SOF Opinion of Agoge/GORUCK/Death Race

Candidates push and pull a make shift vehicle during the Team Week phase of the Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection course, Jan 22, in the woods of North Carolina near Camp Mackall. Team Week is designed to evaluate the candidate’s behaviors to determine their potential to be a member of the Special Forces Regiment. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Marcus Butler, USASOC Public Affairs)

I thought it was a good time to write this article since the most the recent events of Spartan 12 Hour Hurricane Heat, Agoge.  Despite what you may think, most of the people I talk to in Special Operations Forces (SOF) have never heard of GORUCK, Death Race, SISU, Agoge or other selection based events.

While they are aware of fitness classes loosely based on military training like “boot camps”, the thought of paying money to go through an event similar to selection is both confusing and bizarre.

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As a member of the military we have to apply to go to selection events like Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS).  SFAS is what events like GORUCK (light/heavy/tough/selection) and the Green Beret Challenge are based on.  Other events bare less of a resemblance but the principles tend to be the same.  Things like unknown distance movements, completing tasks that seem impossible, carrying heavy things for long distances, navigating through the woods and sleep deprivation are all pulled from the world of military selection events.

However, when I tell other SOF guys that people pay money to go through a variation of selection, whether it is 8 hours like a GORUCK Light or an entire weekend like GORUCK Selection, they are baffled.  “People pay to go get treated like garbage?”  Yeah, they do.  My peers and I have trouble understanding it because for us, selection not only gives you access to a “club” but is a career change.  These events and the subsequent year plus of training will change your job title, give you increased pay, more responsibility and present you with future opportunities previously unavailable.

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As someone who straddles both worlds, large parts of me agree with the rest of the SOF community, but I also understand why civilians pay to be treated this way.   There is a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with completing these events.  It is of an intrinsic value that cannot be calculated via a price tag.

While you will never see me at these types of events as a participant being treated like garbage for 48 hours, I have been to several of them.  To me, it is just too much like work, except I am not being paid.  It opens very few (if any) doors and it is typically a watered down version of the real thing (based off what I have witnessed at a GORUCK event).  I am also as qualified, or more qualified, than the instructor leading the event.  I recently heard a podcast with one of the organizers of Agoge and he did not seem to have any exceptional physical ability or special qualifications, besides working at Spartan HQ that would bestow upon him the task to treat people so harshly.

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Regardless of how poorly you are treated over a weekend, it is hard to compare these to selection events which typically last a couple of weeks and their subsequent courses, a couple of months.  The length and grind of military selection events add a significant amount of difficulty even if the shorter civilian versions can have moments that are harder.  I am not saying this to try to take away from people who have completed the Death Race or other similar events have accomplished, just trying to stress what makes them different.  For example, I have seen another soldier fall asleep standing up and hit the ground face first.  After waking up embarrassed with everyone laughing, he proceeded to do the same thing five minutes later.  That is definition of exhausted. Personally, I have also fallen asleep three or four times trying to open a piece of gum, which should take all of about 15 seconds.  I have also hallucinated in at night, a common occurrence when sleep deprived, usually consisting of seeing people and objects that do not exist.  But even worse I have hallucinated in broad daylight (I saw what resembled those hairless monkey creatures from Galaxy Quest), a truly bizarre experience.  Most information I have read suggests that extreme sleep deprivation results in parts of your brain “sleeping” while the other parts continue to function in an attempt to get rest.  What does extreme sleep deprivation mean? Ranger School says you average four hours of sleep a night for 61 days.  In actuality, it is more like six hours some nights and two hours on nights when you are patrolling, which still averages out to about four hours.
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How do I explain the appearance of athletes like the current Spartan World Champion at Agoge?  Well, I would bet he received free entry to the event since he is part of the Spartan Pro Team.  I would be shocked if I found out he paid money besides maybe some travel costs for an event similar to selection.

