The Norwegian ruck march event is held by many organizations with strict standards. It has a long history as it started off as a military strategic objective, however it has evolved to become an increasingly popular physical event.
Table of Contents
1. What Is The Norwegian Ruck March?
2. Norwegian Ruck March Standards
3. Norwegian Ruck March History
4. Can Civilians Do The Norwegian Foot March?
5. What Do You Get for Completing the Norwegian Ruck March?
6. How to Prepare for the Norwegian Ruck March?
7. Why Do Participants Sign up to the Norwegian Ruck March?
8. How Hard Is the Norwegian Ruck March?
9. How to Prepare for the Norwegian Ruck March
What Is The Norwegian Ruck March?
The Norwegian ruck march is a Norwegian armed forces skill badge which is earned when participants complete a 18.6 miles (30km) ruck carrying 25 pounds in their rucksacks. Participants receive a foreign military “Marsjmerket” badge upon completion.
The general rule is that Men must complete the Norwegian ruck march in 4 hours and 30 minutes, while women must complete it in approximately 5 hours. However there are exceptions to this rule.
There are several Norwegian ruck marches that take place each year. These marches are verified by a member of the Norwegian Army (source).
Major Todd Brown, the operation Sargent for 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) and noncommissioned officer in charge for organizing the march described the event as follows:
It’s a 30-kilometer march and was designed to create a level of toughness in their new recruits.”(source)
While soldiers are not required by any means to complete this ruck march, this is certainly a way for a soldier to go above and beyond their typical fitness routine. The minimum ruck march standards required for soldiers is 12 miles in 3 hours, learn more about army ruck march standards here.
Norwegian Ruck March Standards
Here are the Norwegian Ruck March standards and guidelines set out by the Norwegian Embassy, Office of the Defense Attaché (source).
There are 4 main standards that have to be met in order for the Norwegian ruck march to be considered completed successfully: Ruck test, uniform, weight, and Track/route.
1. Norwegian Ruck March Standard- Ruck Test (Age & Sex)
The Norwegian ruck march has different standards depending on the participants sex and age. Here’s Norwegian Ruck March standards (source):
|Age Bracket||Male Standard||Female Standard||Weight Carried|
|18-34||4 hours 30 Minutes||4 hours 50 Minutes||25 Pounds|
|35-42||4 hours 35 Minutes||5 hours 0 Minutes||25 Pounds|
|43-49||4 hours 40 Minutes||5 hours 15 Minutes||25 Pounds|
|50-54||4 hours 50 Minutes||5 hours 30 Minutes||25 Pounds|
|55-59||5 hours 0 Minutes||5 hours 45 Minutes||25 Pounds|
|60+||5 hours 15 Minutes||6 hours 0 Minutes||25 Pounds|
The Norwegian ruck march is tough however it is slightly adjusted to different age groups and to both sexes in order to make it a more inclusive ruck march.
While the time to complete the ruck is adjusted depending on your age and sex, the weight does not change. All participants must carry 25 pounds.
If you’re in the 60+ age cohort, you may be interested in learning more about why more seniors are rucking.
2. Norwegian Ruck March Standard- Uniform
For military personnel and soldiers taking on the Norwegian ruck march, an approved military uniform must be work. Furthermore, military grade boots must be worn.
As for civilians, they are allowed to wear civilian clothing. For example, they can wear long trousers and boots. However, their clothing must weigh 1.5kg (3.3 lbs).
3. Norwegian Ruck March Standard- Weight (in Rucksack)
Both military and civilian participants must carry 25 pounds in their rucksacks.
4. Norwegian Ruck March Standard – Track & Route
The track where the Norwegian ruck march is held at should be a “good path or dirt road”.
Distance markers are required every fifth kilometer (3.1 miles). Furthermore, there must be hydration and food station along the route.
The track must be “there and back” meaning you go to a point and go back where you started. However, as per regulations, if thats not possible the event organizers can set a shorter track that goes several rounds in a loop to make up a total of 18.6 miles (30km).
Here’s a video to show you what soldiers experienced as they participated in the Norwegian ruck march:
Norwegian Ruck March History
The Norwegian ruck march started in 1915 to test the marching endurance of soldiers in the Norwedian military (source) as they were preparing for World War 1 (source). The strategic goal of the Norwegian ruck march was to be able to move a high number of troops over a far distance, and quickly.
The expectation was to ensure that the troops were also combat ready after the march which is why they carried a rucksack that weight 11kg (25 pounds) containing the weaponry they needed (source). It was also expected of the soldiers to complete the ruck in their full uniforms and boots.
Soldiers who successfully rucked for 30km in 4 hours earned a bronze, silver, or gold “Marsjmerket”, also known as the Norwegian Armed Forces Marching Badge (source).Soldiers receive a bronze, silver, or gold badge depending on the number of times they completed the march.
This event eventually evolved and became a fitness challenge for anyone to participate in. However, soldiers and army personnel are the ones who primarily take it on as they know more about it than civilians. This event usually garners a lot of support in the community and some events use it to raise funds or provide food for those in need.
For example, SOUTHCOM and SOCSOUTH teamed up to complete the Norwegian ruck march in south Florida and collected 2,500 pounds of non-perishable food to help support service members, veterans, and their families (source).
Can Civilians Do The Norwegian Foot March?
