Every four hours, another Instagram post went up. At first, Max Tempel looked confident. His friend, Jeff Arnold, was smiling. Sweat glistened on their faces. Sunglasses were worn in some, head lamps in others.
Their eyes never lost a sense of determination, yet exhaustion was evident.
Exhaustion is expected though when taking on the “4-4-48” challenge – a four-mile run every four hours for 48 hours.
Tempel and Arnold conquered it.
“We are about 24 hours away from the 4-4-48 challenge,” Tempel said in a video posted to his Instagram fitness account, getget_fitness. “It’s gonna be a grueling two days but I’m super pumped up, super ready to go because you know what, we just get after it, we callous our mind and we get get. Let’s go baby.”
The next morning, Sept. 4, the two ran their first four miles starting at 8 a.m. Over the next two days, whether it was noontime or midnight, the two geared up for another four miles at the top of the fourth hour.
The 4-4-48 challenge was popularized by fitness guru and former Navy SEAL David Goggins. Goggins does not shy away from running challenges, which inspired Arnold.
Arnold, who typically participates in Spartan races, was eager for a challenge. Spartan race events had been cancelled this year due to the covid-19 pandemic.
“I’ve been looking for the biggest and baddest challenges to keep me busy. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you,” he said.
Tempel, who has one more year of eligibility to compete for Castleton wrestling and is currently enrolled in the online MBA program, has always had a similar mindset.
“I was looking to find something completely out of my comfort zone to put myself in an uncomfortable situation. I’ve been working hard in preparation for my last year of wrestling,” he said.
After falling short of his goal of winning a national championship, Tempel knew he had to train even harder.
“I need to put myself in dark places to bring out the best of me this season,” he said.
With a common desire for physical and mental growth, the two friends decided to put themselves to the test. Over the next 48 hours, they did exactly what they set out to do.
While many people would shy away from one four-mile run, Tempel and Arnold did it 12 times in a span of two days. They ran three different mapped runs in their hometown of Averill Park, New York. When their bodies were telling them to stop, they kept going.
“The most difficult part was the mind games your thinking would play on you,” Tempel said. “There were points where my own thinking was trying to tell me I couldn’t complete it, but I put callouses on my mind and grinded through it.”
Arnold said the runs during daytime were easier.
“The nighttime and early morning runs, even though we were able to get some sleep, were a much slower and stumbly pace as we expected, but we just kept grinding, putting one foot in front of the other,” he said.
While running is a big part of Arnold’s life, Tempel admitted it’s not something he does often. He goes on runs here and there, but nothing to this extent.
When they finished, Arnold was very proud of his friend.
“The most rewarding aspect of the challenge wasn’t even myself finishing,” he said. “[Max] didn’t hesitate to say yes when I asked him to join me. He was always early for the runs and always showed up in good spirits. He hit a mental wall but was able to push through and persevere.”
Arnold was happy to be able to motivate Tempel to push past his boundaries. And when the final stretch on the final run came, the moment was exhilarating.
Tempel said he and Arnold were shouting at the top of their lungs at 4:40 a.m.
“The satisfaction was all in the fact that no one was doing what we were doing at that moment. It gives me the mental edge going into this season that I am uncommon, and my opponents have not endured what I have. I’m going to be the baddest dude out there and it’s my time,” Tempel said.