The events that occurred on 9/11/2001 will be forever etched into my mind. While I was not directly affected by the events, everything changed that day. The September monthly ruck was an event to remember and honor those that lost their life that day, and those that sprang to action, and continue to keep us safe on a daily basis.
McAfee and I arrived slightly earlier than most to be able to verify our plan. The setup was fairly simple. Setup was staging the team weight for the ruck, and opening a gate. The team weight consisted of a fire department rescue mannequin named “Ruth Lee” that I estimated to weigh approximately 180 lbs, 2 – 100 foot sections of 5 inch supply line weighing about 100 lbs each, 2 – 100 foot “High Rise” hose bundles weighing 40 lbs each, and a cooler with an unknown weight.
To start the party, McAfee had us circle up and each PAX explained why they chose to be there that morning. Followed up by a quick 10 rep count of a chosen exercise. At this time, I can’t remember everyone’s “why”, but I assure you it was a moving experience. If you want a short video of Smurf Jacks with a ruck, here it is.
To carry the supply line hose, I had pushed a closet rod through the middle to make it a 2 person carry. Well, we didn’t even make it out of the parking lot before the rod bent. Initially Focker and Tater Jackson alternated carrying this weight alone. The weight was manageable, but the bulk of it proved to be awkward, and eventually we unrolled the hose, and shouldered it over multiple PAX. In total the weight was shared across 12-14 PAX while covering approximately 1.25 miles.
Ruth Lee proved to be one heavy girl. While the backboard provided spots for 4-6 PAX to carry, the weight was all above the waist. Essentially 2 PAX carried 80-90% of the weight, with the others just assisting with balance.
Once we arrived at the destination McAfee spoke of two different flights that were involved, being Flight 77, and Flight 11. So we did a modified “Elevens.” One one side of the field we would do 11 Overhead Claps, and then mosey to the far side and do 77 Mountain Climbers, and then mosey back to the starting point. Adding 11 to the Overhead Claps, and reducing the Mountain Climbers by 11 each round.
We then gathered our weight, and proceeded to ruck back to the original starting location. Along the mile ruck we stopped at the North Oldham Fire Station, and took a moment to give thanks to our first responders, grab a drink, and hear of Jeffrey’s story (Friend of Focker, ask him about it.)
We completed the ruck back the starting location, ditching the team weight, and proceeding to the football field. At the field, we would complete approximately 1920 stairs. The stadium has 16 steps per “flight” and 6 “flights. For those interested, I distributed 20 pennies. Once you completed a full lap, you would drop a penny into a bucket. When you ran out of pennies, you were done.
Time eventually got us, with most PAX completing the 1920 steps, and others sticking around later to make sure to get them all. Eventually there were a total of 24 PAX that showed up to put in the work, with a few extra friends from my fire department.
While rucking the mileage, it really shows the team mentality. Rotating PAX through the different items, guys jumping straight from one weight to another, without rest. Each item hitting a different muscle, or specific arm. Some PAX would carry the heavy end of Ruth Lee on the left side, and then switch to the other side. Others maybe rotated from the foot the to head. Everyone just jumping in where they can, or where needed. Which is exactly what I think took place on 9/11. “Regular” people helping where ever they could. On this day a bunch of regular guys decided to get up early, push one another, and get better.
To support our local first responders, we collected donations to send to Supporting Heroes. In total we collected about $290 toward that cause. Thank you for the support!