“I am so thankful that there are men and women like this in the World. It’s because of their patriotism and determination that dopey creative kids, like me, get to run around and play all day.” – Christian Griffith, 5K race reviewer.
Yup. I have it.
I romanticize, which further demonstrates my ignorance, by the way, the life of a soldier. I imagine myself as a gear-totin’, rifle-yielding, ammo luggin’ badass, who’s quick to step between his boys, and the enemy, and save the day.
Truth is, fire one bullet at me, and I’d probably drop to the fetal position and start singing Disney songs.
My respect for military service started with the admiration of my best friend, and grandfather. He was a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot, and a member of the Flying Tigers during World War II.
In my eyes, he might as well have been Captain America.
After 9-11, and a little maturity and education, I became more and more impressed with the military veterans I met through various physical challenges like ultramarathons, obstacle course races, survival events, and CrossFit gyms. Speaking as a man, many of these individuals ooooze what I aspire to be as a man. What I consider a “real man.” – I have a long way to go.
These people are truly tough.
I’m just a “tourist of tough.”
Bridging A Gap Between Military and Civilian Life
I might not express the whole “bridging the gap”-thing precisely as GORUCK means it, but I heard this sentiment made by a GORUCK team member in reference to the new series of GORUCK events called Kill That 5K, and I liked it. I dug it because GORUCK events do just that – they connect, and re-connect, those of a military ilk; but also, and arguably most importantly, gives us civilians access into the training, mindset, personalities, dedication, determination, and toughness necessary to succeed in living in their shoes.
Introducing Ruck Runnin’
A ruck is basically a frame-less backpack. Just like CrossFit, anyone can do it at some level. Old, young, male, female, …dog. And also like CrossFit, rucking is an exercise that can be scaled based on level of experience, desired benefit, or need for additional challenge.
GORUCK’s Kill That 5K is a ruck race series that is one of a kind. Participants have the option of strapping on heavy weight and chasing each other for 3.1 miles, or throwing on any amount of weight, and getting in some quality, fitness miles while being social with others, and making new friends.
Some of the things that make this 5K unique:
- You are running with weight, adding significant challenge to the distance.
- Start times are late afternoon, instead of the typical, o’dawn 30.
- Finish tables consist of only beer. No bananas. No bagels.
- Concrete. Grass. Both. You never know for sure.
- Prizes awarded worth up to $250 in gear credit.
The Inaugural Kill That 5K
The very first Kill That 5K took place just a couple of miles from GORUCK Headquarters, on a golf course, in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, on Saturday, January 17th, 2015 @ 5:00 p.m.; and while I have no idea if the race was considered a success by the organizers, it was a slam-dunk success to me.
Leading into the event, GORUCK did an excellent job keeping the excitement high for participants by launching helpful rucking tips and techniques videos via social media, as well as a few trash-talking, winner-prediction videos. The mood of the content was light, and focused on the fun of the sport, while keeping it just interesting enough for those of us who truly wanted to race and compete.
Never one to sidestep a challenge, I stepped into the elite category which called for competitors to carry, at least 45lbs of weight on their backs, for the full 3.1 mile race distance. Our packs were weighed pre-race, and post-race, to ensure the weight of the pack was the same both times. My pack was 46.18 lbs.
Passing Cadre. Good Idea? Bad Idea?
Having done a GORUCK Challenge event during the summer, I got hooked and want to shoot for more GORUCK events, including the granddaddy of them all, GORUCK Selection; however, some of the elite competitors were also GORUCK “Cadre” (definition: Event leading, experienced personnel able to assume control and to train others) and tend to lead many of the other, more brutal events in which I will be attending.
Passing them in the race seemed likely to pay some future dividends.
But as I mentioned in another online venue, a race is a race, and by the time I crossed the finish line, I found myself ahead of almost all GORUCK Cadre, but 6th place overall, behind a group of blazingly fast GRTs (GORUCK event past participants), that beat us all pretty well.
Photo: Christian Griffith, reviewer, finishing up the Kill That 5K.
In future events, I sure hope the cadre focus on those winners, and not me.
Yea, Yea, But Would You Do Another One?
I’m already registered for Kill That 5K #2 in Tampa, Florida, February 28, 2015, and for the inaugural event, GORUCK made a slam dunk…
…but, there are some areas where they can improve if they want to maximize potential for future growth. Here are just a few ideas:
Offer t-shirts to all participants
Not only does the race community covet their race shirts, it’s just smart marketing and race branding. Especially if the shirt is cool, and the message is simple and strong.
Provide chip timing for Elite races
As the elite competition gets more and more fierce with every race, and money is on the line, competitors will begin to expect a timing solution that is more exact, and verifiable.
Beer is good, but…
For the folks competing at redline levels, some nutrition at the finish line could be helpful, especially, if some of the participants do not drink alcohol. As more and more elites are attracted, there will be a growing number of non-drinkers.
GORUCK Is Definitely On To Something
I came home from Florida extremely impressed with the inaugural event, the cadre represented, GORUCK founder Jason McCarthy, the volunteers, and all of GORUCK HQ in Jacksonville Beach.
Ruckin’ is great because, again, anyone can do it, and it’s a great way to stay fit without a gym, and while engaged in social time with friends – “No one rucks alone.”
Mark my words, and reference back to this review in three years. You will see these events grow, and especially if I have anything to do with it, because I believe in it.
Check the list of upcoming races, and see if one is coming to a town close to you. Shoots, I might even do it with ya if it fits my ridiculous event schedule; And if you are feeling extra ambitious, try one of the traditional GORUCK events for a challenge like no other.
Can you Kill A 5K?