Training to Help Veterans

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RENO, Nev.- Later this month dozens of fitness enthusiasts will take part in a GORUCK challenge somewhere in Reno – they won't know the actual location until a week before the February 23 event. It's a n 8-10 hour, 15-20 mile guided tour led by a Special Operations Cadre designed to turn 30 individuals into a team. About a dozen participants gathered at Huffaker Park on Sunday morning to train for the upcoming challenge. All of them wear backpacks filled with 35 pounds of bricks – just like they will the night of the challenge.

“This isn't a race, it's about getting everyone through it as a team and it's learning how far you can go and going past that,” David Neudorfer said. “It's camaraderie, it's leadership and it gets us off our rear ends in the morning on a chilly day.”

It's also for a good cause. Proceeds help the Green Beret Foundation and this team is raising money and donations for Reno's Veterans Guest House as well. Donations can be made on the Veterans Guest House website,, or dropped off at a bin at the South Reno Athletic Club.

“There's a lot of service members out there that get forgotten when they get home and it's really important we push ourselves here at home and remember them,” John Maris said. “It's just a great way to keep these guys fresh in our minds and give back.”

Their sessions are at least two hours long and revolve around team-based Special Operations training. At times, passersby take notice.

“People like to honk and wave,” Maris said. “I think once you realize there's bricks in those backpacks it takes a special kind of mind to throw a bunch of bricks in a backpack and go running around. Team building is what it's all about and after a GORUCK challenge you realize the rest of your life is pretty easy.”

They encourage anyone who wants to take it to the next level to get involved with GORUCK. But it's not for everyone.

“If it was easy, everyone would do it,” Maris said.