Eric Benson nearly died last Friday night as he attempted to complete his first GORUCK Tough in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Benson, 32, recently completed his first GORUCK Light and was invited to join the GORUCK “Tough Page,” a closed Facebook group for individuals who have completed a GORUCK event.
“The Wednesday before my event, I went on the Tough Page and asked for last minute advice for my first Tough,” said Benson from his hospital room at St. Stephens Medical Center. “Everyone seemed so eager to help. I just tried to do everything they suggested. I guess I missed something.”
Benson, when picked up by the EMTs on Friday night with mild hypothermia and was found to be wearing extremely short shorts referred to as “Ranger Panties” and a Tough Mudder t-shirt. The overnight temperatures were in the 20’s.
When asked why he was wearing so few clothes on such a cold night Benson said, “The folks on the Tough Page said Sky’s Out Thighs Out was the way to go no matter what and that any cotton t-shirt from a Spartan Race or Tough Mudder would be perfect. I was skeptical because of the forecast, but they kept saying to CTHT which I learned from the GORUCK Glossary means to choose the harder thing.”
Along with mild hypothermia, Benson was also suffering from severe back pains. His backpack, called a ruck, contained a number of items including two water bladders, two MREs, two changes of clothes, two bags of bacon, two energy chews, two sets of 6 bricks, two first aid kits, two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and two 30 pound metal weights.
“The GRT on the Tough page were trying to help me out and explaining that Two is one. One is none.” said Benson. “So I doubled everything. It seemed a bit much to have the two ruck plates, but they said it was better to be prepared in case someone on the team forgot theirs. They reminded me Team above self. And when I asked about bricks vs plates, one guy said I should just bring both.”
“This guy showed up in RPs, carrying a giant external frame hiking pack, and wearing penny loafers,” said Janet Sinclair, a regular participant of GORUCK events. “I thought it was some kind of joke, but he said he was there for the Tough. The poor SOB lasted about an hour before he was med dropped. We tried to give him some clothes and stuff to help him, but he just kept saying he didn’t want to disappoint the Senior GRT.”
When asked if he was upset with the advice he was given, Benson was quick to defend the Tough Page participants.
“I totally didn’t follow all their advice, so this is on me. One guy specifically said that if things got too difficult that I should tell the Cadre know I needed some special attention. I was too proud to tell him. Next time I do an event and I’m suffering, I’ll stand up tall, look the Cadre in the eye, and let him know I’d like some special attention.”
Benson is currently signed up for one of these fine GORUCK events and hopes that some of his friends from the Tough Page will join him.