By |Published On: July 18th, 2023|Categories: Training Section, MFTF Training Series|

Action Item: Please let us know your trip details so we can support you as much as possible.

We are about a month away from March for the Fallen (#MFTF).

Here are the links to prior updates if you’d like to review them:

Important note: If you got an email from the USO about teams, just ignore it. No action is required.

What to Bring?

This can get tricky depending on whether or not you are doing the pack version of the event.

I recommend that you review the following post on gear.

Minimalist gear list:

  • Event gear (shorts, t-shirt, shoes, socks, pack, etc.)
    • trail running shoes are preferred but solid athletic shoes work too
    • Merino/robust socks are preferred but standard athletic socks work
    • Avoid cotton, but won’t kill you if that is all you have on hand.
    • Non-ruck participants don’t need a pack. A refillable water bottle is fine or bring a small pack to carry random things.
  • Warming layer (can get a bit chilly in the evening)
  • Pillow and light sleeping bag or light blanket (highly recommended this year since linens will be limited)
  • Earplugs (avoid people who snore)
  • Toiletries (Dop kit) / Towel
  • Government-issued ID and a cell phone
  • Crocs/flip-flops (something to wear besides shoes)
  • Light breakfast for before March (we’ll have a coffee bar setup)
  • Great attitude

NOTE #1: You do not need to bring food/water for the March. The event is fully supported with nutrition/water throughout the race.

NOTE #2: The event has a food drive at the finish — so if you need weight, you can buy canned food or bags of rice to reach the 35lb weight for the ruck. No need to fly with weight.

Here’s a detailed timeline and logistics plan. Updates to follow as additional details become available. The official site has the most recent updates.

The printable schedule is here.

Fri 9/22: Pre-Event Day

You are heading to the Pennsylvania Army National Guard Training Center.

  • Plan to arrive between 3 pm to 8 pm (later is okay).
  • Registration pick is available from 10 am to 6 pm (can pick up on race day if you can’t make it).
  • Chow (pasta/spaghetti) will probably be served at 6pm+
  • Pre-event outline and speakers: 8 pm to 845 pm (at USO auditorium room across from Spaghetti)
  • Return to AA Cabin.
  • Lights Out: 930pm

The military base location:

  • 87 miles from Broomall
  • 147 miles from the White House
  • 152 miles from the New York Stock Exchange

Here is a link to the location from AA HQ. Or enter Howitzer Ave, Grantville, PA 17028 in Google Maps. (Near the USO).

We’ll try and carpool for those arriving in Philly.

If you need supplies, there’s a Wal-Mart sort of on the way in Lebanon, about 25 min from the Gap.

Here are some images to help orient you to the location once you are close (which is in the middle of nowhere!):

Figure 1. Ft. Indiantown Gap Overview

Here are the details on the specific location:

Figure 2: Zoom in on the location of the March for the Fallen start.

We will be staying offsite at the True Life Youth Cabin (we are already at max capacity, so only show up unexpectedly if you are willing to sleep on the floor).

Sat 9/23: Event Day

Note: Times are subject to change.

0530: No official wake-up. No official breakfast. No pre-made coffee. No official pre-march inspections. Control your sector and get yourself and your gear squared away. Feel free to keep things in the barracks since you will be returning to them after the March.

0600: Team photo outside the Cabin. Head over to Strickler Field to pick up registration and/or last-minute preparations.

0630: Opening Ceremony, Strickler Field. We don’t have to be standing in formation at 0630, but last year the opening ceremony was pretty cool. It’s a good opportunity to reflect on the larger purpose of the event and thank the people who put it all together.

0700: Event starts:

  • It’s a loop course so we finish where we start. Everyone starts fast and the first few miles are on pavement. Eventually, people slow down and the real course begins. Slow and steady wins the race. The course has 15 water points spread out over 28 miles. Your choice on how much to carry and how often to refill. Medical stations are also located along the course. Portable toilets are available along the course as well. Lines may form at the toilets. If you decide to step off the course, stay professional and keep in mind there are plenty of women on the course. If you reach your personal finish line prior to 28 miles, you can request transport from one of the water points or aid stations and they’ll get you back to Strickler field. Easy day.
  • Carry a rucksack of your choice or none at all. Official Heavy Division is 35lb, plus food and water. Only the top 3 finishers will have their pack weighed.
  • With ~150+ people on our team, I expect we’ll get spread out along the way. Enjoy the adventure.

1400 – 1700: Likely finish for most participants. Head back to the cabin and get cleaned up, shower, rest, etc. You can take all day if you want. Here is the official stance:

“As long as there is continuous movement, participants will be permitted as much time as necessary to complete the course. So keep moving!”

A course elevation map is posted below (h.t. T. Patton):

Mike Lecours has prepared an excellent visual chart of the course.

The graphic is below and here is the pdf version.

1700-1730: Refreshments and snacks.

1730-1800: Post-event recap/speech by MG Gronski

1800-2000: Chow at the cabin (We can’t get the Fort Indiantown Gap Community Club this year due to logistics constraints). So the good news is we won’t have any “short walks to the chow hall” this year. I know Andrew Miller will be satisfied with this situation.

2000: Rest and recover. Tell incredible stories of your pain on the course.

Sunday 9/24:  Break Camp

0700-0900: Wake up. Clean out cabin. Leave.

This is going to be an incredible experience and I’m looking forward to hearing a ton of stories over our 28 miles. Sometime during the weekend please find me and introduce yourself. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone.

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About the Author: Wesley Gray, PhD

Wesley Gray, PhD
After serving as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, Dr. Gray earned an MBA and a PhD in finance from the University of Chicago where he studied under Nobel Prize Winner Eugene Fama. Next, Wes took an academic job in his wife’s hometown of Philadelphia and worked as a finance professor at Drexel University. Dr. Gray’s interest in bridging the research gap between academia and industry led him to found Alpha Architect, an asset management firm dedicated to an impact mission of empowering investors through education. He is a contributor to multiple industry publications and regularly speaks to professional investor groups across the country. Wes has published multiple academic papers and four books, including Embedded (Naval Institute Press, 2009), Quantitative Value (Wiley, 2012), DIY Financial Advisor (Wiley, 2015), and Quantitative Momentum (Wiley, 2016). Dr. Gray currently resides in Palmas Del Mar Puerto Rico with his wife and three children. He recently finished the Leadville 100 ultramarathon race and promises to make better life decisions in the future.

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