GORUCK. It is a verb and a noun all in one, the result of an idea in 2008, for a backpack that combined style with function.
“I wanted to create a rucksack, or backpack, that you could use in Baghdad, but could also walk the streets of New York with,” said Jason McCarthy, founder of GORUCK and a military veteran.
This backpack gave way to GORUCK, an organization that strives to get people active in a unique way: rucking. To ruck is move with weight on your back, an active resistance training that combines cardio with strength training. In 2010, McCarthy spearheaded the first GORUCK challenge. During the challenge, a random team comes together at a starting point and is led by a special operations decorated military veteran on a 12-hour journey. The only requirement is for each member to carry their own rucksack, full of the weight of their choice. The result is a challenging, yet exhilarating, journey in which the team learns what it means to work together, something that left a lasting impression on McCarthy during his time as a Green Beret. There have been 2,000 GORUCK events to date, with challenges happening internationally in most major cities.
Kit Klein, one of the 35 full-time employees at GORUCK, started doing GORUCK challenges in their early days and continues to participate even today.
“It builds this community and team that you’ve never felt before,” Klein said. “This is like you’re forced to work together and help each other; that feeling is not found in many places. You’re like wow, this is something special.”
New to 2015, is a Kill that 5K, GORUCK’s unique take on a 5K experience that has a simple motto: Beer > Bananas. The 5K will start at 5 p.m., rather than a traditional early morning 5K, and will take place Jan. 17 in Jacksonville Beach, home to GORUCK’s international headquarters. Participants will “ruck” with friends in an experience that does not end at the finish line, but rather, takes them to a 5K after-party like no other. GORUCK is also partnering with Combat to College, a local nonprofit that helps veterans get back into school. McCarthy plans on having a Kill that 5K in 10 cities in 2015, part of the year’s 1,500 projected events.
Unlike a gym membership, rucking puts aside contracts or monthly fees. Instead, rucking allows you to reach personal fitness goals, while learning how to work with a team. “Our goal is to get people active in a sustainable and fun way,” McCarthy said. “Sustainability is based on positivity. GORUCK inspires people to be better versions of themselves. It inspires people to think about people other than themselves.”
McCarthy’s positivity is what will really make you want to pick up a backpack and start rucking.
“Life’s too short not to smile. Often, we confuse goals with material things that will make us happy, like, ‘if only I have the iPhone 7 I’ll be happy.’ That’s not how it works, enjoy your day. If you like to go out and run, go out and run. If you like yoga, do yoga. If you try rucking, keep doing it! You know, it is just about finding things that really make you happy.”For more information, visit www.goruck.com/kill-that-5k/.