I survived the GORUCK challenge. It all started when I was searching for an alternative to the Savage race since they pushed the date to November. I am not a fan of the cold so I needed an alternative. My friend Chris Reed whom I met through Beachbody asked if I would be interested in doing the GORUCK challenge. Having no idea what it was I did some research to see what it was all about. In just under 24 hours I agreed to the GORUCK challenge. Led by a member from the army special forces the GORUCK challenge is leadership and teamwork training in disguise. It always starts with a welcoming party followed by a tour of the city it is hosted in. You should plan on traveling about 20 miles on foot in about 12 hours. It is mixed with plenty of mental and physical challenges. The welcoming party in my case started with the cadre taking role call and verifying we had the proper amount of bricks we were packing in our GORUCK backpacks. While most of the GORUCK challenge guys and gals were using a GORUCK rucksack and other GORUCK gear a few of them were not. Two of the guys not using GORUCK gear had equipment failure. Just an indication on how tough this challenge is. I have been told that each GORUCK challenge is different but in my experience the first 3 hours were hell on earth. We were told by the cadre that if we didn’t want to cuss him out and punch him in the face at some point he was not doing his job. Now that I have successfully experienced and completed the GORUCK challenge I know his actions were to better us as a team. My first GORUCK challenge started downtown Dallas, TX. in front of city hall. We were told to put our rucks on and do not take them off unless instructed to do so. Next we got in the fountain in front of city hall and were instructed to do various things like crab walks, bear crawls, the human centipede, elephant walks, and hold our rucks above our heads.
Keep in mind our ruck sacks are loaded with gear and GORUCK bricks. Nothing fancy about the bricks other than we wrap them in duct tape to help protect the ruck sack and other gear. The rucks are about 40 pounds then add the water weight when you get wet. After the cadre allowed us to get out of the fountain we were told an entertaining story about how baby’s are made and he had us low crawl to him. This was unconventional lesson on how to operate as a team. Some of us crawled fast , some slow. Overall the point was work as a team not individuals.
Finally the welcome party was concluded and the tour began. We missed our scheduled time to arrive at our first destination. For missing the deadline we had to gather 15 sandbags and carry them for the remainder of the GORUCK challenge. I got to know the sidewalk pretty well from the sandbag forcing me to look down in an awkward position to balance it just right. We went through Turtle creek and Highland Park. While in Highland Park we jumped in a pond with some nice stagnant water. I am really surprised the cops didn’t show up and start arresting people. For those that don’t know Dallas, TX. these are neighborhoods that are very well to do. At one point one of our team members broke away from the pack to pee. Cadre caught him and we all had to do wall squats because he broke away from the team.
During the hike sandbags were also being dropped. The punishment for this was 30 burpees with the ruck sacks on each time a sandbag was dropped. We marched by some sprinklers and were instructed to get wet. That lasted for a good 30 minutes. Little did Cadre know it was really refreshing considering the fact I had been awake for close to 28 hours at that point. During the trek cadre Ben led us to a flight of stairs and instructed to go up and down 6 times. Next up the Katy trail. It was populated with a mix of people. Cadre Ben told us if we see a guy running in a speedo we were to do 30 lunges. I am thinking no sweat how often do you see a guy running in a Speedo? 3 to be exact. Apparently he did his homework and found their was some sort of charitable Speedo run. Noticing the pace has picked up we are back in downtown Dallas. The difficulty is steadily increasing. Cadre Ben is picking off people to be carried left and right. I am not sure how many guys were being carried but I ended up with 3 sandbags towards the end. One had 2 holes in it but during a pee stop it was quickly repaired with zip ties I had in my ruck sack. One block away from the end we got to ditch the sandbags. The trade off was bear crawl for the entire block.
Feeling like I had nothing left I made it to the steps of city hall and turned the pain and physical exhaustion into adrenalin to make it to the top. Accomplishing the GORUCK challenge was overwhelming. I escaped the group to reflect on what had just taken place in the past 12 hours. It brought tears to my eyes. I had to cut that short because GORUCK challenge finishers have no emotion other than a smile from all the good livin’.
So will I do it again? Without any hesitation I will. What I wished I had done is train a little harder. Most of the guys and gals on the GORUCK challenge were experienced crossfit members. I really don’t like paying for gym memberships so I am going to do a hybrid training schedule of P90X, Insanity and treks with a loaded ruck to simulate the GORUCK challenge.