After shifting the design of its annual Ruck4HIT event the past two years due to the pandemic, Heroes In Transition (HIT) will be bringing the relay race back to its original format in the spring.
The Mashpee-based nonprofit will be holding two informational sessions for people interested in running, driving in, volunteering, or sponsoring the event this month and next month at Cape Cod Coffee on Route 130 in Mashpee. The first session will take place on Monday, December 13th at 7 pm and the second on Thursday, January 13th at 7 pm.
“This is a great opportunity for people to learn about the Ruck4HIT and how they can get involved in making it a success so we can help more veterans and military families in our region,” said HIT Executive Director Nicole Spencer. “It’s a one-of-a-kind event that allows people to test themselves physically and mentally while realizing that our military, veterans, and their loved ones endure far worse in service to our country.”
Funds raised from the Ruck4HIT go to benefit Heroes In Transition, a nonprofit that was formed by Cyndy and the late Kenneth Jones following the death of their only son, U.S. Marine Captain Eric A. Jones, who was killed in a helicopter crash in October 2009 while flying a combat mission in Afghanistan. HIT assists veterans, service members, and their loved ones through a range of programs that include equine therapy; monthly group outings for veterans and service members, military couples, military spouses, and military families; a Spring and Fall Couples Retreat; REBOOT which supports female veterans, service members, and spouses; fishing excursions; financial assistance; and pairing service dogs with veterans, based on need.
“These programs are life-changing and, for some, life-saving,” said HIT Board Member Savannah Fabbio, who is serving as the Ruck4HIT Committee Co-Chair and will be competing in her fourth straight Ruck4HIT in April. “As the daughter of two parents who served in the Marines, this is such an important cause for me. So many of our service members and veterans need help in successfully transitioning out of the military and through its work HIT is providing that critical assistance.”
Started in 2016, the Ruck4HIT will be entering its seventh year in 2022. In its first year, one team of 12 runners and four support personnel rucked from Ground Zero in New York City, crossing the Bourne Bridge and concluding in Falmouth, 41 hours later.
Since then, it has taken place locally in the spring except in 2020 when it was postponed to the fall and held virtually due to Covid-19 concerns. This past spring, there was a hybrid format with participants competing both virtually as well as in-person in Mashpee with teams running, biking, and walking from a base camp at Heritage Park.
Next year, it will return to its traditional relay race format. Over the course of two days, runners will cross through every town on Cape Cod, all while wearing weighted rucksacks to symbolize the sacrifices our military and veterans make and the burdens they carry as a result of their service. Along the way, there are several group challenges, including one in which teams climb the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown, which serves as the halfway mark for the race.
There are two divisions in the Ruck4HIT: Jethro and Jones. Jethro refers to the call sign of Captain Eric Jones. Teams in the Jethro Division are allowed one van, 7 runners, and 2 drivers, and have to raise a minimum of $5,000 to support Heroes In Transition. In the Jones Division, teams have 2 vans, up to 14 runners, up to 4 drivers, and be required to raise a minimum of $8,000. All participants must be at least 18 years old.
Starting December 11, group training runs for the Ruck4HIT will take place every Saturday, weather permitting, at 7:45 am at Cape Cod Coffee on Route 130 in Mashpee.
Anyone interested in either participating in, volunteering for, or supporting the Ruck4HIT is encouraged to attend the December 13 or January 13 info sessions or to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Businesses interested in serving as a Ruck4HIT sponsor should contact Jill Blanchard at email@example.com.
As in year’s past, Cape Cod Coffee will serve as the race’s Coffee Sponsor. They will also be organizing the finish line party which will be held at their Mashpee Commons location. Current Ruck4HIT sponsors also include HIT Community Partners Cape Cod 5 Foundation and Cape Cod Retractable Awning.