Rita Potakh GoRuck Interview

By Brad McLeod 1-28-2014
Check out the SGPT GoRuck Interview with Rita Potakh

rita potakh goruck interviewSGPT: Tell us about yourself?

Rita: I have no military background. I am a working mom of 2 very busy elementary school aged kids. My day is spent earning a living as an analyst in the Oil & Gas industry, and my evenings are devoted to family and training.

SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?

Rita: No athletic background. In fact, up until 4 years ago I have never set my foot in a gym and always struggled with the extra pounds.

SGPT: How did you train for GoRuck?

Rita: I heard about Goruck from a friend at the CrossFit box where I am a member. It seemed impossible, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to take on the challenge of conquering the impossible. To train, I stepped up my CrossFit training from 3 days a week to 5 with primary focus on strength training. Every few weeks I also did a few hours long hike along the trails of a local park with the backpack with bricks just to get used to having additional weight on my back. I was really nervous not knowing what to expect when I showed up at the start point of my first GRC. But upon completion I can honestly say that even though it was the hardest thing I have ever done, physically I was well prepared. I continue to train the same way and this approach still serves me well.

SGPT: Tell us a little about the event? Where and how many events?

Rita: Within a course of 1 year I have completed 6 Goruck Challenges some in Texas and Louisiana, and 1 in Normandy, France for 69th anniversary of D-Day. Also completed a few Goruck capstone events in Florida and Virginia. You show up at a start point with 30 other strangers and by the time you finish, you walk away with 30 best friends, memories to last a lifetime, enormous feeling of accomplishment and a 2 by 3 inch patch that was earned through impossibly hard work of your entire team. You are no longer just an individual, you become an integral member of a team where your sole purpose is to look out for the person to your left and to your right in spite of your own fatigue, pain and discomfort. I continue to learn something new about myself with every Challenge. The lessons I’ve learned through Goruck events have transformed my outlook on all aspects of my life. Fear of failure is now a vague memory of the past.

SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?

Rita: in every Goruck event you inevitably reach a point where you are so tired that you start doubting yourself, and precisely at that moment Cadre turn up the heat and make it even more difficult. The hardest part is to not let your inner demons turn you into a quitter. Finishing Goruck event is 90% about your mental fortitude, mind over matter.

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

Rita: more heavy squats and bear crawls

SGPT: What boots did you wear? Double socks? Bodyglide or another type of anti-chafe balm?

Rita: for warm weather challenges I wear Inov-8 Trailroc 255 Trail running shoes, wool Inji running socks (yes even in hot Houston summers), and always use either Bodyglide Anti-Chafe Balm or clear baby diaper rash cream (this stuff works magic). For cold weather, I prefer Nike SFB boot with knee high Injinji Toesocks and wool sock liners over them.

goruck backpack SGPT: What kind of pack did you use? How did you like it?

Rita: I used GoRuck Radio Ruck (I am 5’3″) and it is still my go to ruck for challenges. I did add chest strap and a hip belt to it.
I am now training for a Goruck Heavy and have switched to GR1. So far it works just as well for me.

SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do GoRuck?

Rita: The best advice I’ve been given came from a Cadre: “Get your mind right”. If you put in the work and train, you will be physically prepared to do the Challenge. If you “get your mind right” and decide right here right now that you will not quit no matter what (your resolve will be plenty tested), you will FINISH the Challenge.

SGPT: Thanks for the interview Rita.

Rita: Thanks Coach Brad!


Brad McLeod is married with two kids and an all around average family guy. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida and despite training all the wrong ways – made it to Navy SEAL training in Coronado, California.

He flunked out of Navy SEAL BUD/S training after making it over half way through (6 months of grueling training). After a year in the Fleet Navy on the USS Cleveland (LPD-7) he came back to graduate BUDS and serve on SEAL Team Four.

His story is simple–Don’t Ever Quit on your Dream! Put one foot in front of the other and fall forward.

Related Articles:
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