For civilians looking to find their limits, challenge themselves and feel like what it means to be in a military selection course for a couple of hours, they are great.  Of note, we do not get treated the way you do in these events all the time, it is typically for a period of a couple of days or weeks.  Eventually the “torture” turns into training, which is also difficult but in a different way.  If you are fan of these events, go out there pay money to find your limits, but if you are looking for my coworkers or I to join you, we will just be cheering you on from the sidelines.

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Photo Credits

First Death Race photo from http://929theticket.com/.

First SFAS photo from BreachBangClear.com.

Second Death Race photo from Mud Run Fun.

BUD/S photo from welcometocoronado.com.

Rifle PT SFAS photo from BreachBangClear.com.

Space Monkey photo from Galaxy Quest movie and star2.com.

Final SFAS photo from flickriver.com.

Operator OCR

Operator OCR is an active duty member of the US Military’s Special Operation Forces.Due to mission requirements, he prefers to remain unidentified by true name.A combat veteran with numerous years spent operating in a combat zones, he enjoys racing OCRs in his free time.You may recognize him by face or name, since he is often, but not always, on the podium of races.

“If you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do… the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

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Comments

  1. Cadre Garet says

    Well written article! I would respectfully disagree with almost all of your points, but well written regardless.

    There is a big difference between being in charge, and giving instruction to a large group of people, and being “treated like garbage”. I have been around hundreds of GORUCK events and have never seen anyone treated like “garbage” by the Cadre in my opinion.

    I could not disagree more with “cheering from the sidelines”. GORUCK, and most other OCR companies started by Veterans, have a “Bridging the Gap” mentality when it comes to military and civilian life. Articles like this widen that help to widen that gap. I have worked with several GORUCK Cadre who are/were senior NCO’s and/or officers in SOF who state that leading and participating in GORUCK events is the best therapy they have ever had. Being shoulder to shoulder with a current or future operator is one thing, but being shoulder to shoulder with a banker, or house wife, or auto mechanic who only wants to know what it is like to wear our boots for a day is both extremely humbling, and refreshing. The whole ‘restores your faith in humanity’ type thing.

    I invite you to try it out yourself, shoulder to shoulder with other civilians, the same camaraderie that was forged with your brothers in arms through shared pain, sweat, and misery in SF Selection, is forged with CIVILIANS at one of these events. Shoot, hit me up personally and I’ll join you as a participant at an event (and yea, I’ll pay for it).

    Very respectfully,
    Cadre Garet

    • Preach!

    • Cadre Garet nailed it.

    • Exactly!!

    • I’m with Garet on this one. I’ve done my fair share of these events (GORUCK) and have never felt like the cadre treated me like garbage. It’s simply this: “there is a standard. Meet it or not its up to you. But no one is gonna hold your hand or feel sorry for you.” I think my genration could use a lot more of this. I personally do it for the perspective. Life isn’t as hard as we make it out to be in our head sometimes. Sometimes we need to be challenged to see that.

  2. I just did my first GORUCK this weekend and couldn’t disagree with this article more. Not only did I make a bunch of friends with the fellow GRTs, but also became friends with the cadre. I think people do these events because they like getting out of their comfort zone and being pushed to do more than they thought they could. Having someone help push you along the way is just part of it. The cadre are not treating you like garbage, they are simply helping people recognize they can do more than what they think they can.

  3. I’ve done around seven GORUCK events in the last 16 months or so. Most of these with different Cadre leading the event. I’ve never been treated like garbage only pushed to go farther than I ever thought I could WITH my team. Being a civilian I can only imagine what the real thing is like. I don’t do these events to try to be like the real thing though. I do them to push myself, learn to work with others as a team, AND to get to know some of the awesome guys that make up SOF. I’ve also heard first hand from the Cadre that doing these events helps them. Some of them I am blessed to be able to call my friends now. That’s worth it to me and many others I know. The community of people throughout the country that make up GORUCK has also pulled together to help our veterans and civilians in many ways. I can’t speak for AGOG or Spartan but GORUCK is not just another OCR business, they’re a group of people (civilian and military) who care and are about making better Americans. Hope to see you out there one day. Hell I’ll pay your entry fee:)

    Patrick

  4. I truly enjoyed this article!!

    Let me begin by thanking you for your service to our country! We owe you a great deal of gratitude.

