Roster 073, Jeremy Johns, earned his PATHFINDER Classification on 28 February 2015 as part of Class 004. Jeremy is the founder of RUCK4VETS. Learn more about RUCK4VETS on Facebook, and enjoy his “official” AAR report on his PATHFINDER experience.
Part I: Summary
—Objectives: To develop the required strength, stamina, and mental toughness to successfully accomplish major physical events (i.e. GORUCK challenges, tough mudders, etc.)
—General description: The SPEARHEAD Pathfinder program facilitates the individual (or group) to successful develop and engage all physical and mental faculties required to accomplish multi-hour physical events while wearing a weighted ruck sack/backpack. Through their usage of multimedia platforms as well as direct interface with other participants, individuals are set up for success through a system of multifaceted feedback and self moderation.
—Dates/locations: PATHFINDER Class 004 was conducted from 01DEC2014-28FEB2015. Progress tracking was conducted online with feedback provided through the Facebook page. Several group meetings were conducted in NC however, the individual is encouraged to recruit others to participate.
—Significant issues: None.
—Limitations: Limited to terrain. Several alternatives are offered to mitigate these issues.
Part II: Lessons Learned
—Activity: Participants are given the date range to conduct sell paced activities in as well as access to the required activities list. All activities must be conducted with a ruck sack/backpack in order to develop a working knowledge of the wear and limitations of the pack as well as other used gear. The pack is a crucial piece of the program. All activities must be conducted while wearing the pack. The pack may be used as a weight prop as well. Participants are placed in a “leadership” position in order to arrange activities, routes, and plans of action. All events are then logged in the provided data base. Participants are encouraged to utilize several methods of activity to develop an increased level of strength, stamina, and mental toughness. The program also promotes a great deal of comraderie.
—Lessons learned: If conducted properly and “to the standard”, individuals will increase their levels of physical strength, cardiovascular range, and mental toughness. The program will also test the limits of the individuals personal gear (i.e.-ruck sacks/backpacks, boots, hydration systems).
—Recommended action: Invest in high quality ruck sacks/backpacks, boots, and hydration systems. They will be put to the test in this program.
Part III: Conclusion
- Recommendation: Individual investment in high quality gear is paramount for overall success.
- Discussion: Utilizing quality gear will allow participants to focus on their events and goals without equipment failure.
- Recommendation: Participants must commit themselves to the program in order to be successful. While the program can be conducted remotely and on an individual basis, the participant must be prepared to devote a great deal of time and personal resources in order to be successful.
- Discussion: Participants should preplan locations and activities prior to engaging in order to maximize time. Individuals should attempt to recruit others to create “groups” in order to increase chances of success.
3. Conclusion: The PATHFINDER program is an excellent way to gain physical strength, mental toughness, and foster relationships with like minded individuals. The program also allows for participants to develop and foster their role as a leader. For many, the opportunity to do so may not otherwise present itself. Finishing the program also rewards to participant with a great deal of satisfaction in the achievement of a multi-month physical undertaking. This program cannot be recommended enough.