Patrick Howley is fundraising for State of Mind Sport

During the recent pandemic and lockdown I, like millions of others have had time to reflect on my life and the lives of close family and friends and others who might not be so close but have found the challenge really tough.

Whether it be worries about employment, vulnerable family members or the state of their mind l thought I would try and use the time to do something to help others whilst also keeping my own mind fit and healthy.

I read about a number of rugby players who have completed the David Goggins 4 x 4 x 48 challenge and thought that would challenge my mental and physical strength.

What is the 4/4/48 running challenge?

As briefly mentioned above the 4/4/48 running challenge requires you to run 4 miles, every 4 hours, for 48 hours. I first learned of the challenge when David Goggins, a tough ex-Navy Seal, made billionaire Jesse Itzler do it in the book ‘Living With A Seal‘. Out of the many workouts in the book, Jesse Itzler describes this one as the hardest.

Why is the 4/4/48 running challenge difficult?

At first, the idea of running 4 miles, every 4 hours, across 48 hours seems easy. For those who run regularly, 4 miles isn’t a huge distance. However, the number of times 4 miles is required across a 48-hour span quickly begins to seem like torture as those undertaking the challenge clock up almost 50 miles. That’s nearly 2 whole marathons in 2 days.

One reason some find this challenge difficult and refuse to undertake it is the frequency required. Because you have to run 4 miles every 4 hours, it means you can’t get quality sleep. Sure, you might get a decent 2 and a half hours in but alarm bells will soon awaken you from a peaceful slumber and you will need to do your 4 miles. Sounds like hell to a lot of people.

It’s also difficult because you’re the constant running will have its wear and tear on your legs. Your muscles will start to feel sorer and sorer as the challenge draws on, and each run becomes harder to start and maintain than the last. It’s a sheer test of mental strength and personal will. Like Rocky once said ‘it ain’t about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.’

Once I had decided to do it a couple of weeks ago I thought it would be a good idea to try and help others by raising some money for the state of mind charity. A friend of mine made a big impact on me and my work colleagues a couple of years ago, he is an inspiration, always smiling despite his condition and changes people’s lives through his work for #State of Mind, his name is Jimmy Gittings.

Despite retiring from the game some 20 years ago its still close to my heart, so too are many of the great and inspiring people that I came across whilst playing the game. At the recent funeral of an old coach of mine, Jack Addy, I was reminded of the friends who are always there for you in rugby league, you just have to reach out sometimes if you need them or recognise when your friends past or present need you, the one thing about the rugby league family is that they are always there.

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