I had hoped that going to North Carolina meant that it would be warmer. Unfortunately, the weekend I headed down to do the GORUCK Challenge I seemed to have brought the Connecticut weather with me. The overnight forecast was for 35degrees and raining.
The GORUCK Challenge is billed as a team event meant to challenge, teach, and inspire you to do more than you ever thought possible. For the challenge you are led around a city by a Special Operations Cadre. Together as a team you work to complete various challenges all while carrying bricks in your rucks to symbolize the weight a solider carries. Originally started as a way for GORUCK to test their military grade rucks the event has grown in strides.
For the Greensboro, NC challenge 10 of us gathered in front of the International Civil Rights museum at 1:00AM waiting anxiously for our cadre, Carlos, to show up. Because of Greensboro’s history with civil rights we decided that our team weight would be 25lbs of chain that would have to come around with us. Being in the middle of downtown Greensboro our first mission was to run to a nearby park to do some physical training. Much to our dismay the park Carlos chose was a wooded one with trails. There was no open space for PT. This meant PT would be done in the middle of a side road right by a church.
We did squats, we did pushups, and we failed many times as a team to roll over as one. Failing meant we had to keep trying to do it until we could all roll over as one unit. In between trying to roll over on the road we did get to do some tunnel crawling on a small lawn. For the tunnel we had to be on all 4s while taking turns low crawling through the group. Add a ruck that weighs between 30-40lbs and the crawling was slow. It took many attempts but finally we figured out how to get a nice round tunnel going and how to roll over as one team.
Our reward for working as a team was running to another park. At least the rest of the parks had more grass. Throughout the early morning hours we did other activities such as a 5v5 leap frog race along a very wet and slippery bog. The losing team had to then carry the winning team’s bags to the next park. It paid to be a winner in the hardest leap frog I had ever done. Once dawn arrived Carlos didn’t think we were wet enough since everyone had raincoats on. So he found a large puddle that we had to lay down in and pretend to swim. To get some of the group to try to lighten up a little and smile Carlos had us all put our faces in the water and make bubbles. While it was quite cold most of us realized how silly we must look and started to smile.
Just as we were about to reach downtown we had our biggest challenge, doing the tunnel right next to a very muddy and uneven river bank. We had been going for about 9 hours at this point and struggled. Next we had to get into the river and roll over as a team. Then there were the pushups in the river so that our whole head went underwater. Our team was getting very cold and very tired at this point. When we got out of the water finally there was more PT but only two people at a time. The rest of the group had to huddle together like penguins for body heat and focus on their breathing to minimize their shivering.
While this all seems crazy to most people it gives you an amazing sense of accomplishment. You truly learn to push your physical and mental limits. Ten individuals came together and worked for ten hours to become one in the end. One Team, One Goal. We are GORUCK Tough class 425!