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The 12-Mile Ruck Challenge

If you’ve been around The Everyday Marksman for long, you know I’m a fan of rucking. It’s a foundational skill of light infantry work as well as a fantastic builder of strength and endurance. I thought it was time to have another challenge about it. As I write this, we are still amidst the COVID-19 struggles. It’s difficult to get together in groups, either indoors or outdoors, and ammo is hard to come by due to the panic.

So let’s do something that requires no ammunition, range time, or social contact.

The 12-Mile Ruck challenge is exactly what it sounds like. The US Army has long held a 12-mile standard for the Expert Infantryman Badge, so why shouldn’t we? With some variation, of course.

The last ruck challenge I posted had you ruck 30 lbs for 30 miles within 30 days. This challenge, on the other hand, requires that you ruck 40 lbs for 12 miles in a single go. 

Let’s talk about the standards.

The 12-Mile Ruck Challenge Standards

There are three possible levels of achievement for this challenge, with the only difference between them being the time it takes to complete the ruck. No matter which level you are attacking, you must use a 40 lb weighted rucksack, not including water. I am not requiring any extra gear such as LBE, weapon, or weapon simulator.

It’s just you, the ruck, and the road.


Level 1 Completion

In order to complete Level 1 of this challenge, you must carry your 40 lb ruck for 12 miles in a single session. There is no timing standard here, you just need to complete the miles with the weight.

Level 2 Completion

To reach Level 2, you must carry your 40 lb ruck for 12 miles in less than three hours. This pace equates to 15 minutes per mile, and is the same time standard as the US Army, though with admittedly less weight.

Level 3 Completion

To reach Level 3, you must carry your 40 lb ruck for 12 miles in less than 2 hours and 36 minutes. This equates to maintaining 13 minutes per mile.

Providing Proof

As with most challenges, you are required to provide proof of completion in order to get credit. For this challenge, as with the 30-for-30 challenge, you must show some form of GPS tracking and timing. There are many applications on the market that work with your phone to accomplish this. Take a screenshot of the completed challenge so that it shows the distance covered as well as the time it took to do it.

Additionally, you must post a picture of your ruck and its contents showing that it equaled the 40 lb requirement. As a reminder, ceramic bricks are allowed for ruck challenges (~5 lbs each, so 8 bricks total). 

Training for Rucking

If you’re new to this, I don’t suggest you go straight out there and try it. Rucking is a skill and it requires time to build up to it. Here are a few videos to help.

Alright, that’s it! I look forward to your results, be sure to post’em up in the community.

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Matt is the primary author and owner of The Everyday Marksman. He's a former military officer turned professional tech sector trainer. He's a lifelong learner, passionate outdoorsman, and steadfast supporter of firearms culture.

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Jason Johnson
Jason Johnson

Battery went dead in the car in BFE with no help.

5’9 160lbs carried a 40lb car battery 13.8 miles there and back in a back pack.

Sore as shit lol


I’m late to the party here. Just acquired two almost new MOLLE II Medium Rucks. One to ‘ruck’ in and the other ‘packed and ready’. I’ve ‘heard’ they’re hard to beat for the $100 price tag. They are 60 lb. rated so 40 or 50lbs. should carry well. Any experience with it? I will be quite happy with just working up to 12 miles let alone a 15 min/mile pace! I’m doing a few miles (3 or so) with 30 lbs. in 35L frameless pack 2 – 3 times a week. Going to need to ‘up that’ to get to… Read more »

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