After having competed in the Boston Marathon twice, Kayla McCann will join Tough Ruck Nation to complete the Tough Ruck 26.2 Boston For the Fallen on April 16 while carrying a 35-pound rucksack on her back.
“I’ve been running since I was in sixth grade. I joined the cross country team at Hopkinton Middle School when I was in seventh grade and ran all throughout middle school and high school,” said McCann, now a junior at Northeastern University. “And since, you know, Hopkinton is the start of the Boston Marathon, I’ve always just been so inspired and wanted to be one of those runners.”
It didn’t take long — the exceptional young lady ran her first Boston Marathon in 2020 at the age of 18 to benefit Brad Canty’s Underdog Scholarship, and ran it again in 2022.
“This will be my third marathon, and this time I’ll be doing it with a ruck on my back!” she said cheerfully.
Tough Ruck is the only ruck march partnered with the Boston Marathon. Finishers are awarded the official Boston Marathon medallion and recognition from the Boston Athletic Association.
Tough Ruck Nation (toughruck.org), per its website, is a “group of military, first responders and civilians whose sole purpose is to ruck in honor and in memory of our fallen service members, police, firefighters and EMTs, while raising funds to support our warriors and families of the fallen. We will march with our rucks and carry the names of our fallen comrades with us.”
That’s a cause McCann, who’s in the Army ROTC, is proud to support.
“In the few years I’ve been in the ROTC program, I’ve been exposed to what the service members put in to our country and all they did for us, and it’s like, an honor. And since I’m able to ruck for them, I feel like I should,” she said.
Supporting Tough Ruck seems a natural choice for McCann, who noted three reasons she joined ROTC: “I’ve always loved to challenge myself — like in high school, whether physically, or mentally by taking hard classes, so I’ve always just loved a challenge, and ROTC definitely gives me that challenge.
“It also gives me a lot of opportunities to travel. … I had the opportunity to go to West Point to go to Air Assault School and got to jump out of helicopters, so that was really cool. … And I’ll have opportunities to go to different schools and meet people in different countries around the world.
“And it gives me the greatest purpose in life! I want to be an Army nurse — I feel like if I’m helping the soldiers who are fighting for the rest of the people in the United States, I’m helping the most amount of people. So it gives me a greater sense of purpose in what I’m doing with my daily studies for becoming a nurse.”
ROTC has not only challenged her, broadened her horizons and reinforced her purpose, it has also united her with a group of people who share her drive and dedication.
“We’re doing it kind of as a team — other cadets from my battalion are doing it, so they’ll also be helping me through it,” McCann said of the Tough Ruck marathon. “The Army is just huge, huge teamwork, you know. … Everyone is working toward the same cause, which is great.”
Tough Ruck, held two days before the Boston Marathon, starts and finishes at The Fenn School in Concord, with the course venturing into Lexington before doubling back. McCann’s Tough Ruck donation page can be found at runsignup.com/mccann-toughruck.
Congratulations Kayla on your accomplishments, you are an exceptional person… Keep up the good work & best of luck in your future endeavors..