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Dad completes "gruelling" Navy Seal challenge for charity that helped son

Dad completes

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Dad completes "gruelling" Navy Seal challenge for charity that helped son

Tuesday 23 May 2023


A local dad and charity governor has completed a legendary Navy Seal's challenge to run four miles... every four hours... for 48 hours – in aid of a charity which has had a "life-changing" impact on his son.

James Barrett completed the "gruelling" task over the weekend 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 David Goggins' '4x4x48 challenge' as part of a training regime outlined in the book ‘Living with a SEAL’.

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

As an avid runner, James has taken part in many local events including the Jersey Marathon, Round the Rock, and Double Top, but explained that the "mental challenge" of the 4x4x48 challenge appealed to him as it brings something completely different to Jersey's running calendar.

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

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

The father-of-three 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.

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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 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."

The challenge

The 4x4x48 challenge involves running four miles, every four hours, over a 48 hour time period.

After completing twelfth and final run of the challenge on Sunday afternoon, James said that it went "really well".

Eight other runners, including Centrepoint CEO Jane Moy, braved the full 4x4x48 challenge alongside James, whilst around 20 members of Centrepoint staff took on the relay version of the challenge. 

Friends and family members joined the challengers at various points along the way for encouragement.

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Pictured: The nine runners who took on the full 4x4x48 challenge.

James explained that the first four-mile leg took place at 18:00 on Friday evening.

For the next three legs – at 22:00 on Friday night, and at 02:00 and 06:00 on Saturday morning  James and some of the other runners based themselves at St Ouen’s Scout Centre and ran along the five mile road.

On Saturday, in between runs, James spent time with his family before heading back to the Scout Centre in the evening for the three nighttime runs.

He explained that the final run on Sunday afternoon took place at Centrepoint, followed by "refreshments and sharing of experiences between all the challengers".

"The biggest hurdle in the challenge was mentality"

Reflecting on the challenge, James said: "Rather than the challenge itself, it was my fellow challengers that surprised me most."

He explained: "Whilst there were some seasoned ultramarathon runners taking part, we also had people that hadn’t run over half marathon distance beforehand but all completed the challenge going through similar highs and lows.

"This emphasized to me that the biggest hurdle in the challenge was mentality and physical fitness was secondary.

"The challenge after all is not about how quick you complete each leg but rather challenging the limits that we have put on ourselves and getting through the barriers we thought would make 4x4x48 impossible to achieve."

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Pictured: Some of the challengers based themselves at the Scout Hut over the weekend.

James explained that the nine runners who took on the full 4x4x48 challenge had a group chat, where they all "posted their runs and helped raise people’s spirits when they inevitably hit their low points".

James said: "I also found just spending time with family through the day helped distract my mind from the next run and reinforced to me why I had originally decided to put the challenge on."

"Organisation is key"

Despite his positivity, James admitted that he found the nutrition aspect of the challenge the hardest.

He explained: "The short turn around between one run ending and the next starting meant I had to try and refuel quickly, which I failed to do well enough and found that I was very calorie deficient and relying on sugar to get me through the weekend."

For those who might be inspired to take on a similar challenge, James revealed his top tips.

"Organisation is key," he said. "Have as much planned as possible before: routes you are going to run, nutrition and support from family and friends to assist especially at those low points.

"I also would advise to have something to take your mind off the challenge between runs, as the mental fatigue of the challenge is probably more taxing than the physical."

A "brilliant effort from all involved"

James and the other runners have so far raised £7,500 of their £9,000 target, which he describes as a "brilliant effort from all involved".

He said: "We are so grateful to each and every individual sponsor. I hope it has also helped raise awareness of Centrepoint and The Space unit to the wider community as the only provider of full time after school and holiday club for children with disabilities and complex needs."

James admitted that it is "hard to put into words" what the challenge meant to him on a personal level as a Centrepoint governor and the father of children who access the charity's facilities.

He explained: "The level of support and care that Centrepoint offer to Teddy when he is at The Space and in turn how that benefits the family as a whole is amazing, knowing that this challenge will help with that going forward and to assist all the other families in a similar situation is amazing."

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Pictured: The ultra challengers and some of their family members at the start line.

Looking ahead, James hopes to make the 4x4x48 challenge an annual event. Next year's challenge is already planned for 17-19 May 2024, with the potential for other challenges such as a less intense 4x4x24 variation and a children's event.

However, James admitted that he will probably be in charge of the organisation next year, rather than taking on the challenge himself, although he hinted that he has "a couple of other personal challenges in mind!"

You can donate to James' 4x4x48 fundraiser in aid of Centrepoint HERE.

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