Savage Race x GORUCK : Two Ways To Ruck Savage Race!

Savage Race x GORUCK : Two Ways To Ruck Savage Race!

Post by Sam Abbitt

Here is a question I asked a friend recently, “Do you want to try rucking your next Savage Race with me?”

My friend stared at me blankly with no idea what I just asked him.

I’m willing to bet that 80% or more of you will have no idea what this question means either. Or maybe I’m wrong, and you have already heard the buzz about it in the Savage Syndicate Facebook Group. Either way, until you’ve tried rucking, you really don’t know what you’ve been missing out on. If you already know all about rucking, you might want to skip down to part 2 of this post to hear about the different ways you can ruck a Savage Race.

This is what rucking looks like at Savage Race Ruck Division. (sandbag optional)

Rucking Explained, and Why I Started Doing It (Skip this if you already know what rucking is)

Rucking, quite simply, is walking while wearing a weighted backpack.

I first started rucking in March 2018, almost exactly one year ago. At the time, I weighed 290 pounds, and was too fat to run. I say that I was too fat to run because 1) I couldn’t run very far without having to stop, and 2) I was afraid running would damage my knees, because I was so heavy. Believe me, as the founder of a fitness company that specializes in running events, the fact that I was “too fat to run” is a painful thing to admit.

Around that time I decided that enough was enough. I was tired of being fat. I needed to fix my health and weight problem. I started eating clean, and training harder. Somewhere around that time I was introduced to GORUCK and rucking.

My rucking career started with a GORUCK GR1 rucksack and a 20 pound Ruck Plate. You just stuff the plate in the bag and start walking (rucking) a mile or two every other day, or whenever you can. You can wear your ruck when you’re walking your dog (ruck your dog) or when you’re going out to get your mail. It’s as easy as that to get started, and I sort of fell in love with how easily it fit into my life. In the beginning, that 20 pound plate felt a bit heavy on my back, and I felt muscle soreness in my shoulders and upper back muscles in places that I had never felt before. Before long, the 20 pound plate sort of felt like nothing, and I started adding more weight.

Fast forward one year of clean eating, rucking, Savage Racing, and weightlifting, and I’m 40 pounds lighter and happier. Oh yeah, and I’m still rucking, except now I’m using a 40 pound weight on most of my rucks. (Pro hack: after you lose 40 pounds, rucking with a 40 pound plate feels like normal walking.)

Ruck Division: The ruck goes under the barbed wire too.

Rucking at Savage Race – There are two ways to do it.

Rucking Option 1 – Savage Race Rucking Division (This is the fun option)
The Savage Race Ruck Division is probably what I would recommend for most people. In a nutshell, this option is the same thing as running a Savage Race event, except that you are rucking it. The Ruck Division is available at all Saturday Savage Race events in 2019 and has its own dedicated 9:30am start time. To join the Rucking division, register for Savage Race on our website just like you would if you were going to run the event, and gather at the start line prior to the 9:30am start time. Ruck Division is meant to be a fun way to ruck the race course at Savage Race. There are no strict rules, like mandatory minimum weight. You get to decide how much weight to wear (I did 30#). We took the rucks off for obstacles when we felt like it made sense. Everyone starts at 9:30am so that all of the ruckers can join up and experience the fun together. I rucked the Savage Blitz Gainesville event this year with some friends, including a few guys from GORUCK HQ, and had a blast. GORUCK Founder and CEO Jason McCarthy wrote about our wonderful experience in this blog post.

The Ruck division may be best for those who are new to rucking, are looking for a fun, laid back teamwork experience, or who want to try rucking, but have no interest in staying up all night at at a Savage Race GORUCK Tough event.

