The alarm went off at 5:30AM and I had slept like crap. I was excited about the event and kept waking up to check the time and here it was – GO TIME. I made sure my oldest son and daughter were up and moving and got ready. We were headed to downtown Columbus to participate in the GORUCK Light custom event for the Arnold Classic Sports Festival. We had heard about this event when stomping through the mountains in California for the Land Navigation Heavy when it was just an idea. Fast forward 8 months and it was finally here! We had no expectations for this event other than it was going to be a “longer” Light. Everything else was just speculation so we arrived at the start point with an open mind.
We were starting at Goodale Park a block west of the convention center where the Arnold was being held. For those not familiar with the Arnold, it started as a mostly bodybuilding competition by Arnold Schwarzenegger and over the years has grown to be one of the biggest multi-sport competitions bringing contestants from all over the world. I’ll be honest, I live in Columbus and had never been there before so this was going to be a whole new experience for me. We met up with the other GRTs milling about the start point and met the man who really spearheaded this event, Chris Moyer. He let us know we could keep our phones handy with us as there would be a bit of a social media aspect to this event. Typically your phone goes in your ruck to not be touched again until after the event, assuming you even bring it. Already this was shaping up to be a different event.
As 7:30 rolled up, we formed up and prepared our rucks for inspection by Cadre Gordon. There were 30 participants and we formed into three ranks of 10. Cadre Gordon completed the admin phase and reminded us this was a team event. We’d be broken down into 3 teams within the larger team of the entire class. We ended with roll call and as our name was called we were to take off for a quick run around the park’s baseball field, a playground and then back information. I took off and saw that as people were returning to the formation they were doing another lap. I hit my ruck and headed out for another round and was trucking along (I’m slow – I know it and am working on it) and as I was making the final turn the entire class started running towards me. Ummm, WTH is happening here? It seems not everyone needed to do 2 laps and I was now the last man so they were coming to collect their last team member. So NOT the way I wanted to start the event being the slow, old dude. We finished our lap and once back to our rucks did some PT. Pushups, HALO back arches and rolling to our backs (as a team) and caterpilliar pushups were the order of the day. We were not working well as a team so needed to do some bear crawls to the baseball backstop and back. We were slow there and incurred some casualties so loaded our casualty up across the backs of 3 of us and finished. After we were warmed up, a bit muddy and loose, Cadre asked for a team leader from each group and briefed them on the next phase.
Our team leader, my son ironically, briefed us on the objective. We were to distribute the coupons and move towards an alley a block or so away and then be ready for the next movement. Our coupons were 2 monster ammo cans on loan from Mocha Mike which are called Pain and Misery for good reason. We also had 4 jerry cans of water, the same two 5 gallon blue water jugs that we used in the Battle of the Bulge events, three 80lb sandbags, a 60lb sandbag, our team weight which was a 25lb 5 gallon bucket that also doubled as a flag holder and of course the American flag and a GORUCK flag. We were going to be putting in the work for sure! I had brought some tubular nylon and helped fashion handles to allow one of the blue water jugs to be carried by two people and other team
We arrived at the destination and the team leaders were briefed on the next evolution and in turn briefed us. This was going to be a very unique GORUCK event as our mission was to discuss GORUCK with people as they were headed to the Arnold and if they were interested, give them a shaker bottle with a paper explaining GORUCK that also had a discount code. Each team was assigned a different area around the convention center and ours was the North Market area. We greeted people as they were coming out of the parking garage and I am sure looked lovely with the mud and sweat from our Light welcome party. Ha! We were able to give out 4 of our bottles and quite a few people knew of GORUCK as excellent rucks but were not familiar with the event side of things. We took some video and pictures of the action and shared it to various social media platforms with the #GORUCKArnold hashtag as per our instructions. We had a time limit on this activity so once it was reached we returned to the alley.
Cadre again briefed the team leaders and this next movement was going to be a big one. We were going from the convention center down to Bicentennial Park which is south of the Capitol building and along the Scioto River. We collected our coupons and moved out. We did an OK job of rotating coupons around. Pain and Misery were earning their names and the nylon tubing someone brought was a little too narrow so it made it dig in when you carried it. Mental note, next time bring more webbing as it is wider as better for load distribution. We had quite a few people ask us what we were doing as we moved through the city which is exactly what we wanted. We trucked on and along the way our destination changed from Bicentennial Park to Audubon Park which was a bit further down the Scioto Trail. We had used Audubon for the start point for the Battle of the Bulge events in January so at least two of us knew exactly where we were going and quite a few others were familiar with the area, too.
We were slow moving with the number of coupons but were making progress. We eventually got to the park and Cadre had us pile up the coupons and get ready for the next activity. We took the opportunity to hydrate and catch our breath a bit. The next task the Cadre set us on was a competition between the teams of tossing the 80 lb sandbags in an Indian Run fashion from the hilltop where we started to the top of another hill maybe 70m away and then toss it back to the start point. I’ve not done a lot of sandbag tosses and man, that’s a workout! I’ll be incorporating it into my training routine for sure. We finished and everyone grabbed a quick bite and we topped off water. Cadre briefed the team leaders and we collected our gear to move out.
The next objective was the Capitol building so we hit the trail and made our way back north. We peeled off the trail just before Broad Street and made the final push to the Capitol. We arrived under the time hack Cadre Gordon provided and were briefed on the next mission. This time we were to
After this PR event, we geared up to move back to the alley. We moved north and again worked as a team to carry the coupons, rotate the load and make time. Once we reached the alley we dropped the coupons and were given the next mission which was to enter the convention center and challenge people at the Arnold to do a ruck based workout on video. We moved in and were able to convince people to do some ruck pushups and ruck burpees with us on video. We also saw some kids who were
We hit the North Market which was hopping with people getting food. I am sure our smells mingled poorly with the delicious food smells. We were pretty ripe by this time – or at least I was. We passed out our fliers and headed to the famous statue of Arnold that sits outside the convention center. There was a huge line of people waiting to get the picture in a bodybuilder pose and we had some good laughs at the poses people were doing. Luckily, Cadre and one of the shadows had jumped in line while we were on the last mission so we didn’t have to wait long to get a cool team photo. Afterwards we were patched by the Cadre with a very nice, unique Arnold Classic 001 patch. We then moved towards the alley for final dismissal. We had completed the event!
Overall, I really enjoyed this event and its unique missions. We had some good PT, carried heavy stuff and spread the good news of GORUCK to some new people. I think some changes to the social media missions could be helpful for next year’s event. As always, things like this are evolutionary and some of the feedback has been shared to GORUCK HQ as well as on the event Facebook page as to minor tweaks. By the time we finished, we had done a bit over 10.5 miles in the course of 7+ hours. Now my focus shifts on preparation for the upcoming Double Heavy in April. That’ll be quite the experience, no doubt.