GORUCK's founder is building a community around ruck marching

Eric Dehm
May 31, 2018 - 10:49 am

Photo courtesy GORUCK

When leaving the military, many new veterans have a list of what we'll call "never-agains."

Shave? Never again.

PT at 0430? Ha. How about PT never again.

The Army infantry standard 12 mile ruck march? Never again. 

A 50 mile ruck march? See above.

You might wonder who in their right mind would want to do 50 miles if you weren't ordered to. The answer to that question was former Green Beret Jason McCarthy and his team of former Special Forces operators at GORUCK, a popular high-end ruck sack/backpack manufacturing company founded by McCarthy.

"Movement with weight is the foundation of doing a job in special forces," McCarthy said during an appearance on ConnectingVets Morning Briefing radio show. "So everything that we do at GORUCK, it relates back to the special forces way of life and rucking is a big part of that. It's foundational."

Turns out over quite a few people agree, so that initial answer was eventually adjusted to include 189 teams, of 2-5 individuals each, adding up to the 700-plus participants that showed up for GORUCK's first 50 mile "Star Course" event in Washington D.C.

Photo courtesy GORUCK

 McCarthy said the expected turnout for the initial event is a sign that veterans, and Americans in general, are hungry for this type of challenge. In fact, he says, he believes it's in our genes. 

"Humans are hard-wired. We need to move and we need to be part of a community. Those are the things that make us fundamentally and foundationally happy. So, the veteran community gets this more than most, or more than anyone, because that's where we come from. We come from these teams that we worked on where we're part of something bigger than ourselves, we're there with other people that we like to work with on a daily basis."

Photo courtesy GORUCK

The first Star Course was first finished by a team comprised of ultra-marathoners Ricardo Rios, Brandon Petelin and Patrick Vaughan (pictured above) with a time of 12 hours, 14 minutes. That sets a lofty goal for those participating in the 10 additional 50 milers GORUCK is holding acorss the country this year beginning with a June trek through Chicago and ending with a Nov. 9th ruck in Jacksonville. 

For those who aren't quite ready for a 50 mile march, McCarthy is quick to point out that participation in the Star Course is something that should be worked up to, and that GORUCK has other events that cut back on the distance significantly.

"It all starts incrementally. As with all thing in life, you gotta start somewhere."

You can hear the full interview with Jason McCarthy below. Click Play to stream now or click Share and select download from the available options to listen later.

Contact us about this article or share your story at gethelp@connectingvets.com