Behind the Scenes of Selection 018 (Part 1)




Annually, we run an event called GORUCK Selection. It’s the only event that we recommend you NOT sign up for. It’s 48+ hours and it’s patterned after Special Forces Assessment and Selection. The Cadre’s role is to get participants to quit and the pass rate is ~2%.

The good news if you’re checking this out is that it makes for excellent theater, not to mention a great place to test and prove our gear.

I’m from southern Ohio, and my dad lives in Bellbrook. We selected it as the site because I enjoy sharing my roots with Cadre and participants. It’s some insight into why GORUCK is the way it is, including why finding a spot for another picture to hang on the wall at HQ is so tough. Luckily, my dad’s property also happens to be a perfect spot to safely run Selection because it sits on the high ground of rolling farmland and the Little Miami River is right there, at the bottom of the hill.

Boots on the ground planning starts with breakfast. When you’re in town, you have to visit the Blueberry Cafe, and meet the Muffin Man. My typical diet is Wheat Thins and Budweiser, and even I can’t resist this place. Nick thought he’d caught a unicorn with this photo, and good on him. Maybe he did.


Oh yeah, here’s my dad. He and Leslie are the best hosts around. If he ever actually lets you buy him a beer, I’ll buy you one. “Beer is what money’s for” is one of his sayings. We took over his garage for six (6) days to execute Selection.

GORUCK Tough Tee simple-pant

Past Selection finishers helped us throughout, and we all stared at some Ranger TV by night.



The Cadre flip a switch. This isn’t GORUCK Light, it’s Selection. Cody even went so far as to channel that SEAL from G.I. Jane. It’s a nice look, don’t you think?

GORUCK Ruck Plate

As participants lined up, full of hope, the loudest noise is their silence. And then, the toughest endurance event in the world kicks off…



The quiet passes and the storm is here. The dubiously named Good-Bye Party at GORUCK Selection is 4 hours. Not a minute less, not a minute more. It’s loud, it’s intense, it’s stressful. Tonight, it’s a low of 39 degrees. Up the hill down the hill in the water rucks over your head on your belly on your back on your feet push up position roll left roll right on your feet top of the hill and back.

It pays to be a winner on your mark get set go.


Rucks Overhead

In my dad’s backyard, the fire is warm, the burgers are just coming off the grill, and the beer promises a more civilized experience.

Meanwhile, the participants who are still in it are low crawling, dragging their 55 lb. rucks by their side. “If the participant in front of you is too slow, dominate them.” The Cadre rotate and flow, picking off the wounded gazelles one by one, a dance of destruction passed down through the Special Forces communities from which we hail.

At first light, only 4 participants remain.

And the easy part is over. They still have to face the same 7 Cadre, and the miles, and the weight. The first of many iterations of the Devil’s Mile is slotted. Pick your sandbag up, toss it forward. Pick it up, do it again. It’s a mile around the soybean field, and they don’t know how many times they’ll do it.


It pays to be a winner on your mark get set go.

Alex and Patrick call it a day, one after the other. They’re soon by the fire, the Cadre are explaining how well they were doing. In that moment, they thought they couldn’t go any further

At the 24 hour mark, 2 participants remain.

Roster 035:  “I passed Selection the day I signed up for it.”