A dozen teams from Cape Cod and beyond will compete in eighth annual Ruck4HIT, a one-of-a kind relay race sponsored by Heroes in Transition, to be held May 5 and 6.
The deadine to register is Wednesday, March 15.
Training sessions for the spring Ruck4HIT relay race are open to the public.To register for the race, which starts at the Courtyard Restaurant and Pub in Bourne, around 12:30 a.m. on Friday, May 5, and concludes roughly 36 hours later on Saturday, May 6, at Cape Cod Coffee on Route 130 in Mashpee, visit www.ruck4hit.org. Teams must have a minimum of seven runners and two drivers. People can also sign up as a night support runner.
Funds raised from the Ruck4HIT go to support Heroes In Transition’s work which provides critical assistance to veterans, service members, and military families in our region through more than 12 different programs.
“The Ruck4HIT is a great opportunity to test yourself physically and mentally while making a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and families who sacrifice so much for our country,” said HIT Executive Director Nicole Spencer. “There’s no other race like this that brings together people from throughout the country – men and women of all ages; civilians, service members, and veterans – who are challenging themselves to do the extraordinary while working towards one common goal.”
Spencer and HIT Board Member Savannah Fabbio are co-organizing the race which started in 2016 when one team of 12 runners and four support personnel spent 41 hours rucking from Ground Zero in New York City to Falmouth. Since then, the event has shifted to the Cape with multiple teams rucking through all 15 towns in Barnstable County.
The event is intentionally grueling with runners wearing a 10- to 20-pound rucksack which symbolizes the burdens military and veterans carry with them in service to our country. During the race, each runner runs a 2- to 4-mile leg before switching off with a teammate.
“The rucksack is what differentiates this race from so many others,” said Fabbio, who is captaining the Ruck4HIT team Worst Pace Scenario. “It reminds us of why we’re doing this race and that there are people who are serving and have served in the military who struggle with issues many of us can never comprehend.”
The Ruck4HIT has two divisions: Jethro and Jones. Jethro refers to the call sign of Captain Eric Jones who was killed in a helicopter crash while flying a combat mission in Afghanistan in October 2009. Teams in the Jethro division are allowed one van, 7 runners and 2 drivers, and have to raise a minimum of $5,000 to support HIT. Teams in the Jones Division can have up to two vans, up to 14 runners, up to four drivers, and are required to raise a minimum of $8,000.
So far, a dozen teams have signed up for this year’s Ruck4HIT with participants from throughout Cape Cod, including Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, Cotuit, Hyannis, Brewster and Yarmouth, as well as participants from off-Cape communities, including Plymouth, Duxbury, Lowell, Clinton, Hanover, Kingston, Marlboro, New Bedford, and Dedham. Out-of-state competitors will be traveling from Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, Florida, and Colorado.
Since December, Craig Frand of Warwick, Rhode Island, has taken part in weekly training runs on the Cape as he prepares for his first-ever Ruck4HIT. While he’s unsure what to expect come May, he explained why he’s been so invested in the race.
“I’m a big believer that we need to take really good care of our veterans. It’s our responsibility as a community and as a society to take care of them,” he said.
Training sessions, open to the public, are taking place Monday mornings at 6 a.m. at Shipwrecked in Falmouth Heights; Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. at The Lanes in Mashpee Commons; and Saturday mornings at 7:45 a.m. at Cape Cod Coffee on Route 130 in Mashpee.
Organizers are seeking volunteers to assist with the opening ceremony, finish-line party, and along the race route. To learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
They are also seeking sponsors for this year’s Ruck4HIT. The deadline to sponsor the race is March 31. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, email email@example.com.
Current Ruck4HIT Sponsors are the George and Betty Dutton Foundation; Ride 22; In Memory of Eric and Ken Jones; Lewis A. Young V.F.W. Post 3152; Cape Cod 5 Foundation; Rogers & Marney, Inc.; RogersGray; Mashpee Pops; Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners; The Loft; Franzago Financial; IntePros; Barnstable Police Department; Dalpe Excavation, Inc.; and Cape Cod Coffee.