    I am a civilian who has recently completed an endurance event like the ones you speak of in the article. They’re called The Gauntlet and The Gauntlet Sergeant. The Gauntlet is still in it’s infancy, but it is one of the most organized and well run events I have ever been a part of. There is one difference: we were never treated like garbage. Throughout the event, we were encouraged to dig deep and fight our inner demons, breaking down our perceived barriers. After my 14 hour race, I cried because I was in disbelief that I had actually finished. I didn’t quit like half of the other participants. In reality, I was much stronger, both mentally and physically, than I ever thought.

    I agree with you, that as a civilian, we take great pride in knowing we’ve accomplished tasks similar to our military. For many of us, it is about stepping so far out of our comfort zone that we have something to truly be proud of within ourselves. Personally, with that pride comes guilt. “If I can do this, why didn’t I just join the military?” It’s a question I’ve asked myself countless times since winning first place in The Gauntlet Sergeant. It’s a question I still cannot answer.

    Thank you again for this article.

  5. “Treated like garbage” is quite a harsh . Ive completed many GORUCK events and sure have been pushed well beyond my limits multiple times, but we are never treated like garbage.

  6. Willie Dengler says

    I also feel the article was well written, and disagree with a few points from my stance. The current Spartan Race World Champion, Robert Killian, currently serves in the Colorado National Guard and has competed in Best Ranger, OCR, Triathlons and challenges himself in a broad spectrum of events. He may have gotten a free entrance, but you can bet he attended the Agoge because he challenges himself regularly in these types of events.

    I have personally developed an affinity for Endurance events, OCR and Rucking in particular. I proposed to my girlfriend on the GORUCK Tough in SF on 2.13 and as past military, who had gone wayward over the last decade with drinking and a lack of care for my body, I find my household now strict in diet, training and discipline that I personally lacked for some time. I am getting my body back, gained control over my impulses, and it’s nice to feel challenged both mentally and physically again beside fellow veterans and civilians who respect getting in their PT while honoring the fallen.

    For some people, this is therapy. I know I’ll take a GRT and the lifestyle it takes to complete these types of events over anti-depressants any day.

  7. After reading this, my reaction is “opinions vary”. But then again, I always tell my kids “How do you know you don’t like something if you don’t try it?” I have found Goruck to be fun and meaningful to me. Some say it sounds crazy/stupid/painful etc. and I can’t argue. I like eating street hotdogs and super spicy hot sauce as well. It’s all part of life’s wondrous variety. I would hope that the author would do at least a Light, as those tend to be the most fun, before passing judgement

  8. Your personal disdain and lack of presenting an argument is unbecoming and quite boring.

  9. I can respect your opinions, thoughts and feelings regarding endurance event. Each person, whether they be participant or spectator, will take away what they will from these events, much like you have. I will also say that I have the same issue with coworkers when I discuss endurance events with them “You mean I have to pay someone so I can pretty much do my fucking job?” And we laugh and laugh and go on about our friendship. However, speaking from personal experience, I can say that I’ve done these events for my own personal reasons and none of them had anything to do with “trying to be military or SOF”. What you fail to realize, or lack understanding, due to your personal perception is that people do have other motives to do endurance events and team events that have nothing to do with trying to be military or trying to be something that they’re not. Some people are out there because those events push their limits, or they find a camaraderie within those events that is missing from their normal lives, or they’re determined to do something greater than they thought they could ever do. Don’t discount those motivations. Doing that is doing a disservice to people who are just trying to be better humans. And having met military personnel (past and present) at endurance events as leaders and participants, I can say that none of them ever displayed negative attitudes or disdain for what they were doing, and I sure as hell never witnessed them saying anything but encouraging words and motivations to the people around them. So I’ll have to take what you said as just opinion and not fact. As for the qualifications of the people who lead such endurance events, I can tell you that I am not from a military branch, nor have I ever professed to be military or pretended to military. I respect the hell out of our military personnel and come from a family with military tradition. However, as a wildland firefighter on a Hotshot crew, I can definitively tell you that I know all about endurance and that I do know, understand, am experienced in, and am qualified to lead, train and command. I have gained my experience in teamwork and team programming through my line of work, and although I have never had to face a human enemy intent on killing me, I have experience in a profession where a mistake can cause death and grave injury, where there is constant danger from the incident and environment, where sleep deprivation is the normal way of life, and having to still perform at a high physical level while under those conditions for two to four weeks at a time. I definitely understand and acknowledge that what I do may not compare to what you do, but when leading an event, I don’t “treat people like garbage” and I have yet to see any of the Spartan Endurance krypteia or Directors treat any of the people like “garbage” at an HH, HH12HR, or Agoge. Speaking from my personal approach to the events that I am associated with, most of what I do is fostered on teamwork and the foundational principles of teamwork and the applicable concept of communication and coordination. These are the same things that I have trained wildland firefighters to understand and implement in their careers. I’m certified, experienced, licensed, and effective in my craft and what I do and have done. The men and women that I have taught still use what they have learned and they have passed on that knowledge to others. I have led men and women in the field, facing some of the largest wildfires in the country, have had command control over multiple resources from personnel to aviation in these incidents, and I have led from the front, on the ground, routinely faced a hell of flame and crashing tree as we try and escape only to regroup and head back in with a new approach and operational plan. What other qualifications are needed for me to be “qualified to lead” in your opinion?

