9th Annual Ruck4HIT Raises Critical Funds to Assist Military Community

Participants training for the 2024 Ruck4HIT in Mashpee.

April 25, 2024 (Cape Cod, MA) –Heroes In Transition’s (HIT) largest annual fundraiser, the Ruck4HIT, kicks off this Friday, April 26, from the Courtyard Restaurant & Pub in Bourne and concludes roughly 36 hours later when teams cross the finish line at Cape Cod Coffee on Route 130 in Mashpee.

What started out as a one-team relay race with 16 participants in 2016 has expanded to 20 teams, 228 participants, and nearly 170 volunteers this year, all in support of veterans, active service members, and military families who sacrifice every day for our freedoms. Teams complete more than 200 miles and pass through 70 relay exchanges over a 36-hour period, traveling through all 15 Cape Cod towns.

In addition to the miles run, participants must wear a 10–20 lb. rucksack during each leg of the race. This added physical and mental challenge distinguishes the Ruck4HIT from other relay events, but it is central to the cause.

“Our mission states that as every service member is forced to carry the burden of war during active service and beyond, carrying the rucksack is symbolic of hardships endured and the perseverance required to complete the mission,” said HIT Executive Director Nicole Spencer. “This event raises funds for Heroes In Transition in our continuing effort to never to leave a fallen comrade behind.” 

Spencer ran in and helped organize the inaugural Ruck4HIT in 2016, which went from Ground Zero in New York City to Falmouth. The following year, the event shifted to Cape Cod where it has been held ever since, allowing it to expand to multiple teams and a greater number of participants.

“The Ruck4HIT is an inspiring event and exemplifies the meaning of teamwork and community and allows us to give back to the members of the military community who do so much for us,” said Spencer. “Carrying the ruck ups the ante and it is an important symbol of the sacrifices that veterans, active service members, and their families make for our freedoms.”

Along the race route, signs of Cape Cod’s fallen heroes who have died in combat since 9/11 inspire participants and spectators. Among the signs paying tribute to fallen heroes on the Ruck4HIT course is one for U.S. Marine Captain Eric A. Jones who was killed in a helicopter crash while flying a combat mission in Afghanistan in October 2009. Following his death, his parents Cyndy and the late Kenneth Jones formed HIT to commemorate their only son’s life, service, and sacrifice.

“Not only are people pushing themselves mentally and physically during the Ruck4HIT, they’re using it as a way to give back,” said HIT Board Member Savannah Fabbio, who is a Ruck4HIT co-chair with Spencer and captain of one of this year’s teams, Worst Pace Scenario. “Everyone involved in this event, from our committee members to volunteers to drivers to runners, understand the importance of supporting the critical work HIT is doing in our community.”

This year, HIT is celebrating its 15th anniversary. The Mashpee-based nonprofit has been able to grow and expand to reach more members of the military community thanks to fundraisers like Ruck4HIT. The event raises awareness as well as funds for HIT’s critical programs and monthly events which foster community, communication, and resiliency among service members and their families as they transition into civilian life.

The public is invited to attend the Ruck4HIT finish line party, between 9 am and 2 pm, on Saturday, April 27, to celebrate the one-of-a-kind event. The celebration will feature music by DJ Sister Spin (retired Falmouth Police Officer Cheryl Atherton), the opportunity to purchase Ruck4HIT merchandise, and a chance to cheer on teams as they cross the finish line.

This year’s Ruck4HIT will welcome participants from throughout the Cape as well as other parts of Massachusetts, including Wareham, Plymouth, Kingston, New Bedford, Duxbury, Boston, Newton, Milton, Tewksbury, Andover, Leominster, Clinton, Newburyport, and Rockland. The event is attracting people from as far away as Rhode Island, Connecticut, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Florida. Runners and drivers represent a mix of civilians, active service members, and veterans.

Anyone unable to attend can donate to the Ruck4HIT at Ruck4HIT.org. Proceeds will benefit Heroes In Transition, a nonprofit which annually assists 1,650 individuals, including service members, veterans, military couples, military spouses, and military families through more than a dozen programs.

Heroes in Transition and the Ruck4HIT would like to thank their generous sponsors who help to make this Cape-wide event possible: Cape Cod Coffee; Falmouth Road Race; Ride 22; Bob’s Discount Furniture; Cape Cod Electrical, Inc.; CMS Landscape; Cyndy Jones in Memory of U.S. Marine Captain Eric A. Jones and Kenneth Jones; the Dutton Foundation; Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod; All Star Healthcare Solutions; Ameriprise Financial; Cape Cod 5 Foundation; Cape Cod Rehab; Cape Cod Retractable, Inc.; Cedarworks, Inc.; Independent Painting Company; Mashpee Pops; New World Advisors, LLC; Shamrock Home Loans; Velvet Hammer Investments; 382 Communications Corporation; Bosun’s Marine; Cape Auto; Dative; Duane Foundation; Eagle Leasing; Falmouth Elks; Frawley Fitness; Golden Jalapeno; Heat37; High Efficiency; Janell Ford of Hanover; Jurek Brothers, Inc.; NAM Knights; NJ PBA Local #160; Northeast Rehab Hospital Network; Pearl Construction; Physical Therapy U; RYCO Landscape Supply; The Charred Oak Tavern; Tiny & Son’s Auto Glass; Unique Boutique; All Cape Chimney Sweep; NAPA Auto Parts; Booker Electrical Services, Inc.; Buttercup Café; Chatham Bars Inn; Chatham Village Market; Graci Enterprises, LLC; Harwich Paint & Decorating; Monomoy Mechanical; Mudd Advertising; Navitas System Integration; Padula Auto Sales; PETiculars Dog Day Care Center; Semper Paratus; and Summer House Natural Soaps.

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