization. So lace up your shoes and get running because we want to do this with all of you next year!

To learn more about Carty House check out their website:

While our fundraising page is closed, you can learn more about the run and see our 2021 run video here:

Carolyn Thompson and Leah Brockie are two runners living in the Glebe and Hintonburg. They organized the Goggins Challenge for Carty House, modelled on the event started by David Goggins, a former U.S. Navy SEAL turned fitness fanatic. This involved running four miles every four hours, for 48 hours. You will find them running along the canal or the Ottawa River most days of the year!

Share this