What I recommend for Ruck Division:

  • 20L Rucker Rucksack or GR1 (26L GR1 is pictured below)
  •  30 pound Ruck Plate (If this is your first time rucking, start a little lighter)
  • Hydration Bladder with retainer clip. This is optional for Ruck Division. We do have hydration stations on the course, so I would probably only bring the hydration bladder on a particularly hot day.
  • Savage Race T-shirt
  • I’m a big fan of the Challenge Shorts, or the Simple Shorts for events. Jason swears that the Challenge Pants or Simple Pants are the way to go. I don’t mind sacrificing the skin on my knees a little bit so that I can feel the cool breeze. This is a matter of personal preference. The material these pants are made of dries very quickly, and they are great for events. I ruck in these shorts, but I also frequently go to the gym in them, go to the office in them, etc. They are great for events and for every day wearing around.
  • GORUCK MACV-1 Jungle Rucking Boots

Rucking Option 2 – Savage Race GORUCK Tough (This is the HARD option)
The Savage Race GORUCK Tough events are no joke. I completed two of them in 2018, and they were the most demanding physical challenges I’ve ever faced. If you are interested in pushing yourself in new ways and doing what you never thought possible, this might be your event.

The Savage Race GORUCK Tough events are 10-12 hour, 15-20 mile rucks led by a Special Forces Cadre (i.e. a real life, bad-ass soldier). The event starts at midnight on the Friday night before Savage Race, and wraps up on Saturday morning before lunch time. There is a minimum weight requirement, and a list of equipment that you must bring. I pity the fool who has to fess up to their Cadre that they forgot something on the equipment list.

This description of the Tough challenge comes directly from

We challenge you to put your team before yourself. We teach you how to lead, how to follow, and how to overcome adversity together. And you get to keep these lessons with you for the rest of your life. This is the original GORUCK Event, the one where we prove to you that you are capable of so much more than you ever thought possible when you work as a team. Earn the GORUCK Tough patch and you’ll find out that it’s a way of life and a community with some of the best people you could ever hope to meet.

During the Savage Race GORUCK Tough, you get to experience the Savage Race obstacles, but you also will be put through an undisclosed physical gauntlet of activity, courtesy of your Special Forces Cadre.

In my experience, each event was different. At one of my events, among other activities, we got to carry an 800 pound log (as a team) for seven hours. A few people in our group couldn’t handle it and quit. Those of us who completed that event agree that it was one of the most rewarding experiences we have ever had, packed with life lessons we will not soon forget. These events aren’t for everyone, that’s for sure, but if you finish one, it will be an accomplishment that you can be very proud of.

Oh yeah, and when you finish the Savage Race GORUCK Tough, you earn this patch.

What I recommend for Savage Race GORUCK Tough:

  • Everything I suggested above for Ruck Division, PLUS
  • A rucksack aka backpack (GR1 or Rucker recommended)
  • Hydration Bladder: Source 3L recommended
  • Nalgene bottle (1L) or equivalent (electrolytes recommended)
  • Reflective Ruck Bands (or equivalent) on your ruck
  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Windbreaker (only if temperature is expected before 60 degrees F)
  • Photo ID and $20 cash just in case
  • As a class, you need one (1) 25 lb. class weight and one American Flag. Use your event’s Facebook page to meet your class, organize training, and coordinate team weight details.
  • Flip-flops (not required) – upon completion of a GORUCK Tough, it’s one of the seven great feelings in the world to take your shoes and socks off and put flip flops on. It also makes the hell-yeah-I-earned-my-patch beer taste even better.
  • Check the event page for your specific GORUCK Tough event to view the complete recommended and required gear list

There are only two ways to get this patch: 1) Complete a Savage Race GORUCK Tough, or 2) Rob a GORUCK Cadre. Neither option is particularly easy.

Savage Race Georgia GORUCK Tough – Still smiling, 8 hours into the event.

Oh yeah… And at the end, there is always a beer or three…

Beer. The official recovery drink of GORUCK and Savage Race. (Erik + his boy, Sam, Jason, Andy)


Affiliate disclosure: This post includes affiliate links to GORUCK makes great, high-end gear that will stand up to Savage Race and GORUCK events. If you buy products from their website after clicking one of the affiliate links, Savage Race will receive a small percentage of the sale. Thank you for supporting GORUCK and Savage Race!

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