Freedom Ruck 2019
🇺🇸 At 0615 Sunday morning, Vic Wise, James Lafferty and Seth Stoner completed Freedom Ruck VI by running the last mile to Arlington National Cemetery. After celebrating their finish and paying respect to the military they ruck to honor, the team left for celebratory showers and well-deserved sleep. They completed 105 miles in 46 hours! Enjoy these thoughtful recaps written by ruckers and supporters.
With Freedom Ruck 6 now in the books, we want to thank each and every member of our amazing team. Whether you rucked alongside us, met us at a rest stop, sent encouraging words or followed along here — we are so grateful for the outpouring of support. Though the 105-mile journey is complete, you can still show support and give thanks to our military by purchasing Freedom Ruck gear or donating. All proceeds go to Navy SEAL Foundation.
Now that we might’ve slept about 18 hours and started the laundry, I’ve been able to formulate better thoughts about Freedom Ruck weekend. In its 6th iteration, Freedom Ruck walks from Richmond to Arlington Cemetary to “say thank you to our military, honor those that serve, and to the families who support our servicemen and women.”
I was proud to be a support vehicle and wing woman for the event and especially, Team Car Water and Pocket Snacks. It’s incredibly awe-inspiring to see them walk mile after mile, with broken bodies and even more broken feet. The level of patriotism, gratitude to this county, and dedication displayed leaves me grasping for words.
Vic, Ben, Kathi, and Vic — we love you. Thank you for having Jimm and I as part of your Freedom Ruck family. FR truly is one of the best weekends of the year and something we’ll come back to as long as you’ll have us.
James — I’m so proud of you for getting your third completion. You’re a steadfast presence out there, a beacon of strength, and I tear up again just thinking of watching you in your element. I’ll drive behind the Ruckers and endure your (relentless) hand signals as many times as you want.
To Freedom Ruck VI, you tried to derail them with your rain and wind, but as always, mission accomplished.
It’s been a relatively short amount of time since Freedom Ruck 2019 ended. For those of you who don’t know, there’s a stand up guy, Vic Wise , who puts his body where his words are. He puts on a ruck sack and walks 108 miles in 48 hrs (essentially nonstop) from the VA War Memorial, straight up Rt 1, to Arlington National Cemetery. It’s a brutal, grinding, mentally and physically zapping event. The purpose of this is to raise money for the Navy SEAL Foundation, bring patriotism back into focus, and honor our nations veterans.
Many of us in the Fredericksburg area come out to support him, walk with him in small parts, front half, back half, and a select few even try to do the whole event. Vic’s family is in station supporting him, and really, the entire group of ruckers. His mother, father, brother, cousins, military, and college friends all come out to provide support or walk with him.
In years past, I tried to go with Vic the whole way, and was unsuccessful. This year I set a goal of the first half, and I believe I made it about 35 miles, and had an ankle issue pop up. I took a break and hit the road as a co-driver (and bad joke maker) with Kelly . She’s a pretty tough woman, drives with flashers on to protect the ruckers and she gets virtually zero sleep due to her role - all without a single complaint.
I had promised myself that no matter what, I would get back out and ruck with 6-9 miles left, crappy ankle be damed. I would put on my big boy undies and kill myself to keep up and not drag Vic back. I got antsy and hopped out and back with the pack with 11 miles to go. But I’m not kidding myself, there was going to be no slowing down Vic. James and Seth had been out there the whole route with him and they weren’t going to let him down.
In the end, Sunday morning at 6:15, while everyone was snoozing in bed, 3 of the original 11 crossed into Arlington National Cemetery. Many of us came and went in support of Vic and his drive to honor our nations veterans. In the end Vic accomplished his goal. Well done Vic. Well done.
If you have never been out to a Freedom Ruck, I truly hope you have the opportunity to meet and join Vic Wise and the Freedom Ruck Family next year in 2020 to honor and show gratitude to all military men and women past, present and future for the freedoms we enjoy paid through their selfless dedication, sacrifice and duty.
