What is GORUCK? GORUCK is a company that began by making high quality and nearly indestructible backpacks, then added events originally designed to pressure test their packs under extreme conditions. These events run by former US Special Forces operatives called Cadre, have been expanding and gaining popularity as a way for civilians to push themselves and get a taste of military-flavored grind and team building. GORUCK events are characterized by all the participants carrying weight (typically bricks or sandbags) throughout the events. They often involve long hikes carrying awkward objects such as tree trunks, sandbags, and water submersions even in cold temperatures.
GORUCK events range from the Light (a ~6h event), the Challenge (12h), the Heavy (24h), a number of custom events, and all the way up to the infamous GORUCK Selection (a 48h event) that’s widely considered one of the most extreme physical and mental challenges in the world. Very few elite athletes have managed to pass Selection.
This year GORUCK has added a new event to their roster, the “Kill That 5k”. San Diego hosted their third event in this series on Saturday, March 7. This event was designed to give more people an introduction to The GORUCK family and the sport of rucking in a less daunting atmosphere. With phrases like Beer > Bananas, Kill That 5k was an event with tongue fully in cheek that was both celebrating and making gentle fun of 5k runs. Unlike the typical early morning start, this event began at a civilized 5:30 pm, taking advantage of the beautiful San Diego sunset.
The festival area opened a couple of hours early allowing last minute registration and included the GORUCK Gear shop, plus a weighing station for the rucks, and several local vendors. They had live music and an acrobat performing on silks to entertain before and during the race.
There were 4 divisions of athletes which were differentiated by the weight carried: elite athletes started first carrying a minimum of 45 lbs in their ruck, competitive men started 2-3 minutes later with 30 lbs, then competitive women with 20 lbs, followed by the largest contingent who were the non-competitive athletes who carried whatever weight they wanted. This was not a huge event; there were probably between 400-500 participants all told, but this gave an intimacy that many large events lack by their very nature. With the first athletes returning in just over 20 minutes (clearly setting a fast pace), while others were content to walk the course. Unlike most races, athletes were encouraged to run/walk with their dogs and kids in a truly social event.
Following a quick warm-up led by a local crossfit box, the national anthem, and a short speech by beloved Cadre Big Daddy, the ruckers were off. The Kill That 5k course consisted of an out and back section with two loops around a pond on an island park in Mission Bay. The event sported gorgeous scenery on a flat course with a single water station that you passed twice on the loops. Carrying weight definitely added a new dimension and a new challenge to the run.
On arriving back at the Start/Finish line, each participant received a GORUCK Kill That 5k patch, and most headed directly to the beer garden – the site of the “best damn after-party”. GORUCK has partnered with Stone Brewery and with charity partner Team RWB for these events nationwide so runners can expect quality craft beer and the knowledge that all proceeds from beer sales (first one was free with the race) go directly to support Team RWB. The after-party was crowded and friendly and everyone seemed like they were having a great time both during and after this event. Several people that I spoke with said that this was their first GORUCK event and that based on this they’d be interested in trying a GORUCK Light in the near future.
Not quite a normal 5k, not quite a typical GORUCK event—the Kill That 5k represents something truly new in the sport. This is a fun, social way to get involved and get more active.
*Photos By: GORUCK and Chris Cow
Chris is a research scientist for Novartis Pharmaceuticals, but on weekends he is an avid runner, endurance athlete and OCR junkie. He runs mostly with his wife, Anne. He is a 44 year old father of two gorgeous teenage daughters, and wants to help them adopt a healthy outdoor lifestyle.
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