This AAR is from the 2017 GORUCK Light Memorial Day event in Seattle, Washington.
- Cadre: Roony
- Event Type: GORUCK Light
- Location: Seattle, WA
- Special Event: Memorial Day 2017
- Time: 5 Hours
- Distance: Roughly 8 Miles
Packing List & Gear
I’m breaking the gear list out into three categories: event gear, post-event gear, and extra gear.
- GORUCK Rucker (Review): You need a backpack and this is our favorite for events.
- All Day Ruckoff Reflective Padded Handle: Makes the PT a bit easier.
- Carabiners (2): Needed to secure the padded handles.
- All Day Ruckoff HVS-V Reflective Strap: Reflective straps are required.
- Source Hydration Bladder (3L): Both ours (and GORUCK’s) favorite bladder.
- GORUCK Sternum Strap: Not shown and handy for distributing the weight.
- GORUCK Hip Belt: Handy for moving the weight from the shoulders to the hips.
- Princeton Tec EOS Headlamp (Review): Required, although never used.
- ITW Grimloc: Perfect for securing the bladder’s hose.
- Drivers License: Required.
- $20: Cab fare, required.
- Credit Card: Makes buying a beer afterwards easier.
- SSG. Matthew Pucino Biography: The soldier I was rucking for.
- Dry Bag (Review): Perfect for keeping food and gear dry.
- Quest Bars (2): Food for the event.
- 20 lb Ruck Plate: The required weight for the GORUCK Light event.
- Merchanix Gloves (Review): Makes PT easier on the hands.
- Pelican Case 1120: Used to store valuables. The 1120 is the smallest waterproof case that Pelican Case makes.
- Garmin Fenix 5X: Stored in Pelican Case, used for tracking event time & distance.
- Phone: Stored in Pelican Case.
Everything fit nicely in the GORUCK Rucker and I wouldn’t have changed anything here. When it comes to clothing I switched it up a little with this one. I haven’t worn shorts to an event since roughly 2011 but, with the temperature hitting 80 degrees, thought trying out the GORUCK Simple Shorts might be a nice idea.
- Shirt: GORUCK Rucking T-Shirt
- Shorts: GORUCK Simple Shorts
- Hat: GORUCK Mesh Tac Hat
- Underwear: ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Brief
- Socks: Darn Tough
- Shoes: Brooks Adrenaline (with over 1,000 miles on them)
I wouldn’t have changed anything about the clothing either. The shoe conversation comes up often and I wear my 4 year old Brooks Adrenaline shoes to prove that it doesn’t really matter for the shorter events. More important than the “best boots/shoes” are shoes that simply fit you well.
The post-event gear is pretty standard at this point and is designed to refuel and comfort you after completing your event. We’ve got…
- Bag: Need to store all this gear in something. We use either the GORUCK 32L Kit Bag or GORUCK Gym Bag.
- T-Shirt: It’s nice to put something clean on.
- Sweat/Workout Pants: Need to get out of the raggedy and smelly event pants.
- Sandals: Gotta let those feet breath! These GORUCK sandals only cost $2 when we bought them.
- Protein Powder: Helps refuel the body.
- Blender Bottle: Filled to the top with water. Drink down to ~6oz then pour in protein powder.
- Protein Bar: Something to eat while you figure out your real post-event food plan.
- Towel: Nice to dry off (if wet) and protect your car from yourself.
All this stuff lived in the trunk of the car during the event. Temps outside got to 80 degrees during the day so the water was a little warm at the end but it was still better than nothing.
The day of the event I remembered to pack a few extra items.
- Nalgene Water Bottle: 80 degree day so extra water never hurts.
- PACElid: To hold the candy.
- Candy: Candy.
- Sun Screen: Lots of sun so brought extra in the ruck.
- Plastic Bags: For dirty clothes and shoes.
The only item that was packed for the event was the sunscreen… the rest stayed in the car for after the event.
Our team weight was two wooden poles chained together with the names of every 9/11 victim hand-written on them. It was incredible and whenever I carried it I found myself reading through the list of names. This is one of those team weights that you will always remember.
As you might have heard all GORUCK Light, Tough, and Heavy events now require a team service component. As a team we pitched in a number of different items then raffled them off through various Facebook groups. The proceeds of the raffle were donated to the family of Sgt. Michael Mantenuto who left behind a wife and two children.
