BY CARISSA SITKI
Local educator, St. Elmo volunteer firefighter, St. Elmo school board member, and health enthusiast, Josh Fulk, completed an ultra running event over the weekend in which he ran 48 miles in 48 hours and raised $1,553.00 for Responder Rescue.
Fulk, a resident of St. Elmo, participated in retired Navy SEAL and motivational endurance athlete, David Goggins’, 4x4x48 Challenge. Beginning at 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (10 p.m. our time) on March 5, the challenge required participants to run four miles every four hours for 48 hours. The event was completed by people across the world at no cost to them, unless they purchased a t-shirt from Goggins (he donated all proceeds to charity).
Since runners had to complete all 48 miles in the 48 hours, time was a very important factor. Runners began when Goggins did and had to finish by Sunday. “I could only sleep like an hour at a time since I had to keep fueled for the runs,” said Fulk, “Each run took around an hour so that only left 3 hours to get rested up and ready for the next run.”
In order to be able to complete all 12 runs, according to Fulk, you had to keep a steady pace. “You want to get the runs completed in a good amount of time, but you don’t want to run all out in the beginning,” he said.
Fulk used his Garmin to keep track of the distance of his runs, but according to him, the Garmin froze 1.4 miles into his first run. “Even though I know I did the four miles the first time, I ran another 2.6 miles so that it showed I ran all four miles,” Fulk said, “So all together, I actually ran 50.6 miles in the 48 hours.”
The runs had to be completed around the clock, so naturally, some races took place at odd hours. The runs that took place late at night felt strange, said Fulk, since there were no cars, or people outside. “I was just by myself, running, in the middle of the night and those runs had a different feeling,” he said, “They were peaceful.”
According to Fulk, his experience was so great because of the amount of community support he received. In total, there were 12 runs that Fulk was required to do for this challenge, but for six of those runs he had company. Dylan Booher, Josh Sedam, J.d. Russell, Jordan Mahon, Kyle Austin, and Derek Chancy each ran a leg of the challenge with him. Fulk also attributed his successful completion of the challenge to the support he received from his wife, family, and friends.
In addition to the moral support Fulk received along the way, he was blessed with generous donations toward his fundraiser. “Individuals from the community, as well as several businesses showed their support,” said Fulk, “Country Financial, CrossFit of Effingham, and Fire Rescue Fitness all contributed.”
He set out with a goal of raising $480.00 for Responder Rescue, but as of now, he’s received $1,553.00 and continued to accept donations until Friday, March 12, when he delivered a check to the organization. “This turned out to be such a success, I’m completely speechless over the community’s generosity,” said Fulk.
Responder Rescue is an organization in the St. Louis area that provides emotional, tangible, and monetary assistance to area police officers, firefighters, and EMS workers who have been injured, fallen ill, or suffered a traumatic experience. This foundation is something that means a great deal to Fulk, who is himself a volunteer firefighter for the St. Elmo Fire District. “Service runs in my family,” he said, “My sister is a cop in Pana and my dad was a firefighter for the Brownstown Fire District.”
Fulk has participated in multiple health and fitness events since he began his weight loss journey in 2017. Last year he completed his first half-distance triathlon and completed another the same year. “My first time running a half marathon was actually during my first triathlon,” said Fulk.
He said that he would consider participating in another 4x4x48 again since his experience was so positive. Additionally, Fulk plans to complete a full Iron Man Challenge in the future which consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run in 17 hours. “I’m going to keep doing things like this, I don’t want to slow down,” he said.
Fulk extended his thanks to the community, his family, and his friends for all of the support they gave him over the weekend.