Go Ruck Yourself – Part 1

This is part 1 of a 3 part series about the D-Day GORUCK Heavy that took place in Charleston on June 1st and 2nd.  Part 1 will describe the GORUCK Heavy and rucking in general, Part 2 will lay out what we did, and Part 3 will give lessons learned.


At 6PM on Friday night I was standing in formation with 40 other men and women on Patriots Point.  It was the perfect early summer evening, a light sea breeze from the Charleston harbor kissing my cheek and the smell of deep green fresh cut grass filled the air.  Directly in front of us was a giant black submarine, a memorial to the Cold War, half of which was ‘submerged’ under ground as if it was about to plunge to the depths like some oversized earthworm.  

The tranquility of the evening didn’t last long as the Cadre, our leaders for the next 24 hours, showed up and began roll call.  They called our names one by one and asked us why we were there, a connection they hoped would get us through the darkness ahead.  We were about to embark on a deep dive ourselves, just like the submarine right next to us.

This was the start of the GORUCK Heavy, one of the toughest 24 hour endurance events in the world.  A ruck, short for rucksack, is a pack typically worn by members of the military. Every mission is different, but It’s usually filled with things like food, water, medkits, ammunition, tools…whatever items are needed to carry out the task ahead.  Our rucks were full of things we’d need for the next 24 hours- water, food, spare socks, blister care, gloves, carabiners, a headlamp with spare batteries etc. The bulk of the weight came from a 30# plate to simulate a light combat load. In total we were carrying about 45# in our rucks.

Ruck can also be used as a verb.  Rucking is carrying a weighted pack on your back. It implies action, energy, and purpose. Rucking requires strength, endurance, and character.  We’d build a lot of that over the next 24 hours.  That said, rucking doesn’t have to be torturous, and the benefits to your body, mind, and soul are plentiful.  Especially when you’re rucking with friends.

You really only need 3 things to start rucking:

  1. A Ruck– You need a pack with thick comfy shoulder straps.  You want to cinch the straps down tight so the weight stays close and high on your back.  Get something that can handle the load you’ll be carrying and can take a beating.
  2. A Water Source- You’ll get thirsty, bring water.  Hydration bladders are preferred so you can drink on the move.  If you’re going a long way you’ll probably want some electrolytes too.
  3. Some Weight- A ruck plate is the easiest thing to carry because they’re compact, but some bricks, sand, or whatever really, will do the trick.

Once you’ve got your gear it’s as simple as just walking.  Bring friends and a dog if at all possible.  Have beers ready at the finish point.

Rucking will help you get stronger, lose weight, improve your posture, and make cardio a little more fun.

Why Ruck?  Cause walking isn’t enough and RUNNING SUCKS!


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