So What Exactly is this GORUCK Challenge Everyone Is Talking About?
One of the hottest trends in adventure sports right now is the GORUCK Challenge. What exactly is it? GORUCK, at it’s core, is a team-based adventure challenge modeled after military selection events and military training. The GORUCK company is lead by Jason McCarthy, former Army Special Forces (aka Green Beret), and he created the Challenge in 2010 as a way to test the backpacks he was developing and also create a hardcore division of competitors for the popular Tough Mudder obstacle course race.
I’ve done four GORUCK events, so I’ll give you a little insight on how it works and why it’s cool.
Firstly, GORUCK is very much a products company, with their core product being a kickass, extremely durable backpack called the GR1. They sell packs in various sizes and colors and also sell a bunch of accessories, related gear, and clothing. The calling card on the GORUCK packs are their excellent design and incredible toughness. They are manufactured in the US, in Bozeman, Montana, which lends itself to a bit of steep price tag.
The other side of the business is the events side, where they host GORUCK Challenges virtually every weekend in some part of the world. The Challenge is usually a group of people between 20 – 30 in size, and the class is lead by a former or current Special Forces instructor, called a cadre. To put it mildly, the cadre are total badass dudes.
The GORUCK Challenge is not a race. It’s specifically a team event, where everyone starts and finishes together. Each person carries a pack with 30-40 pounds of weight and the group walks, jogs, and runs throughout the Challenge. This is called rucking. The event usually lasts about 12 hours and distances covered can be well over 20 miles. The longest Challenge I’ve done lasted 14 hours and we covered about 28 miles on foot. The cadre will also hit the class with various exercises (pushups, flutter kicks, etc) and other physical challenges, such as crab walking a short distance with the pack on your lap, or buddy carrying a teammate up a flight of stairs or even doing situps in the ocean. Think training during a long day at boot camp and you’re got the idea.
Physically, it’s extremely tough. I’m usually wrecked for a couple of days afterwards and the exertion during the Challenge is up there.
The first time I did GORUCK, it was freakin’ brutal, and I hated it, and I swore up and down I’d never do another one. The second, third, and fourth were a blast. It’s an extremely tough physical challenge, and if you’re into sports and fitness like me, it will appeal to you. GORUCK will push you physically and totally reset your mental boundaries. After I completed my first Challenge I turned my nose on typical 5K road races. Too easy.
There are many hours during a Challenge were you’re rucking along and shooting the breeze with your teammates and enjoying the sights, and that makes the discomfort totally worth it. You’re basically doing a tour on foot of an American city and that’s cool. It’s a distinct, unique experience.
Afterwards, many of the teammates will go out for beers and party it up, and that’s a total blast also. If you’re into adventure sports or looking for the next big test for your fitness, dial up a GORUCK Challenge. It’s hard as hell but it’s the next level.
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About Lance Lance is a tech geek by day, social artist and fitness enthusiast by night. He specializes in relationships in real life situations, such as workplace and in business, and his goal is to create high value social circles filled with opportunity. For more on his dating and relationship perspective, check out his blog honeyandlance.com