On Friday evening, more than 700 people gathered in the Georgetown neighborhood in Washington, D.C., to embark on a 50-mile challenge organized by the Veteran-owned business GORUCK.
GORUCK’s business is two-fold. It sells ruck sacks and gear for “rucking” so individuals can have reliable, American made equipment. The second part is the GORUCK challenge. These challenges are led by a cadre of individuals that have served in our military’s special forces. Their experience and leadership motivate ruckers to pick up their weight and take on a challenge that will improve their body and their mind.
What is rucking? Rucking is a fundamental element of Special Forces training. Green Berets are well versed in shouldering heavy rucks through cities, mountains, jungles and deserts, in war and in peace. Rucking requires strength, endurance and character. It’s essentially walking with a weighted pack on your back. GORUCK designed bags are built to carry steel plates making the carry a little easier. Walking with the weight on your back increases your heart rate, and can make rucking a cardiovascular workout similar to jogging, which is valuable for people that have difficulties with running.
Friday night’s challenge was inspired by an executive order that Teddy Roosevelt issued to his military: march 50 miles in 20 hours. Years later, John F. Kennedy echoed the challenge. GORUCK took up that order, and organized an event that sent challengers up and down the C&O canal, and then all over Washington, D.C., to cover at least 50 miles. The large group was broken up into teams of 2-to-5 people, and each team was to visit more than a dozen way-points before ending their challenge. Way-points included the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, the Supreme Court and other important landmarks in Washington.
GORUCK isn’t just about the exercise and training, though. In the same way Team RWB offers exercising with groups, GORUCK offers the opportunity to come together as a community to take on a challenge. It has created a sense of camaraderie that resonates with Veterans and their families. It has emphasized the importance of supporting one another through difficult times and enjoying each other’s company when the hardship has passed. It has become a culture of ruckers that combines Veterans and non-Veterans alike.
If rucking is your thing, and the 50-Mile Star Course sounds fun, go to GORUCK’s website for the other events coming up this year.
Stay tuned for a future episode of Borne the Battle featuring Jason McCarthy, Army Veteran and founder of GORUCK.