Heat Stroke, Vomit & Lost Toenails: Bondi Locals Take On David Goggins Challenge

The 4x4x48? That's for rookies.

David Goggins is renowned around the world for his balls-to-the-wall physical feats like ultramarathons, ultra-triathlons, and world-record numbers of pull-ups. So, you might be surprised to hear that this weekend a group of local Sydney legends doubled and then smashed one of his signature challenges – in support of a very good cause.


David Goggins’ “4x4x48” challenge is regarded as a core tenet of the former Navy SEAL and ultramarathon runner’s brutal approach to physicality, mental health and pushing the boundaries of both. Consisting of a four-mile run every four hours over a forty-eight-hour period, it’s a punishing test for even the most committed of athletes.

However, sometimes a good cause is all that’s required as plentiful motivation to dwarf challenges you once thought impossible. In this instance, a charity looking to redress Australia’s shocking record on domestic violence served as inspiration for a group of sporty Sydneysiders, who suffered heat stroke, damaged knees, vomiting and – rumour has it – lost toenails in order to see the challenge through.

After personal trainer and Bondi local Ben Handsaker posted a GoFundMe stating some of Australia’s most damning domestic violence statistics – that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men have experienced sexual violence while every 9 days one woman and every month one man is killed by a current or former partner – he managed to raise over $6,000 for charity Friends With Dignity… By doubling the famous Goggins challenge.

Ben Handsaker meeting fitness hero David Goggins, who inspired the Bondi challenge this weekend. Image: @abstacker

That meant turning the 4x4x48 into an “8x4x48”: doubling the mileage requirement and adding three gruelling weighted Murph workouts into the mix too. For the blissfully unaware, a Murph workout is a CrossFit go-to where you do 100 pull-ups, 200, push-ups, and 300 bodyweight squats with a run on either side…

Handsaker claims to have told the fitness legend Goggins about the planned challenge when they crossed paths at a recent dinner. Goggins told Handsaker “that’s a lot of miles, brother – but you have got this”.

Indeed, Handsaker and his teammates did have it: over the course of forty-eight hours, they ran 165.5km in weighted vests, and also completed 300 pull-ups, 600 push-ups and 900 squats to boot. We can only begin to imagine the pain involved and the recovery ritual demanded after such a feat, but we would guess it involves about a week’s worth of Wim Hof-style ice baths

The distance covered meant that the challengers had to survive with “pretty much no sleep”, and that the brutal effort was “only possible with the support of @teammurphbondi and our community”.

After treading up and down Bondi Beach every four hours, meeting at the Bondi Outdoor Gym, the team were exhausted but thanked supporters for their contributions, with Handsaker saying “it means so much to me”.

It may not be everyone’s idea of a relaxing weekend, but you can’t deny it’s an immensely impressive achievement in support of an important cause. Here’s to a few days off from the gym and a chance to use Bondi for what it’s really made for: flexing those freshly-Murphed beach bods…

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