Where to start… This wasn’t just any Goruck event, this was the first of its kind. Goruck combined with the history of the Revolution. We would walk the path of the revolution, reliving the history and learning about it.
It started at Minuteman Park in Concord MA. 4am rolled around and it began. The group of 52 GRT’s were split into two patrols of 26. I was part of patrol 2, my new family for the next 24 hours. Each patrol was given a 50lb team weight; crates of “tea”. We started with a lesson on buddy carries, and then we began our journey. We left Concord and headed to Lexington. On the way we learnt all about terrain, and the advantages/disadvantages of the terrain in 1776 and how it affected the revolution. On route to Lexington we were “ambushed” and had to perform different crawls and maneuvers. Patrol 2 were sloppy, and we were punished. We had to lie on our stomach’s in a pool of thick mud and ice cold water. Needless to say we tried not to make many mistakes after this.
As the only Brit participating in the event I was learning a lot. I wasn’t really taught about the revolution at school, so a lot of this information was new. It was exciting to be learning and such a hands on way.
Almost 8 hours after we began we arrived at Lexington. On Lexington common a re-enactment of combat during the revolutionary war was taking place. We were given the rare opportunity in a goruck event, we were able to rest. I enjoyed watching the re-enactment. It was sunny and warm, and it was nice to be off my feet.
After some class photos we were off again. We headed along the minuteman bikeway that takes you to Cambridge. Patrol 2 spent the majority of this time doing Indian sprints. I was ATL (assistant team leader) for this leg of the journey. Personally I do not enjoy being TL/ATL. Shouting at people and making them do things sucks. I’d rather be told what to do than give out the orders. And indian runs suck… They’re terrible.
After what felt like forever, we made it to Cambridge. I began to recognize my surroundings, it gave me an energy boost. We crossed the Charles and headed towards Boston common. We stopped at the memorial for the two fallen firefighters of Boston. It was extremely moving. Cadre Andy taught us about goruck and what it means to him. It was difficult not to get upset.
We reached the Common late afternoon. There were lots of people there, the majority of which stared at us as we passed, a few even asked what we were about. Thankfully there were porta-potties at the common for the marathon, so we were able to take a somewhat civilized bathroom break. I sucked down a Fuel For Fire pack (delicious!) and then we did PT. Patrol 2 had to complete 10 burpees in unison. This may seem easy but everyone had a 30-60lb ruck on and there were 26 of us. Getting the timing right was hard. After PT we hit the freedom trail. I’ve lived in the Boston area for over 5 years and I have never walked the freedom trail. When we reached the Boston harbor Cadre Andy told us all about the Boston tea party. In the 1800’s locals caught with tea were tarred and feathered. So someone was tarred and feathered with maple syrup and feathers from a pillow.
At this point it was maybe 8pm and we had been going for 16 hours. I was getting tired but what was worse was that my feet were starting to hurt. As night fell upon us people started to lose energy and negativity was spreading through the patrols like the flu. I stayed silent and just focused on myself. I tried not to listen to the negative comments or complaints.
When we completed the freedom trail we made our way back to Cambridge to Fort Washington. We had no idea how many miles we had covered, or what time it was. It was after midnight when we reached Fort Washington. We were taught about the cannons the colonial men dragged to Dorchester Heights in the middle of the night back in 1776. The next leg was to carry “cannons” and “cannonballs” (logs and huge rocks) from Fort Washington to Dorchester Heights, recreating what the colonial men did.
Exhaustion had set in and carrying 5 logs and maybe a dozen rocks was hard. Each log took between 2-5 people to carry. I’m 5’3” and I couldn’t carry the log, my shoulder couldn’t touch the log because I was too small. Looking back on it now (after sleep) I should have made more of an effort to find more people of my height to carry a log. Instead I carried a “cannonball”. It was brutal.
We carried all of this through Boston and the Back Bay. At one point a police car drove passed us and called out over the speak “the British are coming!” The spirit throughout the city had been amazing and completely unexpected. We had met so many GRTs, it was wonderful.
Eventually we reached the bottom of Dorchester Heights. All that stood in front of us was a hill, a steep hill. We all motivated each other the keep going. This was our final push. Everyone gave it all they had. We reached the top of Dorchester Heights at sunrise. The view was absolutely beautiful. We dropped the logs and rocks and got into formation. I thought it was over. My feet were so sore, and my shoulders could barely stand the weight of my ruck anymore. Then Cadre Andy said we had to dig a little deeper because now we had to walk again. The final leg of our journey. I saw some tears start to fall. People were broken and in pain. I hung my head, I didn’t want to go on. I could feel my swollen feet, my hands were huge. I couldn’t stop though. I was going to carry on until someone told me to stop.
I picked up the team weight. It cut into my hand. My knee was bruised and swollen. Walking was difficult, let alone carrying 40lbs and half the weight of the team weight. We began walking down the hill to the gate. “Stop!” Cadre Andy shouted. We got into formation, he told us to assume the position of victory. It was over.
I felt so proud as I looked around. These people had become my family, brothers and sisters. We lined up. I felt a lump in my throat and my eyes got watery. I managed not to cry though. Cadre Garret hugged me and presented me my patch. The last 26 hours had all been worth it. We had covered 40.7 miles, the same amount of miles the colonials had in 1776. I had such a pride in the country I now made my home. I cracked open a Budweiser, sat on the grass, and smiled.