Tough Ruck on April 16 and Ruck and Ride on May 7

Members of Bedford’s American Legion Riders, Chapter 221, are planning their first fundraising “Battle Road Ruck and Ride” for Saturday, May 7.

And if anyone would like a preview – at least of the “ruck” part — a similar endurance event will be passing through Bedford on Saturday, April 16.

Rucking is a strenuous workout that consists of walking while carrying a weighted rucksack (backpack) or weighted vest. Sometimes referred to as “foot marching,” rucking is an experience designed to improve cardiovascular systems and strengthen muscles.

The Military Friends’ Foundation Tough Ruck on Saturday, April 16

On April 16, military members, first responders, and civilians, all raising money for the Military Friends Foundation, will depart Fenn School in Concord at 7 a.m. for a 26.2-mile endurance walk. The route covers a little more than three miles in Bedford: the Reformatory Branch trail from the town line to Railroad Avenue, then over to the Minuteman Bikeway at Depot Park, and on to Lexington, returning along the same route to Concord.

Bedford’s American Legion and VFW will staff a support /water station on the Reformatory Branch trail near Hartwell Rd.

Tough Ruck features 2 weight divisions—Lightweight (15+ Lbs.) and Heavyweight (35+ Lbs.)— and 3 categories of dress—Uniformed Military, Uniformed First Responder, and Civilian. Division, and Dress will be declared at the weigh-in on the morning of the ruck.

Finishers will be recognized by the Boston Athletic Association.

Editor’s Note: Thanks to the Minuteman Biker’s Facebook post: Over 400 Tough Ruck participants will march from a starting point in Concord and travel on the Reformatory Branch Trail and the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway to the turn-around at Bow Street in Lexington, and then will retrace their steps back to the starting point. Between the time that the fastest racer reaches the turnaround point (~ 9:00 AM) and the slowest (~ 12:00 PM), there will be marchers traveling in both directions on the Bikeway.

The Legion Riders’ 14-Mile Ruck on May 7

The Legion Riders’ 14-mile ruck will begin at 8 a.m. at the American Legion post, 357 The Great Road, and head east across Route 128 to the Lexington Green, then turn right onto Massachusetts Avenue and join the Battle Road of April 19, 1775.

Participants will follow the trails through Minute Man National Historical Park to Meriam’s Corner in Concord, then take Old Bedford Road and the Reformatory Branch trail back into Bedford to Railroad Avenue, Loomis Street, and The Great Road.  The trek is scheduled to finish at the Legion post about 1 p.m. followed by lunch for all who made it to the end.

Some participants will undertake the ruck, while others will choose a motorcycle ride from 11 a.m-2 p.m. through back roads of Bedford Carlisle, and Westford. “It’s a fun day for all of us and a worthwhile day for the organization,” said Paul McGrath of the Legion Riders.  He said he anticipates around 50 to undertake the ruck. There’s no limit on the number of riders; past events have seen as many as 92.

The May 7 Bedford event will raise money for, an organization that honors, remembers, and recognizes the service and sacrifices made by members of the armed forces, first responders, and their families. Donations of at least $100 will be acknowledged on signs posted at the American Legion. American Legion Riders is a national charitable organization focusing on Americanism and programs for children and youth.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763

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