I first heard about GORUCK through the game Ingress. GORUCK ran Urban and Stealth events during these big Ingress anomalies in different cities all across the country. Out of hundreds of people that attend the anomalies, one or two dozen did the GORUCK events, becoming “the tip of the spear” and earning intel to help our faction win the anomaly. I was fascinated by the physical challenge element, and signed up for an event, as well as a regular GORUCK event.
It Started with Events
I’ve learned that GORUCK events are as much about mental toughness as they are about physical toughness. Your mind can push your body beyond what you ever thought it was possible for you to do.
Rucking as a way of life
I did not start rucking until I was in my late 40s and desperately needed to change my lifestyle. I was obese, and presenting a host of related medical problems. The simpleness of rucking appealed to me. Throw on a ruck and walk. I am now proud to be a part of a ruck club in Toronto called Ruck T.O. We have organized rucks every month at different locations around the city and surrounding area. It’s much more fun rucking with others. The community is what caught me by surprise – the friends and support – I now have rucking friends all across North America and beyond. We’ve formed a bond and we often meet up in different cities for events.
My first ruck was the original Rucker (which I still use for events today), and I got it several months ahead of my first event to train. It’s been submerged, dragged, buried on the beach, I’ve been dragged 50m by its straps, and it’s come through with zero issues. Tough as hell, and still looks awesome. If I’m just rucking, I remove the padded hip belt, but it’s a must for events. Bear crawls and Tunnel of Love are no fun when you’re trying to keep your ruck from falling over your head. The 20L size is perfect for events. Enough room for the gear you need, and you’re not tempted to bring any crap you wouldn’t use anyway.
My go-to footwear for events is my pair of MACV-1s. Paired with right socks, they’re perfect for me. Support where I need it, and they’ll take any abuse I can throw at them, whether it’s pounding the pavement, a beach relay race, or hydro burpees in the lake. Our club does some ice rucks during the winter, and I throw a pair of Yak Trax Diamond Grip cleats on them for traction on ice.
What do you get out of rucking the most?
This may sound cliché, but rucking saved my life. I was late 40s, somewhere north of 340 pounds, pre-diabetic, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and all the rest. Through cycling and GORUCK, I lost the weight, built-up strength, and finished my first Tough at 51. The goal of finishing that Tough is what kept me going. My ruck club helped mentally, as it’s a lot harder to DFQ when you’re alone. I lost almost 150 pounds, and am in the best shape of my life. All my medical problems vanished. My doctor says I’m healthier than he’s ever seen me in 20 years.
I now have fitness and mental fortitude. After losing all the weight, rucking and ruck workouts keep me in shape physically, and it’s mentally satisfying to convince yourself “one more time around the neighborhood”. I’ve learned that it’s never too late. Throw on a ruck and go for a walk. Your body will thank you.
– Steve Ries