Red Bank Regional XC/track coach Brendan McGoldrick running 48 miles in 48 hours to raise money for COVID-19 relief efforts
Back in early March, former Navy SEAL and American fitness guru David Goggins presented his fans with a challenge in the form of his now well-known 4-4-48 challenge: run four miles every four hours for 48 hours. Brendan McGoldrick, the head cross country/track and field coach at Red Bank Regional High School and a former college runner at Monmouth University, was immediately intrigued.
McGoldrick didn’t take part in the initial virtual event, but a few weeks ago he received gut-wrenching news that became the impetus for him to revisit Goggins’ challenge as a way to raise money and awareness.
The original 4-4-48 virtual challenge took place on March 6, a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning to sink its unforgiving claws into the United States. Since then, over 1.7 million cases and 100,000 deaths have been attributed to the virus in the U.S., including over 153,000 cases and 11,000 deaths in New Jersey. Fortunately, McGoldrick has not been personally impacted by COVID-19; his family is healthy and he remains employed. Life is fine, all things considered.
A couple of weeks ago, McGoldrick was informed about a Red Bank Regional High School student who lost their father to COVID-19. Although he didn’t know the student, the news hit him hard.
“This particular family, their dad was the main source of income,” said McGoldrick, who is a history teacher at RBR. “Not only did they lose their father, they also lost the income that was keeping a roof over their heads. Now they had to worry about whether they would be able to keep their home. I didn’t know the family myself but I felt so bad and I wanted to find some way to try to help.”
In late April, Rumson-Fair Haven senior Bobby Hoye ran a full 26.2-mile marathon at home on his treadmill to raise money for Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. The live stream of his marathon generated nearly $6,000.
“I heard about what Bobby Hoye did and I thought, ‘That’s incredible, I’ve got to be able to do something too, but something that is unique. Then I remembered Goggins’ challenge and sat down and planned it out. It’s going to be hard but I’ve run long mileage before and I think doing something to help the school community will drive me.”
McGoldrick plans to start at either noon or 4 p.m. on Saturday, depending on the weather, and conclude on Monday. To complete the challenge he’ll need all the skills he’s honed over the years as a competitive runner, both physically and mentally.
“The most difficult part for me as a former competitive runner is to check my ego and make sure I’m not trying to go too fast and in between making sure to rest as much as you can,” McGoldrick said. “Timing my meals will be important. Fueling for 48 miles in two days is pretty crucial.”
McGoldrick was a three-season runner at Windsor High School in Connecticut and then at Monmouth. Long training sessions are nothing new for him. Running four miles an hour, even at a pedestrian pace of nine minutes per mile, would leave him three hours and 24 minutes to recover before his next run. It seems simple on the surface until the miles and hours began to add up.
“This is a completely different ballgame,” McGoldrick said. “I’ve run multiple times in a day before and did that somewhat routinely in college. I gave it a trial run last week where I did three four-mile runs with a four-mile walk with my family in between, so I’ve covered most of a day’s worth of this already to see if I could do it safely. I’m really excited.”
The fundraising aspect of the challenge will go through The Source, which is Red Bank Regional’s school-based youth services program. Donations can be made at The Source website. The Source is in its 20th year at RBR and assists students and their families with counseling, academic support, scholarship programs and more.
The Source has also teamed up with Lunch Break of Red Bank to help supply food for those RBR families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I wish it was only one person or family that is having to deal with this but there are a lot of people around Monmouth County dealing with these issues,” McGoldrick said. “I can still put food on my table and a roof over my family’s head, but not everyone is as lucky.”
This weekend, McGoldrick will lace up his shoes and run nearly two full marathons in two days. He joked he should just run the extra 4.4 miles and cross that accomplishment off his list, too. If all goes according to plan, he’ll stand tall at the end of mile No. 48, exhausted yet triumphant, and hopefully having raised plenty of money for those who need it now more than ever.
“His whole 40 percent idea (Goggins’ rule that says when you’re feeling completely spent that you’ve only 40 percent done and still have 60 percent left to give) really resonates with me,” McGoldrick said. “I remember when I was at my best in college I wouldn’t accept less than a certain level. If I can tap into something within and push past any limitations, I can accomplish something important and memorable.”
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