GORUCK Events Re-Launch and 2015 Consolidation

Events Map

In the past week, we’ve cancelled ~250 Events (Challenge and Light) and we’ve launched aka added around ~100 Events (Challenge and Light) for the 2015 schedule. We had around ~900 total Events live, and we’ve reduced it down to ~750.

Here’s why. In essence, we’re going to some places way too often, with very low participant numbers in each class. In big hubs like DC and NYC, we’re not offering enough variety or “special” kinds of events where our Cadre can create a different kind of Challenge, with an even different meaning.

To address this, operationally we’ve broken down the cities into tiers, and we’ve focused on Special Events, specifically 5 Special Events that are massive:

  • Memorial Day
  • July 4th
  • 9/11
  • Mog Mile
  • Veterans Day

Then we’ve looked at Tiered cities. Tier 1 cities are:

  1. Washington, District of Columbia
  2. New York, New York
  3. San Francisco, California
  4. Boston, Massachusetts
  5. Chicago, Illinois
  6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In that order in terms of participant sign-ups in the last two years.

Plus Tier 2 cities:

  • Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
  • San Diego, California
  • Austin, Texas
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Houston, Texas
  • Atlanta, Georgia

We’ve then said let’s hit these Tier 1 and 2 cities more frequently, differentiating by putting Special Events there, with special patches and special themes. Then let’s hit other cities, smaller cities, less frequently but make them more special in their own right. No Events company comes to every state in the country except us, and we can and will continue to do this. But we can’t come to Minneapolis 5 times a summer, as we had scheduled. And yes, I love Minneapolis the last time I was there I met Justin Grimm and learned of Brave Charlotte and my Godmother lives there and she’s awesome. That’s another story.

The cities that have been cancelled. It’s not a no love thing, it’s just a push to consolidate and focus. We cancelled a few in Colorado Springs but added a Mog Mile. Boulder is close to Denver (and the Springs) so we deconflicted a little better so as not to spread the registrations so thin.

You might say why didn’t you do this before you launched these. It’s a super fair question. The answer is two-fold:

  • We lacked reporting tools to make this visual/manageable prior to the launch of our new website, instead launching an entire year from an Excel worksheet with guidance from me only to launch more than last year. This was unfair and incomplete/improper guidance given to our team, and that’s on me.
  • I failed to see the importance of the Special Events in terms of driving sign-ups, and in terms of your appetite for them. Special Events also offer us Cadre the opportunity to use the creative part of our brains in new ways, which we enjoy because it’s more cerebral to talk about significant things (Never Forget 9/11 means what did it mean to you Always Remember 9/11) at the same time as we teach a team how to overcome together. Every Challenge is special but themed ones are special in a different way.

Most cities we cut had very low sign-up numbers, call it sub-4 participants. We hate doing stuff like this, it sucks from the perspective of you’re signed up and we cancelled on you. For that I’m sorry, and I hope you’ll come to one of our other events. There are a lot of ‘em.

We’re still really small, and we’ve grown grassroots style based on your support. All we have is our best shot at getting it right, and we have you all. Thanks for not beating up our team too hard. If we cancelled an event close to you, we’re happy to work with you to put you in a class nearby, or to schedule a custom event. And if we cancelled your event, we’re issuing full refunds.

But mostly just this: thanks, and I’m sorry, and we’ll do better on the scheduling in 2016. And in 2015, when you show up, it’ll be all you’re hoping for … and then some.

At least I hope so, since I’m expecting big things for my first GORUCK Challenge and all your buddies not in this group are, too. They’re just not lucky like I am to have a sneak peek into the community I’ll be joining.

As always, love you all and thank you.

Special Events here.
Events map here.

What are your questions?


  1. Lucas Sanders says:

    No problems there Jason! I’ve already rescheduled and instead of trying to talk buddies into a scavenger in Philly (we’re in Lansing,MI) you added one to Detroit and I’ve already got my 4 man team! I was bummed about the cancelled event but Megan at HQ had me rescheduled in a heart beat and it gives me more time to train. With the scavenger closer I now have a buddy signed up who will be plugging GORUCK on Michigan state universities college radio station. So in the end maybe it’ll give a few more better Americans! GORUCK!!

  2. Drew says:

    On Special Events:

    More of a suggestion rather than a question. Having done a number of regular events and a number of special events (St Pattys Day, 4th of July, 9/11, Mog Mile, and Halloween) I find that the most recent Special Event patches are all too similar in appearance. What Im getting at is that I cant look (from a distance) at a patch someone is wearing and know what event (H/C/L) they have completed. My suggestion would be to make the patches look different or just put a colored border to all your special patches. It’s a sense of pride in everyone at every level (H/C/L) that they can display what they have done. Out of all the Special Events patches I have to say the St Pattys day one is the only one I really wear because it clearly differentiates between H/C/L (It is the 2014 St Pattys Day patch with a green background and gray arrowhead).

    I have also talked to a bunch of people who were super excited to earn there 4th of July patch but super bummed when GR released “GORUCK USA” patch. From a glance you really cant tell the difference between a 4th of July H/C/L patch and the “GORUCK USA” patch.

  3. Dewy says:

    I gotta say I’m pretty bummed, but NO WAY near as bummed as I’d be if you hadn’t issued this post. I have always respected GR’s straight forward explanations, and it does soften the blow. I guess I was just wondering a couple of things.

    I remember a previous post (7 or 8 months ago) that touched upon making the Good Livin’ less expensive in an effort to get more people out there and make it less cost prohibitive to someone who might be interested. Is this a response to that ? I feel like some of the less expensive challenges and “not special” events are the ones that got cut. Will they be coming back in the future ?

    Is this the definitive list for 2015, or as the year develops will any new events be added?

  4. jason says:

    Basically, we’re consolidating the number of times we go to smaller cities, fewer trips more participants per trip is the goal. And we’re still able to come everywhere, pretty easily. So, you can expect us to still come to smaller cities, just not as frequently. As for the costing, we still had to pare down the number of trips even based on having a lower cost.

  5. Dewy says:

    Thanks Jason, I really appreciate the response. I can understand this move a bit more now. I was signed up for a Manchester, NH challenge and it kept getting cancelled or pushed back due to lack of numbers. Class #1192 Kicked Ass ! Maybe this way, 1 of 2 things (maybe both) will happen .. (1) It’ll make that once or twice a year you guys come through that much more of a buildup and exciting, and a bigger class… and/or (2) I’ll gut check up and sign up for a special event (Beantown) ! – Thanks as always!

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