“In 2017, for much of our society, there really aren’t any times that you are truly uncomfortable,” observes Davii Parris, human resources associate at Westinghouse. “Not unless you choose to be.”
Parris knows a thing or two about discomfort. The mother of two boys, Judah and Simon, has participated in long distance relay races and endurance-length, military-style obstacle challenge events called GoRuck. Her Westinghouse colleague Kevin Lundy, a principal engineer with the company, has completed similar events. Both loved every grueling moment.
Lundy and Parris derive much of their training mojo from their involvement with fitness groups. Lundy is part of the male-only F3 Nation whose mission is to plant, grow and serve small workout groups for men for the invigoration of male leadership. F3 stands for fitness, fellowship, and faith. F3 Nation is clear that faith emphasizes gratitude and is open to men of all different faiths, or no faith.
Parris is a member of the F3 Nation female-only counterpart, Females in Action. FiA is a community of women whose mission is to strengthen each other in all areas of life. The “action” portion of FiA is focused on minds, bodies and hearts. Both F3 and FiA offer daily, rigorous workouts, sponsor activities and are free of charge.
In addition to their workouts members do volunteer work and other community service.
“The anchor attitude for a FiA member is a positive attitude,” Parris says.
“The biggest benefit is all the fellowship you enjoy with your teammates,” he says.
F3 and FiA members enjoy testing their fitness levels in formal venues such as South Carolina’s Palmetto70 and Palmetto200. The linear, point-to-point 70 mile and 200 mile course is run by teams of four, six, nine or 12 participants. Each runner tackles an equal number of legs, with each leg varying in distance.
Both Lundy and Parris ran the Palmetto200 as part of a team of 12 made up entirely of their F3 and FiA colleagues. Parris also ran the Palmetto70 as part of a six-member team.
In addition to the Palmetto, Lundy ran the Ragnar Relay race with F3. The Ragnar is a trail race with a course comprised of a series of loops. The Ragnar carries a party-like atmosphere with sponsors, vendor booths, gear tents, live music and food trucks.
“You camp for the Ragnar,” Lundy says. “Everyone is running the loops and hanging out at the campfire. It’s very fun.”
GoRucks are an entirely different breed of physical trials. GoRuck, a company that specializes in making military-grade gear, began hosting events to test their gear. These events evolved into a specialized teamwork-based event led by a Special Forces cadre such as a Green Beret or Navy SEAL.
Under the cadre’s instruction, participants engage as a team to complete a series of rigorous physical fitness tests and challenges. Carrying logs or people, conducting surveillance and reconnaissance, completing marches, fitness drills and instructional activities are all part of the challenge. Unless the cadre says otherwise, participants do everything while wearing their “rucks” — the military term for backpack — filled with additional weight.
GoRucks come in three levels: heavy, tough and light. GoRuck Heavy, which Lundy completed in April 2017, lasted 29 hours and covered 52 miles. The Tough lasts approximately 12 hours and covers 20 miles and the Light is half that. Parris participated in a GoRuck Light in May 2015 on a co-ed team that included her husband, Jimmy.
Lundy and Parris are deeply moved by a commonality in their athletic endeavors: motivation through friendships and teamwork found in F3 and FiA.
“GoRuck was the worst experience of my life,” Parris says. “After I finished, it became one of the best.”
But for Parris, that FiA camaraderie extends outside of events in the form of deeply bonded relationships and support.
Lundy, a Citadel military college graduate, loves the GoRucks and is currently training for a GoRuck Tough. “I always want to test myself and see my limit,” he says. “I want to do back-to-back GoRucks. And I love that they are strictly a team event. You can achieve much more as a team than as an individual.”
His words certainly ring true. Whether running a long-distance relay in hurricane-like conditions or overcoming the fatigue and exertion demanded by a GoRuck, both Lundy and Parris find strength, compassion and joy through their active, healthy lifestyles.