Vic Wise has created more than Freedom Ruck each year, he has truly created family, community and a selfless spirit showing what humanity can do together giving back in gratitude lifting others to pay it forward. Vic has developed an opportunity every year for anyone to display pride in Country, Military, Freedom, Patriotism, Family, Empowerment, Passion to only name a few. If you take part in Freedom Ruck as a stranger, within minutes or by the end, you are family. You ruck along with Veterans you admire or get an opportunity to shake their hands, hug, say "thank you," or have a conversation finding camaraderie. You watch family, friends, volunteers and supporters grow every year. They do not sleep for almost 3 days, let alone the months of prep prior. They use their own vehicles when no escorts are present.
Every two miles they are handing you pickles, water, electrolytes, homemade jerky, a hug or encouragement. Our courageous Law Enforcement Officers come out every year to assist and keep all of us safe. You are humbled by so many and their actions in lending a hand.
Thank you Meegana Henry and Kelsey Bracewell joining Vic and his team for the first time! Proud of you both and what an honor to stand with you. We got this next year ladies! Jo French, highlight having you join and lifting everyone's spirits as you walked into Denny's. CJ Black for the shoulder massage. Carole Lynn Starbuck and Don for the constant encouragement and meal at Subway. Having the opportunity to ruck with Rich Angelet as he showed many snap chat pics from Cassy Burnley, showing his handsome grandson, keeping our spirits up and no poopy faces. Rucking with Eamonn Devaney, Susan Timko Muerdler, Sherry Nichols you truly all inspire me in your strength, smiles and spirit. Missed you Jenn Wayne!
Amazing photography from Kate Magee & Rebecca Cunningham Photography. In awe of the endless support from Kathi Wise, Vic Senior, Kelly Reeder-Lafferty, Grace, Ben Wise, Patricia McGee with anything anyone needed, they made it happen! Unsung heroes that are truly the heartbeat of Freedom Ruck. Seth, Robert Davies, James Lafferty, Vic, Alex Miller, Eamonn, Larry Gonzales what an inspiring finish! Especially to Jimm, Vic and Seth completing the entire journey. Loved Kathi Wise's video and how she poured her heartfelt words in commentary. Truly added a special touch this year!! Thank you Valerie Reynolds and Phyllis Wise Reynolds always for your encouragements and support towards everyone among the many roles the Wise family takes part behind the scenes.
Patricia McGee, none of this could happen without you! In this together, you and I always, Team Pandy. Retracing the steps, you helped me achieve a total of 56 miles this year. Posted pics for encouragement, kept me hydrated, used your vehicle for a barrier in safety, drove others home/drop off and stored countless supplies for all who were in need. If you weren't grabbing ice, taping a foot, getting out your industrial massage equipment, you were then texting others making them laugh or playing Word Hunt with Kelly and Rebecca. You are my beacon of light. My better half. You add the color in my surroundings everyday. Even when Robert Davies scares you to death knocking on your car window in the middle of the night, lols.
Thank you Vic Wise giving this opportunity to all for six years and going strong in a forward momentum. Leading us in many ways beyond measure, Sir! Salute to you and your family.
When people first hear that Freedom Ruck is a 105-mile walk, they often underestimate how physically taxing this challenge is. There is wear and tear on the body and fatigue from rucking on little to no sleep.
Photo to the right: Our team props their aching feet up in dryers while catching a quick snooze on the floor of a laundromat (one of our favorite stops) before getting back out in the rain to keep going.
We ruck not to call attention to ourselves, but to point to the sacrifice made by our military servicemen and women everyday. Our sacrifice pales in comparison to theirs, and we hope Freedom Ruck simply creates a moment for you to thank our military.
With Freedom Ruck VI now in the books, we want to thank each and every member of our amazing team. Whether you rucked alongside us, met us at a rest stop, sent encouraging words or followed along here — we are so grateful for the outpouring of support.