Building Community Through the 4x4x48 Challenge

All of these 2024 Ruck4HIT participants will run some, if not all of this weekend’s 4x4x48 Challenge to raise funds and awareness for Heroes In Transition’s programs.

Three years ago, Heroes In Transition (HIT) Executive Director Nicole Spencer spent the first weekend in March running four miles every four hours over the course of 48 hours. She did so alone, all to raise awareness and funds to support HIT’s programs, as she tackled the David Goggins 4x4x48 Challenge.

Every year since then, Spencer has been joined by a growing number of Ruck4HIT participants who have used the challenge as a way to support one another while testing themselves physically and mentally.

Yes, running may be a solitary endeavor. But it’s made easier when others are there to support you along the way.

And so this weekend, over a dozen 2024 Ruck4HIT participants will join Spencer in running some, if not all, of the 48 miles as part of the endurance test created by Goggins, a retired Navy SEAL and ultramarathon runner.

“This is different from the Ruck4HIT because there’s an excitement to the ruck because you’re getting into a van with your teammates for 36 hours with everybody counting on you,” said HIT Board Member Savannah Fabbio, one of the organizers for the Ruck4HIT. “With this, it’s very different because if I don’t show up, the only person I’m letting down is myself. It’s a different kind of pressure that I’ve put on myself.”

Fabbio, who is also a Ruck4HIT captain for her team, Worst Pace Scenario, ran the Goggins challenge last year. She was joined by her husband Jay who had originally planned to only run a handful of legs. He ended up running all 12.

And he will do so once again this weekend. “I’m doing it mostly to support Savannah, the Ruck4HIT and Heroes In Transition,” he said. “The more people that do this, the more awareness we can raise for the great work Heroes In Transition does.”

The hardest part of the challenge? Last year was the weather. One 4-mile run was done in heavy winds and in the middle of a downpour.

The best part? “The amount of people who showed up to support one another,” Jay said. “To see how other people showed up to support those running, and to lift up Lindsey, Savannah, and Nicole, it was fun. …It shows the community we have here.”

It’s tied to that simple concept that nothing great is ever accomplished alone, especially when running 48 miles in 48 hours.

Jay (from left) and Savannah Fabbio, HIT Executive Director Nicole Spencer, Lindsey Mahoney, and Matt Carroll. The five will be among the more than dozen 2024 Ruck4HIT participants running this weekend’s 4x4x48 Challenge to raise funds and awareness for Heroes In Transition’s programs.

This weekend, Lisa Gauthier will experience that firsthand when she competes in her first 4x4x48 Challenge. She plans on doing 11 of the 12 legs.

“I feel like if I can mentally prepare and do this weekend, then I can do the ruck,” said Lisa, who will be joining several of her colleagues at Shipwrecked restaurant in Falmouth Heights, who will be participating in their first-ever Ruck4HIT this spring. “I’m excited to check the Ruck4HIT off my list and conquer it.”

This will be Lindsey Mahoney’s second year competing in the challenge. “It’s a good benchmark for training for the Ruck4HIT to see what I need to tweak and what I need to keep doing,” she said.

Both Savannah and Lindsey will run their legs this weekend with an unweighted rucksack which serves as a symbol of the burdens carried by individuals who are serving and have served our country.  “I want to keep the symbol of the ruck right with me,” Savannah said. “When it gets really hard at 3 am, I want to remember why I’m doing it, why I’m training, and who I’m doing it for.”

Lindsey, who will be running her seventh Ruck4HIT in April, echoed those sentiments.

Over the past decade, the East Falmouth resident has become passionate about running. “Just the mental clarity it gives me is amazing,” she said, adding that “the social aspect is huge. The biggest thing is the social aspect and how this group has come together and the friendships we have formed. That is hard to do as an adult, but this group has done it.”

Join us in celebrating this year’s 4x4x48 Challenge participants on Sunday, March 3 at Shipwrecked in Falmouth Heights. They will be running their 12th and final leg at 7 pm, ending roughly an hour later. All are welcome to run, bike, walk or join in the post-event celebration!

To make a donation to this year’s participants and support Heroes In Transition’s work, click this link.

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