Running With A Purpose

48 miles in 48 hours. A triathlon. Senior Andrew Terkildsen is drawn to the most challenging races.

Senior Andrew Terkildsen after completing a triathlon in August. He finished second for his age group.

Photo courtesy of Terkildsen family

Senior Andrew Terkildsen after completing a triathlon in August. He finished second for his age group.

Vince Montalbano, Staff Writer

During the summer of 2020, senior Andrew Terkildsen, a proud member of a Navy family, was working on his family’s farm in California. One day, on a whim, he decided to test himself.

Stepping outside into the 107 degree heat, he ran a marathon. While his time didn’t quite measure up to his high expectations, he satisfied one nagging question.

“I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it,” he said. 

Terkildsen would prove much more to himself and his peers a year later when he ran 48 miles in 48 hours. Then followed that up with a triathlon just five months later. 

Terkildsen is a student at the top of his class, who somehow has found time to train and participate in these two races even with the challenges of COVID-19 and limited running experience. The races are outstanding accomplishments; however, he has his eyes set on even bigger goals. 

“I just want to achieve as much as I can. I think a lot of people go through life without realizing the amazing things they can do and I want to realize those things,” he said.

Running four miles every four hours

In March, Andrew completed a 4x4x48, which is running four miles every four hours for 48 hours. He took inspiration from former Navy Seal and ultra marathon runner David Goggins, who encouraged people to run the 48 miles to raise money for a charity of their choice. Terkildsen chose Midwest Veterans’ Closet. His family, which has strong Navy roots, had donated to Midwest Veterans’ Closet before.

Tracking his 48 mile run.

Terkildsen raised a total of $2,100.

“When I dropped off the check at Midwest Veterans closet, they were having an event, and I was able to meet many of the veterans who the money was going to help and it was a truly moving experience,” he said. 

A 4x4x48 is obviously no easy task. Terkildsen knew this, and prepared physically by practicing boxing, cardio, and lifting for strength.

“Another key aspect of preparing for the 4x4x48 was training in extremely low temperatures that I would experience especially during the 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. runs,” he said. “This meant early morning runs before school at 4 a.m. and on weekends going and doing runs by the beach and getting in the freezing water to get used to the cold.”

He also added that this training helped with his mental strength throughout the process. Terkildsen  completed this training in the midst of participating in two sports: varsity tennis and JV swimming.

The most difficult aspect of his 4x4x48 was the lack of rest throughout the two days. 

Running 48 miles in 48 hours meant running in the dead of night.

 “The runs every four hours didn’t allow for really any sleep,” he said. “Over the whole challenge I think I got around five or six hours of sleep, which for a time where you’re running 48 miles was really tough.”

Despite this, Andrew prevailed and totaled just above nine hours of total running time over the 48 hours. He was very happy with how it went and emphasized that raising the money was what made his work and training the most fulfilling. 

Triathlon Man

Most people would want a break after completing an event like that, especially with all of the preparation and effort put into completing it. However, just five months later Andrew would be in Chicago, ready to run a triathlon. 

“For the triathlon, I followed a much more normal training routine, rotating through swim, bike, and run workouts, often combining the three.” 

He ate a very low carb diet, making him leaner, and resulting in a loss of 5-10 lbs during his two month training. Terkildsen has been committed to working out since eighth grade; however, the physical demand for this was much greater. Some days he would be very tired from working out, and others he would be low on energy because of his diet.

He ran the triathlon Aug. 29, swimming 1.5 km, biking 40 km, and running 10 km. He said the swimming was difficult with many people bumping into him, however, it wasn’t the hardest part.

“In the triathlon it was definitely the last two miles of the run. My legs were cramping, and I was running out of energy fast,” he said. He finished the triathlon with a time of 2:58:33. The time was within his three-hour goal and rewarded him second place in the 19 and under division. 

Terkildsen was very proud of the improvement he made during the actual triathlon. “My time a month before on one I did on my own was 3:53:00,” he said. This means that he removed almost a full hour off of his triathlon time in just one month. 

“But that just goes to show you that your body is capable of so many great things and you just have to be willing to push yourself to reach those limits,” he said. 

Future Ironman?

Despite completing all of these accomplishments in just five months, he continues to look into the future. 

“I look forward to doing the 4x4x48 again next year, and I hope to raise even more money this year,” he said. Also, his family has three Navy veterans and he has hopes to join the Navy as well. He added that another goal of his is to complete an Ironman, which is a triathlon with longer distances (3.86 km of swimming, 180 km of biking and a 42.2 km run). 

That just goes to show you that your body is capable of so many great things and you just have to be willing to push yourself to reach those limits.”

— Andrew Terkildsen

Terkildsen has many people supporting him and his goals for the future. He said his friends and family are key in supporting him with his physical and educational challenges in life. He cares a lot about them and appreciates the help that they continue to provide him. 

“Andrew is widely known as a pure genius who is incredibly gifted academically and succeeds at any task given to him,” said senior Sahil Conjeevaram. He thought that Andrew’s 4x4x48 showed to people that he is willing to put his body through pain and stress to serve others. He also acknowledged how impressive Terkildsen’s triathlon was.

“The triathlon is a physical and mental test like no other, which Andrew took upon himself to complete,” Conjeevaram said. “Not only did he finish it, he finished 2nd in U19 which is a testament to how hard he works.”

Terkildsen has plenty of goals for the years to come, however, he is confident that they can be done.

“In the end, it will be up to me to step up and put the work in to accomplish my dreams,” he said. “But I know my friends and family will be beside me the whole way.”