  10. “Operator OCR is an active duty member of the US Military’s Special Operation Forces.”

    1) Let me thank you from the very deepest part of my being for your service. I don’t have the words to adequately convey our admiration. You guys are freaking heros. Don’t like hearing that? Get over it.
    2) Indulge us in our Walter Mitty fantasies; very few, of the thousands of us civvy pukes, firefighters, cops, former military servicemembers etc., could ever make it through SFAS. Ok, maybe the smokeeaters… We want to try to pretend, even if for a few intense hours. We love it .We need it. We learn to give back more than we take, and we learn to function as a team. We don’t get this our corporate world, and though it’s second nature to you in your world, you need to learn to embrace the bridge, while we pretend to embrace the suck. Your time in service will end. You will miss it. You’ll be young, and you’ll need, want, crave that camaraderie. Yeah, you will.
    3) If you’re still active in SOF, you’re likely still young. Those joints and soft tissue may not feel young some days, and I know you’ve given more, sacrificed more, done more with your body than any ‘old’ pro athlete in his 30’s, but you are young. Dangit Skippy, are you even 40 yet?
    I’m only 50, and I’m not old. I ‘discovered’ GORUCK and OCR’s this year, and lost 30 lbs, found a way through chronic pain, and found a deeply committed family who have my back more than some of my closest friends I’ve known for decades.
    GORUCK brought me out of a dark place in my head that no one ever knew about. I had given up, and was only living my life through my kids’ lives, certain that cancer was going to take me out (well, it is, but not yet). The dream was gone. WAAAH. Buck up, suck up, move on? No. FIDO is not enough. You have to have goals, dreams, targets, challenges. THEY’RE BAAAAAAACK!

    4) Building. GR, Spartan, etc., are not the end goal, they’re only events in the training and building yourself and others that only ends when you quit. Screw the ‘race’ aspect of the events and embrace the team building. DFQ on yourself or your neighbor. Don’t let your neighbor quit.

    5) It’s not about you. It’s not about your mission. Your body will quit. Your skills will fade, your motivation will change. Even SF supermen will weaken. You will no longer be a part of that mission plan. Pass on the flame before it flickers. Pass it on to more than just the very select few who have the body and mind to make it to and through SFAS. Pass it on to those who don’t have the self motivation to make it through to your level. Pass it on to the kid with allergies that blocked him from even getting into basic, but still wants to challenge himself and learn to be better. Pass it on to the middle aged office guy who hasn’t done anything physical for anyone other than himself, since high school football. Pass it on to the single Mom who wants more out of life than stupid PC PTA meetings, stress-filled but unfulfilling jobs, and sympathy.

