JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Anyone in the military knows about the ruck sack and that's the foundation of GoRuck, a company in Jacksonville Beach that's sparked a nationwide movement. We asked Jason McCarthy, the Founder & CEO, to describe the GoRuck craze. He said, "It's social fitness, if you will. You're active, you're able to talk to people and you're out having fun. At GoRuck we build better Americans, and it sounds like a tag line and I suppose it is, but that's a focus and that's what we do."
How they build those better Americans and that social interaction is obvious when you see a challenge in action. When you show up for an event, you either come with a team or you are assigned to one. Plus, every GoRuck challenge starts with your ruck sack or back pack. You fill it with some weight and strap it on your back. Then, you're leader, known as your Cadre, takes the reigns and leads you through some pretty grueling team based tasks.
It's not just about fitness, according to McCarthy, it's about leadership, sacrifice and teamwork. And like he said, it's also a social event. "iPhones and facebook likes, that's not social," McCarthy told us. "Social means that you are with somebody and you are talking and living life to it's fullest."
Kit Klein participated in one of the very first GoRuck events. He described the feeling he gets when he's finished a challenge. "You feel on top of the world," Klein said. "It's this super high and you're like wow, I just did that and it's better than anything I've ever done or been through."
Now Klein works for GoRuck helping to build the brand and spread the passion. "I mean, the first event that I did was like ten to 15 people, and now there are events where there are 200 people. It's amazing to see that growth and it makes it a lot of fun," Klein said.
The growth of the GoRuck events and movement since McCarthy started less than 5 years ago is impressive. That first year, they had around 20 GoRuck events. This year, there are more than 900. "We probably have 35 to 40 employees now. 90 decorated veterans of combat operations that lead our events and we are just out to conquer the world. It's going to be awesome," McCarthy said.
If you want to try a GoRuck event, they have everything from scavenger hunts, the original GoRuck challenges and even 5k's. Click here for the upcoming events here in Jacksonville and in St. Augustine. To check out the fitness levels and descriptions for the events, click here to go to the GoRuck website.