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Dad takes on "gruelling" Navy Seal challenge for charity that helped son

Dad takes on

Saturday 28 January 2023

Dad takes on "gruelling" Navy Seal challenge for charity that helped son

Saturday 28 January 2023

A local dad and charity governor is bringing a legendary Navy Seal's challenge to run four miles... every four hours... for 48 hours to Jersey to raise £9,000 for a charity which has had a "life-changing" impact on his son.

James Barrett will be taking on the "gruelling" task in May in aid of Centrepoint's complex needs care facility, The Space, which his six-year-old son regularly attends.

James, who is a Centrepoint Governor, explained that he first heard about the '4x4x48 challenge' as part of a training regime outlined in the book ‘Living with a SEAL’.

"It sounds very achievable... but..."

James said: "The challenge appealed to me as, at times, it sounds very achievable. Four miles at a time isn't a daunting prospect but when factoring in lack of sleep and fatigue over two days, it becomes physically and mentally challenging.

"I think it is the mental challenge that most appealed to me most."


Pictured: James' son, Teddy, loves The Space at Centrepoint.

As an avid runner, James is enthusiastic about the impact the sport has on his mental wellbeing as well as physical fitness.

He has taken part in many local events including the Jersey Marathon, Round the Rock, and Double Top, but feels that the 4x4x48 challenge brings something different to the running calendar in the island.

"It will be a continual struggle to achieve enough sleep"

"Every other challenge I have done is a single continuous event and not stop-start," said James.

"The 48 mile total of the 4x4x48 challenge is comparable to Round the Rock, but I did that in around nine hours and could then recover.

"The 4x4x48 challenge lasts 48 hours where it will be a continual struggle to achieve enough sleep and ensure hydration and calorie intake are well controlled."

"Caring for children with additional. needs is a 24/7 job"

James believes that using the demanding 4x4x48 event to raise money for charity Centrepoint is particularly poignant, as it highlights how "caring for children with additional needs is a 24/7 job".

James explained how The Space - Centrepoint's specialised facility for children aged four to 11 with complex or additional needs - has been "life-changing" for his son Teddy and their family as a whole.


Pictured: James' three children - Amelie (3), Teddy (6) who uses The Space, and Elodie (5), who also attends Centrepoint's after school club. 

He said: "It offers the only after school and holiday care for these children and also respite care to allow parents to work, have more focused time on their other children, or just a bit of down time where they could even go for a run!"

"Fantastic opportunities"

James explained that The Space has provided Teddy with "fantastic opportunities", including trips to Jump Jersey and Samares Manor, as well as baking and cycling activities. 

The Space also gives James a chance to spend quality time with his two other young children, Elodie and Amelie.

He added: "It has also allowed us to prioritise activities for the girls and let them do things where Teddy may have objected, whilst knowing he is in a safe environment having a great time himself too."


Pictured: James said that The Space has been "life-changing for Teddy and our family as a whole".

The running enthusiast is keen to encourage more islanders to take part in the challenge alongside him, and raise as much money as possible to allow children like Teddy and their families to benefit from Centrepoint's support.

£9,000 target

"Currently, the States support The Space to operate for seven of the 14 weeks of schools holiday for these children - but the other seven weeks are completely unfunded," explained James.

The initial fundraising target for the challenge is £9,000, which would fund The Space to operate for one week during the school holidays, catering for up to 20 children with complex or additional needs.


Pictured: There are also easier versions of the challenge, including a relay option, to encourage runners of all levels to get involved.

However, James hopes to surpass this target as more people get involved, with The Space's annual running costs surpassing £55,000. 

"A small insight into what some families go through daily"

He offered some words of encouragement to those who may be hesitant about signing up.

"Whilst the challenge sounds gruelling, those 48 hours are just a small insight into what some of the families go through on a daily basis," James said.

"There will also be a party at Centrepoint following the final run to raise your spirits and share stories with the others who have been through the pain!

"Finally, there are also other challenges available which are a little less intense, but still difficult, such as 4x6x48, 4x8x48 and relay options."

James added: "I'd like to say thank you to all the great people that work at Centrepoint, in The Space as well as in every other area, for their great work in providing care and opportunities for the children of Jersey.

"In particular to Jane, whose vision in creating The Space so that no children would be left behind but instead have somewhere to go and have fun and make new friends, as this has been life changing for Teddy and our family as a whole.

"I feel as an island we need to keep moving forward in making these opportunities available to all our children."

James's challenge will be taking place from 19 to 21 May. Islanders are being invited to join in and can find out more about different iterations of it - including relay and junior options - here and sign up to take part in one of the challenges via Race Nation here.

Click HERE to sponsor James.

This article first appeared on Bailiwick Wellbeing, your exclusive weekly guide to keeping a healthy mind, body and soul in Jersey. Sign up for free here.

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