Load-Bearing Hero

One of my favorite lines from Batman Begins:

So for a while, my primary fitness goal was to just run farther and faster. Then the “mud run” fad came around, and everyone was talking about Tough Mudder and the like. I do not remember exactly how I discovered it, but in my research on which mud run(s) I should do, I came across the GoRuck Challenge.

Like the other more hardcore mud runs, the GoRuck Challenge is designed and run by former military guys. However, GoRuck is different from other mud run events in a couple of ways. First off, they are not an “event” company per se. They are actually a gear company. The GoRuck Challenge started as a way for these guys to test their own products, and it became a very successful PR tool when they let other people join them. Second, like the more hardcore mud runs, the goal is not to finish quickly, it is merely to finish. But unlike the other ones, GRC is run as a team event, and you can expect a lot of bonding with 30 strangers. Third, GRC is more hardcore. You can look forward to starting the event in the middle of the night, hiking around the city with at least 30 pounds on your back for eight hours, and making random stops to perform physical trials – such as flutter kicks in the ocean, bear crawls and lunges across the beach, buddy carries along a trail, and Army-crawling down Lombard – as demanded by the Cadre (staff/event leaders). And finally, GRC is just the beginning. After you finish the challenge and earn your GRT (GoRuck Tough) badge, you gain access to events only GRTs can do.

I signed up for the GRC coming up in November in San Francisco, but I am actually dreading it, because there is no way I will be ready for this crucible! In an attempt to train for it, I have been signing up for trail run races and loading up my GR1 to different levels. Weighted runs take a lot more out of me than I first expected. I imagined that since I have been losing weight, running with a loaded ruck would be like running back when I was fatter. Not the case! Having the weight as fat pretty evenly distributed across my body is completely different from literally running with bricks on your back. The stress on the joints is different, and I may never be able to figure out why, but I just get winded a lot faster.

On the plus side, though, I really love my GR1! It is study and very well made, and I use it every day to carry my school and work gear with me everywhere I go. It is also just big enough for me to take everything I need on weekend trips. Perhaps my only complaint is that there are not enough pockets for everything I would like to carry. However, I do not think this would be a big deal for most people, since I fall into the pack-rat side of the preparedness spectrum. Also, the GR1 has MOLLE straps on the interior and exterior to attach smaller bags, or “field pockets.” I just did not order any of those. (Something I plan to correct in the near future.)

On a bit of a side-note, the GR1 comes with no logos on the outside (just the way I like it), but it does have a rectangular velcro bit for me to add any patch I want. The default ones are nice, but I am leaning more towards a themed one.


8 thoughts on “Load-Bearing Hero

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