After the event Cadre Roony drew the winner from a dry bag used during the event. In total we raised over $1,000 which is incredible and something I am very proud to have been part of.
GORUCK Light Memorial Day 2017
The majority of the event pictures were taken by Cadre Roony (huge thanks for that!) and a few others were taken by our awesome shadows.
The event started at 2 pm which is the typical GORUCK Light start time with the start location at Myrtle Edwards Park. We’ve had a few events start there in the past including both the St. Patrick’s Day Tough and Light events.
It was already in the mid-70’s when I parked the car and was only getting hotter. I had originally brought sun screen to put on before the event but figured I should bring it along in case anyone needed some… and am I glad I did.
The start point was beautiful but we were just baking in the sun… which is why we found some nice shade. It wouldn’t last long though…
… since we ended up forming the team on the nice gravel in the above picture. Fun fact… this was taken right before that girl on the right let her dog off the leash which she then proceeded to chase all around the park.
We lined up alphabetically on the gravel for gear inspection which was easily 10 degrees hotter than the shade we had been standing in before.
Roll call was an interesting situation. Although we were in alphabetical order the first five or so names called were not present. We joked with the Cadre that he might not have the correct list with him… but turns out he did. Only nineteen people showed up and my guess is there were easily thirty or forty on the list.
When we got through roll call it was off to the races… so to speak. We were split up into two teams and started off playing the name game.
Most name games suck… a lot. The common one is that you’re tasked to learn all of the names on the team. Once one person gets it right then the name game ends. This is fine but there really isn’t any team accountability… if you have just one person good at memorization no one else needs to remember anything.
This game was different in that we only had to remember the names on our smaller unit AND we all had to remember them. We stood in a circle facing away from each other. Roony would select an individual and then point to someone within their unit. The individual selected would have to name them… if they got it correct then they got to sit down. If they failed then the other team had a chance and if they got it correct the original team was required to do PT.
Now most people who know me know that I am absolutely terrible at remembering names. Name games are much more difficult for me than carrying heavy logs or extra PT. This game was great because I actually remembered all of the names within our smaller unit… a small victory for me!
We rucked a few miles through Seattle and ended up at a nice park in Seattle. We ended up playing another game (PT for the losing team… not us!) and then found this bizarre glider thing.
We had to work together as a team to get all of our gear and ourselves from one side of the glider to the other. There were rules in place but I think we broke nearly all of them and were punished with burpees.
In the end we got everyone to the other side with truly only seconds to spare. From this park we rucked north through Seattle to another really nice park where we ended up sharing the stories from the people we were rucking for. No pictures of that park and location but it was a few miles and had some wonderful hills. We spent a good twenty minutes giving everyone time to speak about the individual they had chosen to ruck for. It was a very emotional time as many participants were rucking for friends who had passed while serving. It was definitely an emotional and very special twenty minutes.
From there we rucked to a third location where we did another team competition. Our team won three out of three events here as well… we were crushing it. All of the games were relay in nature and some were pretty creative.
I keep looking over the event page to see if more pictures have been uploaded for this part but unfortunately nothing yet… the losing team had to do something really, really special: A short of elephant walk + roll that was truly amazing to watch.
Back to the start we went! We lined up expecting endex but were slightly mistaken… there was one last lovely task at hand.
A tunnel of love! The entire team lined up and absolutely everyone had to make it through. This was new to a lot of the group and it was fun to watch their reactions once things started going.
With the tunnel of love completed we finally hit endex! It was great receiving the patch and finally meeting Cadre Roony in person. More important than the patch were the memories made, stories shared, and reason for our being there.
Overall the event was really well run and stayed true to the ideals of Memorial Day. I am so glad I was able to take part in it and would sign up for another Memorial Day GORUCK event in a heartbeat.
I tracked the course using my Garmin Fenix 5X stored in the Pelican Case. When I track my courses I upload them all into Garmin Connect (shown below) then have them transferred into Strava (shown above.) It’s always interesting to see the GPS smoothing that is done between the two programs.
I would argue that the distance Garmin gives is slightly more accurate because it doesn’t have all of the zig-zags that appear in the Strava course. In the end it doesn’t really matter… what matters is that the event was amazing and is a GORUCK Light I will never forget.