Rucking Around

Rucksack – from German dialect, Rucken (back) + Sack (sack)

Rucking is simply walking while wearing a backpack. You can run with the backpack, squat with the backpack, do pushups with it, but regardless, you’re still rucking. We asked Danny Stokes, founder of the Capital Ruck Tour, for more information on this fitness trend and his upcoming event.

For those unfamiliar with rucking, how would you explain it?

In the U.S. Army, Soldiers refer to a backpack as a rucksack, and in order to be prepared for the missions that require carrying a heavy rucksack for long distances, soldiers will train by doing a ruck march. In Army lingo, the “doing a ruck march” shortened to simply going for a ‘ruck.’ This term has spread to the non-military population, as companies like GORUCK lead ruck challenge events.

There are varying levels of intensity and difficulty involved with rucking. It can be carrying a 10-pound rucksack of groceries a few blocks home from the store to carrying a 45-pound ruck for over 24 hours, with no sleep, covering up to 40 miles while performing fitness tasks along the way, as with the GORUCK Heavy Challenge.

The events I’m leading this year for the Capital Ruck Tour (CRT) are on the easier side of the spectrum, where participants usually carry a light ruck of 15-20 pounds. Rucking helps develop strong shoulders, your back and trunk and leg strength. It’s also a rewarding social activity, as people tend to socialize and build fellowship

Why would I want to go rucking?

People ruck for physical fitness, or to prepare for endeavors that require carrying a load for a long distance, such as a backpacking trip. People ruck to relieve stress, decompress or as a means of transportation while carrying their necessities with them. Rucking is basically the same as hiking, although hiking indicates trails and wilderness, and some people hike without a backpack. Rucking also occurs on trails and off-road, but the majority happens in urban or city environments, on sidewalks and pavement. Rucking is usually not associated with racing, although GORUCK did a race series recently.

Do I need special equipment or can I just throw a few bricks into a backpack?

No special equipment is required. A backpack with any contents will suffice. Bricks work, although I’d wrap them in duct tape or pad them inside your rucksack.

Tell me about the Capital Ruck Tour.

The Capital Ruck Tour began in February this year and will end this November and stops at all 50 state capital cities, plus four other locations. Each ruck event begins in the early evening, usually a short distance outside the city, and covers a route of 15-20 miles, culminating at the city’s Capitol building normally around midnight. The purpose is two-fold: to bring people together while conducting an outdoor physical activity and to raise money for Operation Enduring Warrior (OEW).

How many participants do you expect in Raleigh?

Currently there are 30 people registered for Raleigh, however I expect that number to increase to approximately 100 participants.

Tell me a little bit about where the donated money is going.

Participants pay $30, half of which is donated to OEW, a veteran services organization. OEW is an all-volunteer, veteran-run, non-profit organization with the mission to honor, empower and motivate our nation’s wounded military veterans through a program of mental and physical rehabilitation. I am a team athlete with OEW and strongly believe that the organization is helping overcome the veteran suicide epidemic.

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