    Finally. The comment about us being treated like garbage? You’re way off the mark there. Heck, I got yelled at worse back in college football days by a fat cigar smoking schmuck who never even played the game at that level, let alone verbally motivated by someone who is/was actively performing to the highest standards of any team on the planet. Treated like garbage? The corporate/job world does a fine job of that, with only a meager carrot, and an overused stick. If you entered service after high school or college (assumption), then you’ve only experienced the warriors’ world, where duty and honor and service mean something.

    We love/hate our cadre. Just kidding. We love em all, just hate the log. C’mon out and join us. After we’re done, you can go do a real workout, but in the meantime, you’ll make new friends, to fit into that tier between your team, who you know you can always count on, and the rest of the world.

  11. Lee Brimelow says

    Completely off base. Why do a GORUCK? Because you get to learn mental toughness and teamwork from the people who are the best in the world at it. I’d pay to learn how to shoot baskets with Steph Curry or learn how to hit with Buster Posey anyday. It’s a steal for the money.

    Treated like garbage? Maybe you watched the documentary about selection? I was never treated like garbage. Cadre Dakota (the silent killer) kicked my ass without ever raising his voice a single time. Cadre SurfHog and Cadre Derek had us all cracking up the whole night long. Funniest dudes ever.

    Just because civilians enjoy physical challenges, it doesn’t lessen our admiration or gratitude for the true warriors who put their lives on the line. But also don’t think we’re a bunch of pussies because we didn’t serve and are instead working hard to keep the homeland running smooth. Neither of us could do what we do without each other.

    GORUCK’s “Building Better Americans” tag line is not bullshit. It really does.

    BTW you’re also off base about Spartan Race 🙂

  12. I would simply say that the one key point you hit on while missing it completely. It is exactly the reason the you mentioned that makes these events awesome. No one is doing them to get into a club, higher status or job. There is no promotion after completing an event. Only self satisfaction. And I also, have never been treated like garbage. Literally, ever.

  13. If you are equating GORUCK to being treated like garbage, then I love the people (Cadre and participants) that make up the landfill.

  14. Joe Agraviador says

    The one thing that I learned from Goruck and have tried to tell, teach, or exemplify the behavior of “It’s Not About You” If every single person in the world learns this principle that Goruck teaches and lives, wouldn’t the world be a more selfless place?

    Just a thought

  15. Danny Stokes says

    1. A more accurate title for this article is, “One SOF guy’s Opinion of Agoge/GORUCK/Death Race”. The author immediately discredits himself by attempting to speak for an entire section of the military. His qualifying statement, “most of the people I talk to in SOF” is too vague to profer an opinion on behalf of the entire SOF community. “Most”, could mean 2 out of the 3 people he talked to, but the reader does not know because the author did not elaborate.

    2. SOF is a very generic term, which includes units from the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Army. I assume the author is in the Army because he mentioned SFAS and Ranger School. Furthermore, just within the Army, SOF includes a myriad of organizations, such as PSYOP, Civil Affairs, Rangers, Special Forces, 160th SOAR, 1st SFOD, to name a few. Although it may not be his intent, the author conveniently omits which branch of SOF he is speaking from. This ambiguity makes me suspicious that he is an operator at all. It makes him appear that he wants the reader to jump to the conclusion that he does something more bad ass for a living than maybe what he actually does. If “mission requirements” cause him to veil his identity, then that same mission would require he not submit online articles speaking on behalf of SOF. It’s as ridulous as the old saying, “I could tell you but I’d have to kill you”. The author can’t have it both ways…speaking on behalf of SOF, AND concealing his idendity and branch of SOF.

    3. Another mistake the author makes, is to generalize Agoge, GORUCK, Death Race and the several other events he mentioned, all into one category. I would argue that the events could be discussed in two categories; Races, and Endurance Events. Further, within the GORUCK line of events alone, there is night and day difference between say, a GORUCK Light, and GORUCK Selection. To lump all of these various types of events which have different purposes, different requirements, and different types of participants into one big category is poor journalism.

