Twelve teams, nearly 125 participants, and more than 100 volunteers will come together this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for the eighth annual Ruck4HIT.
The one-of-a-kind event raises awareness for the sacrifices made by service members and veterans, and funds which provide critical assistance to individuals who are serving and have served our country. The public is invited to celebrate the impact of the event on Saturday, May 6, starting at 10 a.m. and running through the afternoon, as part of the Ruck4HIT Finish Line Party at Cape Cod Coffee on Route 130 in Mashpee. “There is nothing like the Ruck4HIT. We encourage people to come out on Saturday to recognize the commitment made by all who participate in and help organize this event,” said Heroes In Transition (HIT) Executive Director Nicole Spencer. “Each person involved in the Ruck4HIT has a personal reason why they are doing it. Some are actively serving or are veterans. Others have family or friends who have served. The common thread is they all understand that what they are doing pales in comparison to what our military, our veterans, and their families endure in service to our country.”
The Ruck4HIT will kick off on Thursday, May 4 around 11:30 p.m. with an opening ceremony at the Courtyard Restaurant & Pub in Cataumet. From there, the teams — they each consist of a minimum of seven runners and two drivers — will walk one mile together to the start of the Shining Sea Bikeway in North Falmouth, where the run will begin around 1 am on May 5.
Teams will make their way to Provincetown and back to Mashpee, passing through every town on Cape Cod. Each runner will run a 2- to 4-mile leg while wearing a 10- to 20-pound rucksack which symbolizes the burdens carried on a daily basis by our country’s service members and veterans.
There are several stops along the way which serve as a reminder of the purpose of the Ruck4HIT. It includes the first food stop for teams early Friday morning at Cyndy Jones’s Mashpee home. The Ruck4HIT is the largest fundraiser for HIT, a Mashpee-based nonprofit that was formed by Cyndy and her late husband Kenneth following the loss of their only son U.S. Marine Captain Eric A. Jones who was killed in a helicopter crash while flying a combat mission in Afghanistan in October 2009.
With over a dozen programs, HIT’s services encompass not only service members and veterans, but military spouses, military couples, and military families.
Participants from Cape Cod and throughout Massachusetts, as well as New Hampshire, Missouri, Colorado, New York, and Pennsylvania will descend upon the region, dedicating 36 hours this week to strengthen HIT’s work.
The public can support their efforts with a donation at www.ruck4hit.org.
They can also attend the Finish Line Party at Cape Cod Coffee which will feature live music by Rick Lockwood of Monument Beach, food and drink, raffles, and the opportunity to purchase HIT and Ruck4HIT apparel. Megan and Mike Faulkner of East Falmouth, who sit on the Ruck4HIT Organizing Committee, are helping to coordinate the party; Mike will serve as the MC, announcing teams as they cross the finish line.
“This is truly a community event, and we hope the Cape community comes out on Saturday to join us in a celebration of what people can achieve when they set out to make a difference in the lives of others,” said HIT Board Member Savannah Fabbio of East Falmouth, who not only is helping to organize the event, but is captaining a team, Worst Pace Scenario. She’ll be running in honor of her parents Doreen and Kent Landry who both served in the Marines.
This year’s Ruck4HIT is sponsored by the George and Betty Dutton Foundation; Ride 22; In Memory of Eric and Ken Jones; In Memory of Mike McGrail; Cape Cod Coffee; Shamrock Home Loans; Avery Murray Flaherty; Lewis A. Young VFW Post 3152; Mashpee Pops; Liz Forgue Licensed Mental Health Counselor; Cape Cod Retractable, Inc.; ARK Behavioral Health; Cape Cod 5 Foundation; Financial Independence; RogersGray; Independent Painting Company; Cape Cod Rehab; NextGrid; Eastern Bank Foundation; CMS Landscape; Capewide Construction, Inc.; Rogers & Marney, Inc.; and Cape Cod Sea Excursions.