Interview: Daniel Cunningham, GORUCK Star Finisher

SGPT: Tell us about yourself?

DC: My name is Dan Cunningham. I am married and we have four beautiful, young kids. I grew up in Dayton, OH and now live in northern Indiana. I took on the GoRuck star course to challenge myself, build my endurance and to strengthen bonds with 2 of my good friends. Missions accomplished!

SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?

DC: Yes, I pretty much played all the traditional sports growing up. Baseball, basketball, soccer, etc.

SGPT: How did you train for the GORUCK Star event?

DC: Me and the other 2 guys on the team trained our butts off. For the star course, we trained specifically for the 50 miles. By that I mean we really focused on rucking big miles. Our miles steadily climbed each week and we did several 15-20 milers together and did some back to back days of 30 or 40 miles – almost always with more than required 20 pounds.

As everyone knows, it can be hard to find the time to ruck long miles, so we often headed out at 5 am or late at night so we could get back to our families and jobs. We committed to doing this no matter what the weather… hot, cold, raining, etc. The worse the weather, the better! And this definitely helped get us ready physically, but more importantly it built the SGPT toughness you teach.

SGPT: Tell us a little about the event? Where was it?

DC: The event was in Chicago, IL. It was very different than most Goruck events in that the Cadre genuinely welcomed us and appreciated that so many participants signed up for the challenge. (No welcome party!) The cadre really wanted everyone to finish. The terrain was basically flat, but we had all kinds of weather – cool at the start, sleet and heavy rain at night and then it finished very hot the next morning.

SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?

DC: Just like the Cadre said at the beginning, the Star Course ain’t no Tough or Heavy. It’s 50 miles! The toughest part was actually the middle of the event. That’s when the novelty of the start had worn off, it’s dark and we were soaked. But we really stayed positive and just kind of joked and laughed throughout the entire event.

SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for GORUCK Star?

DC: Going into the event, I knew I was fully prepared. For me, the type of event actually made it easier because you knew exactly what to expect. We knew it would go well if we simply (not easy) just did the miles. I trained in the same clothes, socks and shoes that I did the event in. Everything was dialed in and we were at our best when things got tough.

SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do GORUCK star course?

DC: Yes, I have 3 useful tips: 1. Don’t underestimate the miles! One team started fast and led the first 15 miles of the event. They actually bragged about not preparing properly. Needless to say, that was a BIG mistake and it didn’t end well for them. 2. Train with your team. Sounds obvious, but suffering together and rucking hard as a group makes your team SGPT tough. We saw several teams literally fall apart and fail because of poor team work or negative attitudes. 3. Take care of your feet. Get your footwear dialed in early and don’t wait until the night before the event.

SGPT: What kind of footwear did you use for the event?

DC: I used Hoka shoes that I typically run in. They’re basically ultra shoes and have a lot of cushioning which was perfect for Star. I had absolutely no blisters and while my legs were sore – my feet felt totally fine after the event.

SGPT: Did you use double socks or body glide on your feet to prevent blisters?

DC: I always wear 2 pairs of socks with my boots. But in the shoes, I wore 1 pair of socks and body glide constantly.

SGPT: What is your next big event?

DC: I have a few half marathons scheduled and I’m doing star course again in Phoenix in April 2019. My main goal in 2019 is SEALFIT Kokoro.

SGPT: What book are you reading now?

DC: 1. What doesn’t kill us (interesting book on wim hof method).

SGPT: Many thanks for the interview, Daniel

DC: And thank you Brad. You are truly one of a kind and the whole SGPT community appreciates your expertise, advice and effort – all delivered with unique Brad McLeod humility. Good luck in your future events!

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