DC: GORUCK Light

GoRuck Challenge DC

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Crash Course: The GORUCK Light is an introductory course to the GORUCK events. It consists of a 5-7 hour ruck march in Washington, DC with various team-based events interspersed throughout the day.

[line] [left]where: Smithsonian Castle

bring: GORUCK provides a packing list. Take it seriously. Among those items, I would definitely include a few Cliff bars or whatever keeps you going.

perks: Tour of DC, ‘Merica style

sweat score: 6 out of 10

[/left][right]wear: Definitely wear pants and a long sleeve t shirt and then whatever is weather appropriate

instructor: Cadre

cost: $60 [/right][line]

The GORUCK light, a five to seven mile rucksack march, is an introduction to the GORUCK events.

GoRuck Challenge DC

If you’ve served in the military, you probably have a love-hate relationship with rucksack marches, but most people don’t even know what it is.

Rucksack marches are an integral component of military conditioning and training. The Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, the initial test for entry into the elite Army Ranger School requires the completion of a 12 miles march in 3 hours or less with 35 pounds in a backpack (rucksack). But one shouldn’t see the weight and say it’s too tough. Like the GORUCK website says, “[i]f you can do a mud-run or a 5K, you can do Light.” Very true. 

GORUCK events were original designed to test GORUCK equipment. The thinking was to put the packs through the most grueling events possible. To their credit, GORUCK packs are built tough, and GORUCK guarantees that they will repair any damage the Ruck may endure. Tears are thusly named “scars”. GORUCK or bust.

GoRuck Challenge DC

Participants must carry a “ruck” (backpack to us laymen) with a specific amount of weight. I weigh over 150 pounds, and was therefore required to carry 4 bricks, weighing about 25 pounds total. Teams must also bring a team weight of about 15 pounds and an American flag. The more difficult events require that you have at least 45 pounds in your ruck before counting food and water.

“The Goruck Light”

GoRuck Challenge DC

A Facebook event page was set up specifically to for our event which allowed us to coordinate pre and post rucking, and make sure someone was going to bring the team weight and flag.

To begin the event, we met at a central location in DC; in this case, at the Smithsonian Castle.

GoRuck Challenge DC

We started by introducing ourselves, followed by a burpee. “ANDREW MEEHAN AND I’M FROM NEW YORK,” I shouted. It was followed by our cadre yelling, “DOWN” (bottom of the burpee).

We divided into two teams and started with the “tunnel of love.” The tunnel of loooooove is a bunch of people in a row in an upright plank position. The person at the end crawls through the tunnel and person behind them and so on. It’s a great way to get to know people. And by get to know them, I mean, get to examine their bodies.

And that would be fun enough, but in reading this, if you’ve forgotten that you’re carrying a backpack full of bricks, let me remind you…you’re carrying a backpack full of bricks. Additionally, it’s a very good idea to keep those butts down for obvious reasons. 

GoRuck Challenge DC

Shortly thereafter, the two teams did a bunch of bear crawls, which again was a little grueling with the backpack, followed by a march to the base of the Washington Monument. Then we dropped to the ground and did a military crawl from the Washington Monument Lodge to the base of the Washington Monument.

I was surprised at how hard it was, and how I actually felt a little core work. Some of us who got to the top ran back and grabbed another’s ruck so that they could complete the crawl in a shorter amount of time. We start together, we finish together. Goruck family.

GoRuck Challenge DC

From there, we formed a line and did a modified Indian run, carrying a keg along the way to the Jefferson Memorial. 10 rounds of jumps up and down the stairs and you are starting to get the idea. 

GoRuck Challenge DC

We continued along the Potomac, stopping to pick up “Bertha” – a giant, misshaped log. Yes, now I feel like a boss, walking around carrying this log. It loses its novelty quickly. It’s not like you are carrying a telephone pole with smooth, clean edges – this thing looked like someone ripped it out of a Pablo Picasso painting. And no, it was not ideally suited for carrying on one’s shoulder, let alone with ten other guys. Whatever, it’s a giant log, I can say I did that.

GoRuck Challenge DC

We were happy to put the log down and proceed to the scavenger hunt. Two teams racing to count flags, take pictures of states, and generally run up and down the mall to finish before the other team.

Finally, after a brief break, we hit the stairs again on the back side of the Lincoln Memorial. Ten rounds, hippitty hopping up and down, up and down.

GoRuck Challenge DC

To finish it off, we did a series of fireman’s carries, ending where we started. We each received our OFFICIAL GORUCK Light patch. The patches are a big deal, and I was really happy to get mine. I haven’t figured out what I am going to do with it yet…

Generally we saw a lot of DC. Even for someone who has lived here for 10 years as I have, it was a different way to see the city. It was hard, and I was exhausted after marching for five hours but not impossible for anyone who exercises regularly. Again, that’s the point. This is an introduction. The real fun starts when with the GORUCK Heavy and Challenge (8-10 hours and 24 hours, respectively). I’ll likely give them both a try just to see if I can finish.

GoRuck Challenge DC

Originally from a small town in the Hudson Valley, Andrew Meehan is a government relations professional in Washington, DC. When he isn’t training for his next fitness endeavor, he’s honing his skills as a master grill master. He also runs a free boarding service for old english sheepdogs out of his apartment.

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