GoRuck Light Chicago

I was talked into joining a team for the GoRuck Light in Chicago with a bunch of my fellow firefighters and I did NOT expect to be this challenged!  What is the GoRuck you ask?  Well, I put a short video for you here to get a taste of what this is all about.

Our team was comprised of about 80 people for the Chicago Light event that went from 2pm until 8pm.  We had a great group that was split into two smaller groups with two Cadre leaders.  The Cadre is a leader of the group that for the most part is ex or current military that is familiar with challenging you and pushing you to your very limits.  They are there to motivate you and show you teamwork and physical limitations are.

Every participant is expected to have a certain amount of minimum gear but of course, you can add on items that you learn are must haves.  First, everyone must have a ruck bag that is basically a fancy backpack that is meant to carry heavy items and is durable.  GoRuck sells many of the required items but you can also get them online from other vendors.  I used my Oakley molle backpack and it held up great!  You are also expected to have the following items: headlamp with batteries, Photo ID, a reflective band around your pack, a water bladder that holds at least 2 liters, and finally a minimum amount of weight.  For this event, you are supposed to have 20lbs in either a ruck plate or comparable items like bricks or sandbags.  I didn’t shell out the money for a true ruck weight but I will next time.  I used 3 patio pavers that I wrapped in duct tape to get that weight.  It worked but was bulky for the bag.


The event starts out with a group role call and line up for orders.  If you came late, then you were given some bear crawls around the rest of the group chanting “Right time, right place!”  Obviously it pays to be on time.  Then you are split into two teams for size and follow your cadre leader onto a set course.  Our group was ordered by Cadre Doug to carry  multiple heavy items including sand bags, firehose bundles (AKA hotel packs), and weighted backpacks.  The object is to walk as a group in formation for a few miles while passing off the items to other teammates.


Eventually, you get a short break to fuel up with water and stretch.  Then, our group each told how 9/11 affected us and what this was all about.  Then, you rucked back up and hit the trails.  We ended up on the Ohio Street beach for some brutal exercises including a lot of water drills.  We were pushed to our limits with burpees, tunnel of loves, pushups, flutter kicks, getting dirty in the sand, and a few other torturous exercises.  Finally after doing that for an hour, we trekked back to our starting point to discuss our adventure and receive our GoRuck Light patch.  It was without doubt, incredibly tough and also a great camaraderie experience.



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Yiannis Christodoulou

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