    4. Lastly, this reader simply does not understand the point of the article. I have read it several times and still do not “get it”. All I can glean is that the author feels these events are too similar to what he does as a profession in the military for him to particilate. Ok, cool. My question…in what way does this article edify the OCR community?

    CPT(ret) Danny Stokes
    1st SFG(A)
    2/75 Ranger Bn
    GORUCK Cadre

    • Bravo Zulu

    • Great response. This article doesn’t serve the OCR community at all. interestingly in the latest podcast Matt B Davis says he can’t get in to GORUCK because he can’t stand carrying heavy shit. That’s cool I get it. But does a real journalist state such biases? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
      Any way point is his shit article is classic click baiting because ORM is shit journalism.

      • Matt B. Davis says

        Mr. Booyah, I will happily discuss any of my personal statements and/or anything that ORM has ever published.
        I have a real name and a real email address.
        I am also easy to find on Facebook.

    • GRT Opinion of Operator OCR’s Opinion:

      Three possibilites:
      1. He has never made it to endex at a GORUCK event.
      2. He is promoting GR/GBC via reverse psychology.
      3. He just received a valuable lesson in reverse psychology.

  16. First off brother, like the others, thank you for your service.

    For me, I prefer OCR and after 26 years of service, I do not look to replicate what I did on active duty. At 62, I am looking for a challenge – of mind, body and spirit. I know what it takes to get through a BF, TM, or Beast. The elite racers (both men and women) could certainly smoke my ass, and I am willing to bet at their given distance, yours too. The man from Spartan HQ that designs and lays out the Beasts Ultra Beasts, etc., is more than qualified to do what he does. Joe Serna, the CEO of Spartan has “been there, done that”, so frankly you don’t know of what you speak.

    Out of respect, I will not speak ill of your opinion, other than the fact you need to spend time researching the true reason why most civilians, retired, active duty, and disabled run these courses. Talk to one of our brothers that participates in these races without arms or legs. Only then will you truly understand the spirit and drive that joins us all in the OCR community.

    O-4, US Army, Airborne(RET)

  17. As a 49 year old guy GORUCK reignited a fire within that had burned out 20 years ago. The GORUCK has shown me I can be better than I though I could be, and to bust through my perceived limits. Thank you Cadre Garet for stepping up and leading the way, from out front, at GORUCK, at events, and in this article. I have learned from you and all the Cadre I have been led by. It’s great to hear that the Cadre value us as much as we value them. Shoulder to shoulder…to lead is to follow.

  18. Interesting discussion. I think a key missing element of this article is that the author chose to not try the green eggs and ham aka GORUCK events before describing how terrible they were. Funny thing is that with many peculiarities of life, if you try it, you just might like it. Come on and give it a real chance.

  19. Cadre Marcus says

    This article is an expose of one man’s opinion that is not actually trying to make the effort to try be better by making other’s better. I think the author should spend time researching why civilians, military and governmental employees, which are both capable and disabled, sign up for these courses–they want to better themselves on some level. The author needs a dose of humility, he is arrogant in speach, and actually needs to come do a team-based endurance event (like GORUCK) on me–I will pay for his entrance. From experience, as someone still affiliated the military, a volunteer, a family man, and an athlete advocate, I think the author’s opinion is just that….his and his alone.

    If the author’s idea of endurance events are generally individual based, then he will never grow as a human being and is missing a whole dimension of team based events designed to make a participant grow as a person. I appreciate this academic discussion and look forward to thoughtful, provoking articles, but the best advice I can offer is never offer an opinion unless some sort of constructive criticism follows to allow others to grow. If the author wants to question me on my credentials, I will disclose what I can. However, for this forum, I have helped with design suggestions to improve the 12 Hour Hurricane Heat, was an adjunct instructor to Spartan Hurricane Heats from 2012-2013, completed Death Race 2012, completed multiple OCR and endurance races as a participant (over 200) as a Team RWB volunteer, and I am currently a GORUCK cadre. Finally, a wise man once said (Director Comey, FBI Director, 2016), “the path to greatness is making better leaders become great leaders. This is achieved from the balance of: 1) kindness and toughness and 2) confidence and humility. Any one of these alone are dysfunctional, but if used efficiently…you will be exceptionally qualified to make better leaders.”

