Preparing for the GORUCK Challenge

Preparing for the GORUCK Challenge

Some say I have reached a new level of crazy. I finally pulled the trigger, well clicked the mouse, and signed up for a GORUCK Challenge. Explained by GORUCK as a team event, never a race. Think of it as a slice of reality found in the most elite schools in Special Operations. Leadership is taught, teamwork is demanded.


Expecting time in the ocean. Picture from GORUCK

For 10 hours I will turn my life over to a Cadre that is either a current or former Special Operations soldier. In my case my Cadre will be taking us on a tour of Newport, RI starting at 1:00AM. Since it is 10 hours and up to 20 miles I am certain our Cadre will run us by all of the hot spots. I envision running along the cliff walk, lit only by headlamps, carrying “coupons.” To add to the challenge, each participant will be carrying bricks in their ruck sacks. 150 pounds is the magical number. If you fall under that you only have to have 4 bricks (20lbs). Over 150 and you have 6 bricks (30lbs). Along the way the class of up to 30 participants has to collect “coupons.” These can be whatever random things that the Cadre finds along the way that he wants us to carry. Mattresses, 10 foot long logs, beach chairs, whatever. On top of that our class has to show up with a “class weight.” The class weight can be anything we want it to be but it has to weigh at least 25 pounds and travel with our class from start to finish. Each class has a facebook page set up so that we can meet each other ahead of time, plan training together, and discuss what our weight should be. Right now the 0100 class is talking about items that fit with the Newport theme, paddleboard, anchor, kayak. If anyone out there has other suggestions please feel free to share!

Push ups for sure. Picture by GORUCK

Being fit and prepared will be very important for surviving (as Kit Klein, one of our regular customers in the Philadelphia area found out last February). The GORUCK Challenge was originally started to test out the durability of the American made GORUCK bags. Having a good backpack or ruck sack is probably the most important item. Back in 2010 when the Challenge first started GORUCK provided bags to use. At the end you could buy your bag or give it back. Now you need to come with your own. While they of course suggest a GORUCK bag you can use whatever you want. The bag needs to carry your bricks, hydration bladder, food, and any extra clothing you may need. So basically it needs to hold about 30-40lbs for 10 hours. For those of us that hike you may think, “no big deal.” I don’t think so. Bulky, heavy bricks ride differently in your pack than typical hiking gear and once you start running with those bricks, it certainly FEELS different, too. For now, I’m testing different bags that I already have and after my first few training runs I’m far from making up my mind on what pack I’m going to use.

Wrapping my bricks

Bag testing













The second item that will be very important is what shoes I will wear. Based on reading about other Challenges I am confident I will be in the water within the first 2 miles. Like the Tough Mudder, I will want light shoes that don’t hold too much water and drain fairly easily. The difference from Tough Mudder is that I will be carrying a lot more weight on my back. So just like the bag, I will be trying different shoes. As for the rest of my clothing I’m not too worried about that. I plan to dress as if I was going out for a hike on a rainy October day.

If you happen to be out in Newport in the wee hours of October 6th and see a group of us, ragged, wet, dirty, and tired; feel free to stop and take pictures. Better yet, there’s still time to sign up and join us! In addition to the unbeatable satisfaction of conquering a tough physical challenge, GORUCK athletes rest even more comfortably knowing that $10 of every entry goes to the Green Beret Foundation. Wish me luck!

Fireman Carry. Picture by GORUCK

Amy Parulis

A former Strength and Conditioning Specialist and captain of the University of North Carolina track team, Amy now looks for her next mountain to climb or mud run to take part in to keep in shape. Her favorite hike was to the crater rim of Mt. St. Helens where she witnessed a steaming lava dome and she some day hopes to summit Mt. Rainier. In the meantime she can be found helping customers at the Waterford EMS. You can follow her adventures on Twitter @amyparulis

1 Comment

  1. August 8, 2012, 3:36 pm

    Nicely done.

    I’m a big fan of GORUCK and know some of the team over there and I’m proud of you for signing up to do a GORUCK Challenge. Can’t wait to follow along and hear more.

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