This is starting off like a school essay.
My friend Stony is tall. He is also strong. He has a big red beard. And he is really nice.
For the last three years, Stony and I had a tradition. Once a year, we would go to a hot yoga class. We would grab a beer after. We would talk about all things endurance, and pain, and quitting, and not quitting. And he would board the plane the next day to attempt Goruck Selection.
I used to eat to cope with anxiety. Now, I write.
So, this one is for you, crazy mofos, as you are glued to the screen right now, waiting for updates, posting memes, and wishing just a tiny bit you were there with a ruck on your back.
I have done my first Goruck event in 2012. It wasn’t my cup of tea, but it was great training for the upcoming Spartan Death Race. I also met some incredible people. Stony was one of them. I will be always thankful to Goruck for bringing us together.
Stony’s first attempt at Selection was in 2013. He was one of the strongest candidates there. Which made sense, because I have not seen him for much of 2013. When I did see him for our pre-Selection hot yoga, I almost did not recognize him. He looked like the Hulk. But red.
It got down to Stony and two others. When I finally got the message from him, it said “Dropped. Peeing blood.” Then he sent me photos of his armpits that were one big bloody rash. He also mentioned that he might no longer have nipples.
Yeah, I cried. When I saw him a week later, he looked about 20 pounds smaller, and spoke in a barely audible whisper.
Florida’s heat got to him in 2014. An incredibly frustrating med drop – as he blacked out on the beach. He was fine forty five minutes later, but Selection went on without him.
“You will go back until you get the patch”, I told him that year. “Or until the patch will no longer matter”. He registered for the 2015 event shortly after.
August 20th, 2015 Goruck Selection Class 017 Bozeman, Montana
66 registered, 33 started. 32 men, 1 woman.
Two candidates that stick in my mind:
013, aka Lucky 13. Jaala. Chick that is tough as nails. She lasted longer than any other female in Goruck Selection 2014. In 2015, she was the only female at the start. She was reportedly pulled from the welcome party for hypothermia. The first words when she came to were: “Why am I in the car? .. NO!!!”. She still wanted to get back out there.
023, aka Mark Jones. I am heartbroken that Mark did not make it. One of the shadows on site suggested that Mark may have gone out too hard, and was dropped when exhaustion caught up with him. This was his third attempt as well. First, third, or thirty-third – there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that Mark can finish this event.
27 remaining after the PT test. 15 remaining after 12 mile road march. 6 remaining after about 45 minutes of the welcome party. 2 remaining 19 hours in. 1 remaining 24 hours in.
The one remaining is 014.
When you are watching Selection from the sidelines, the second worst thing is going to bed. THE worst thing is waking up and dreading checking your Facebook feed.
Right now, there are hundreds of people behind #14. Lino is one:
The hashtags are flying. #Stony #14 #canadianbeard #teamginger #goStony #go014 #Beard #WeTheNorth #100PercentCanadian
And all I can think is: “Damn it, Stony. Let’s just stop with the hot yoga”.