Yes. Civilians can do the Norwegian Foot March. As per the guidelines issued by the Norwegian embassy office of defence, Civilians are to complete the Norwegian foot march by rucking 18.6 miles in approximately 4 hours for men and 5 hours for women.
See the above Norwegian Ruck March Standards for more details on the time and weight carried depending on your age and sex.
The difference between the civilian and military Norwegian ruck march is that soldiers must complete the ruck march in their uniforms (learn more about ar 670-1 regulations here). Whereas civilians can complete the event in regular civilian clothing (for example, long trousers and boots with a minimum weight of 1.5kg (3.3 lbs) (source).
Here’s an example of a civilian Norwegian ruck march event organized by the nonprofit organization, Memorial Day March. If you’re looking for any ruck event near you, check out our full list of rucking events near you.
Civilians such as myself are typically more involved in less intense rucking events such as joining local rucks through a local ruck club. Learn more about ruck clubs and find one near you.
In fact, more and more people (including civilians) have been rucking for fun and we have the data to prove it. Check out my latest study on The Rise of Rucking: Investigating the Growing Popularity of Rucking for interesting stats on how rucking as a sport has been growing since 2016.
What Do You Get for Completing the Norwegian Ruck March?
Soldiers who complete the Norwegian Ruck March receive a “Marsjmerket” badge. The race is of course verified by a member of the Norwegian Army (source).
While some may think there is monetary reward for completing the ruck march, there definitely is not. However, earning the badge says a lot about your physical fitness and mental toughness.
How to Prepare & Train for the Norwegian Ruck March?
To prepare for the Norwegian ruck march, participants should at least have some rucking experience under their belt. However, here are some tips to get you going:
- Train to ruck for long distances
- Don’t wear brand new rucking boots when training for the march or on the event (learn more about how to prevent foot blisters from rucking)
- Add more weights or heavier ruck plates as you progress in your training sessions.
- Monitor your diet
- Hydrate well
- Don’t run
- Work on your rucking pace
For more tips on how to prepare for any rucking event, check out our guide here. If you’re new to rucking, check out our complete guide for beginners along with a workout plan to help you get through the Norwegian ruck march.
Why Do Participants Sign up to the Norwegian Ruck March?
People sign up for the Norwegian ruck march for several reasons. The most common reason is for the physical challenge. The success rate of the Norwegian ruck march is rather low.
It gives you the opportunity to truly challenge yourself. It’s a unique challenge where you’re not competing against anyone, just yourself. It’s hard work and the mentally challenging. Completing this challenge says a lot about ones mental fortitude and their ability to take on challenges.
Another reason, which is an obvious one, would be bragging rights. As mentioned previously, participants who complete the ruck march receive a badge. If you’re in the military and are wearing that pin, you’ll definitely gain some recognition as it is well known to be a tough ruck.
How Hard Is the Norwegian Ruck March?
The difficulty of the Norwegian Ruck March can vary depending on an individual’s physical fitness level, training, and mental toughness. However, it is generally considered to be a challenging endurance event due to the combination of distance, weight, and time constraints.
Participants are required to ruck march a distance of 18.6 miles (30 km) while carrying a 25-pound (11 kg) rucksack. The time limits for completion also add to the challenge, with men having to finish in around 4 hours and 30 minutes, and women in approximately 5 hours.
The terrain, weather conditions, and individual factors such as fatigue and hydration can further impact the level of difficulty. The ruck march’s history as a military training exercise contributes to its reputation as a demanding test of both physical and mental strength.
How to Prepare for the Norwegian Ruck March
Preparing for the Norwegian Ruck March standards requires a thoughtful and strategic approach that combines cardiovascular endurance, strength training, mental fortitude, and attention to detail. Successfully completing this challenging event involves not only physical fitness but also mental resilience and smart preparation.
If I were preparing for a Norwegian Ruck March, here’s how I would prepare for it:
- Assessment and Baseline: Before starting your training, assess your current fitness level and capabilities. This will help you tailor your training plan to your specific needs.
You can do this by tracking your ruck session by weight, distance, and pace. Id recommend using a fitness tracker for moreaccurate recordings. Check out how to ruck in zone 2 and the best apps for rucking.
- Build Cardiovascular Endurance:
- Start with regular cardio exercises such as walking, jogging, or cycling. Gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts.
- Strength Training:
- Include strength training exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts, and upper body exercises to build the muscles needed for carrying the rucksack.
- Here are some workout exercises to boost your rucking performance.
- Rucking Practice:
- Begin with lighter weights in your rucksack and shorter distances, then gradually increase the weight and distance as you progress.
- Aim to mimic the conditions of the actual ruck march during your training, including the weight and terrain. Find out how much weight you should carry when rucking.
- Time Management:
- Train at a pace that matches the time standards for your age and sex, especially as the event approaches.
- Practice maintaining a consistent pace that allows you to complete the march within the specified time frame.
- Footwear and Gear:
- Hydration and Nutrition:
- Practice your hydration and nutrition strategies during training to ensure you’re properly fueled and hydrated for the event.
- Avoid trying new foods or supplements on the day of the march.
- Mental Toughness:
- Prepare mentally for the challenge. Visualize yourself completing the ruck march successfully.
- Develop strategies to stay focused and motivated during the event, especially when fatigue sets in.
- Allow adequate time for recovery between training sessions to prevent overtraining and reduce the risk of injury.
- Incorporate stretching and mobility exercises to maintain flexibility.
- Practice Events and Simulation: