Hard Things Form Durable Bonds

Five years ago, when F3 was still in its relative infancy, Tim and I began looking for events to challenge and strengthen the bonds among the men in our growing group. The daily workouts were good and getting better, but we were finding that they did not deliver the kind of impact and challenge that the Marine Corps Mud Run or a Spartan Race presented. It was in our search for even harder things than those, that we discovered GORUCK.

F3’s first GORUCK was in Charlotte in July of 2012, on what turned out to be a day of record heat in the city. At the time we had no idea what we were getting into, GORUCK being too new to have produced the level of Internet coverage it now enjoys. As a result, our training for the first one consisted mostly of ruck runs, which turned out to be about the one thing that provided no benefit at all in the real event. And yet, we somehow made it through that long, hard night, forming bonds that persist to this day.

Today, F3  offers hundreds of workouts in more than 20 states, and we still do GORUCK events. My last four have been as part of The Iron Project’s GrowRuck program, which originated in our efforts to help men in relatively new F3 locations strengthen and grow the leadership in their groups. Originally, Tim and I just led a workout and taught a class (what we called Grow School), but we found that we needed something more, something hard to achieve the full effect. So, we tacked a GORUCK challenge on to the Grow School -- and GrowRuck was born. And it has worked. Surviving a GORUCK event together forges tight bonds..

Seeing the success of GrowRuck with the F3 men with whom we pioneered it was a primary factor in our decision to offer The Iron Project -- and GrowRuck -- to companies and other organizations looking to sharpen their teams’ leadership skills.

Although we are not sure exactly why GORUCK challenges work so well, we do know that they are at their base level very hard, both physically and mentally.  A GORUCK Light is 4-5 hours and covers 7-10 miles. While this event is less physical and more fun and educational, it still challenges participants to push past many self-determined limits.

A GORUCK Tough is 10-12 hours long and covers 15-20 miles. It is a test of endurance. It deprives the participant of sleep and physical comfort. It reveals both the finite capacity of each person’s individual will to persist through pain and fatigue while laying bare the infinite capacity of the group’s collective determination to finish a difficult journey together.

In just a few hours, a GORUCK challenge confronts participants with their own shallow bottom as lone wolves, while exposing them to the infinite reaches of their potential as team members. Because it is a hard thing, GORUCK forces the choice between the very few things that can be done alone and what is possible collectively. After seeing what is possible when you couple an individual’s desire to be part of a team with a group’s commitment to leave no one behind, who would choose going it alone?

The Iron Project would love to work with GORUCK and your team to build a customized event that yields the Durable Bonds Formed By Hard Things. Contact us to learn more.

Dave Redding