GORUCK Challenges

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Oct 24, 2011 | By Brian and Sophie of GORUCK


There can't be good living where there is not good drinking. - Benjamin Franklin

Mr. Franklin would be happy to know that both are present in the GORUCK Challenge, a "guided city tour" that spans 15-20 miles, 12+ hours, and may or may not involve a death waiver. Founded by former Green Beret Jason McCarthy, the Challenge was initially designed as - and still remains - a field test for Jason's military-grade GORUCK gear. But the event has become a brand in its own right, with classes composed of both civilians and military personnel, competing not to win, but to complete the endurance event.

The Challenge is as much of a mental effort as it is physical, and successful completion puts you in a rarefied air of GORUCK Tough alums who consider Cordura 2000D, duct-taped bricks, and ice cold Bud good livin'. In anticipation of our launch of the 2012 Challenge Calendar on Huckberry later this week, we asked Brian, who prior to joining The Challenge as Lead Cadre served in Iraq as a Marine rifle infantryman and later as a Green Beret, and Sophie, the Challenge Director, to share some of their favorite Challenge moments. Makes for some good readin'.

Class 001 in San Francisco. There will only ever be one first Challenge, and San Francisco is its home. The city has breathtaking views - and breathtaking (literally) seawater. The Challenge has come a long way, and we’re forever grateful to the member of class 001 who were the first to experience our version of good livin’. !http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/aforch/SanFran4.jpg! Hiking the Incline in Colorado Springs. The incline is just as steep as it sounds, and it makes a team come together really fast. !http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/aforch/COSIncline.jpg! A very GORUCK Engagement in Seattle. We’ll admit, there are times we feel a little jaded – and then there are times we see one Challenge taker propose to another in Pike Place Market at the end of 12 hours of suffering. That’s when we remember that we are, in fact, humans. !http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/aforch/SeattleRing.jpg! Trouble in Philadelphia. Philadelphia was the city that opened our eyes and brought the Challenge to a new level. The participants showed up looking for trouble. They asked for it, and they got it, and nothing's been the same since. Cheese steaks and the birthplace of the Marine Corps (Tun Tavern, 1775) make this one of the best cities in the country. !http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/aforch/PhillySteps.jpg! Buddy Carries down 6th Street in Austin. Austin always keeps it weird and real. It’s already impossible to walk down 6th street at midnight without getting lost in some of the world’s best music, bars, and BBQ. It’s even better when you are carrying a lot and a friend on your back. !http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/aforch/Austin4.jpg! A Moment of Reflection in DC. The Challenge is not a quiet time, but during a DC Challenge we had a moment to reflect on other challenges overcome by those before us. !http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/aforch/DCLincoln2.jpg! Standing at 14,000 feet in the Collegiate Peaks, CO. We spent a few days climbing multiple fourteeners (that's 14,000 foot peaks) out here as part of the GORUCK Ascent, something we plan on doing every summer. The moment we reached our first summit was something we will never forget. If you have ever wondered what it is like to walk on the moon, summit a fourteener. !http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/aforch/Ascent1.jpg! Remembering 911 in NYC. The Challenges classes in New York City on the 10th anniversary of September 11th will stand out in our memory forever. Our style is to honor the past while spending the best of times together. Exactly what these guys are doing. !http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/aforch/NYCwater.jpg! Help From A New Friend in San Diego. We repeat cities, never routes. The unscripted moments are what make every Challenge unique. This pizza guy – sorry, we’re sure there is some professional title – boosted morale, if only because our participants thought extra pushups might get them free pizza. Guess if that worked. !http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/aforch/SanDiegoPizza.jpg! No Water in Las Vegas. Certain members of the Vegas team who will go unnamed bragged that this Challenge would be easy because there’s no water in the desert. That was their first mistake. We always find water. Always. After playing in this duckpond, the team changed into dry socks. That was their second mistake. We found more water. Everything that happened in Vegas after the Challenge will also go untold. !http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/aforch/Vegas-1.jpg!