    Thank you for the chance to offer an opinion and appreciate this forum.

    Marcus

  20. Operator OCR says

    Hey everyone. I normally do not respond to email threads but I am going to make an exception for two reasons.
    1. Many of my peers and brothers in arms commented so I feel obligated to show them some respect in return.
    2. The majority (not all) of comments were overly respectful. I don’t need to be thanked for my service, I do it because I enjoy this line of work.
    ———————————————————–
    I appreciate the feedback and thought there was some interesting discussion points. I will try to clear up some of the statements I made in the article but I am not angry or upset by any of the comments in the thread above. I also do not have time to respond to every comment, anyway, here goes:

    1. As an endurance athlete who regularly pays money for races, I totally understand why people enter events like this “It is of an intrinsic value that cannot be calculated via a price tag.” I thought that was clear in the article, but I guess not. I am regularly asked (about once a month) why I pay money for races or events where I suffer when I could just go run for free anywhere. That is from other SOF guys not from civilians. When I explain events like Agoge/SISU Iron/GORUCK Selection to people and then show them videos produced by the companies that put on these events it really throws them for a loop. The actual response I get from my peers is that comment about being treated like garbage. Obviously not all have this opinion, because I didn’t walk around with a clipboard taking a poll, but most of the people I talk to have that opinion. Actually I can’t think of anyone I have met at work who has ever been like “yeah, that makes total sense”. So I stand by the title “SOF’s Opinion…” and not “One SOF guy’s opinion…” Obviously all of GORUCK’s cadre will disagree with me because they believe in their event (otherwise they would not be involved) and they receive a paycheck (to supplement whatever their job is) from their work at GORUCK events.

    2. Furthermore, as a former civilian I also understand that people want to be closer to the military. I am sharing a collective opinion from my peers. I was the kid growing up whose book shelf was full of military books, watched about every popular military movie and bought government issue anything to pull myself closer to that world. Had GORUCK been around when I was growing up I would have participated.

    3. After an article re-read, I think I used GORUCK too many times. I was not trying to single them out but based off the thread above, I apparently failed. Which brings me to…

    4. Maybe I used too broad of a brush to paint this article as in I lumped all levels of GORUCK into one category, when clearly a Light, Tough, Heavy and Selection are very different. So I acknowledge that was a mistake and people are not treated “like garbage” in Light or Tough since I have seen those events and/or have close friends who have participated. However, based off the information put out by the company….
    GORUCK Selection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZpo1B1LzUg
    GORUCK Selection Kling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QomBlE848Zs
    I still think people are treated like garbage at selection, feel free to have a different opinion. Pouring sand over people exercising, “sugar cookie-ing” them, having them low crawl through surf, talking down/yelling at people while smoking them and you’re standing still I consider being treated like garbage….but everyone has their own opinion.
    I also think it is interesting none of the other companies mentioned in the article had any visible response.

    5. Regarding cadre qualifications. The cadre of GORUCK are undoubtedly qualified to run an event where people are pushed to their limits. Also true for Joe De Sena who has done some absurd feats of endurance. However, Joe is the CEO, he is not the one setting up or running these events. It is delegated down to employees.

    6. I don’t work for GBC but I have seen enough of these events (again painting very broadly) to know they are not my cup of tea. Although apparently GBC also changed their format since people were posting their placings online. As mentioned in the article I have been to several of these events (to support friends) but I prefer not to participate. Furthermore, like I said in the article, if you like them than sign up. I have been through enough military schools to know that getting smoked by other people gets old when you know they are asking you to do things they can’t do as well.

    The professionalism displayed by the cadre above is a testament to them. Maybe I will join you at an event. Although, I’ll show up just as another unknown participant and let you know how it goes afterwards.

    Finally, yes this is the author of the article not just someone random posting. To prove it, my next article is about why SEALs and Special Forces and their involvement in the OCR community and why they are different….check back in a week, there are more SOF related articles coming at ORM and I look forward to your feedback.