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Training And Preparation Guide For A Tough Ruck Marathon

Get ready for a Tough Ruck Marathon with our comprehensive training guide. Learn about physical conditioning, gear selection, nutrition, and mental strategies to ensure a successful and rewarding experience.

What is a Tough Ruck Marathon?

Definition and Purpose

A Tough Ruck Marathon is not your typical marathon. It is a challenging and demanding endurance event that combines running and rucking, all while carrying a weighted backpack known as a rucksack. This event is designed to honor and support our military and first responders. Participants ruck or walk with a purpose, as they carry the names of fallen heroes on their backs, reminding them of the sacrifices made by these brave individuals.

The purpose of a Tough Ruck Marathon goes beyond simply completing a race. It is a way to pay tribute to those who have given their lives in service to our country. By carrying the names of fallen heroes, participants symbolically share in their burden and strive to honor their memory. It is a powerful and meaningful way to show support and gratitude to our military and first responders.

History and Origins

The Tough Ruck Marathon has its roots in the military tradition of rucking, which involves marching long distances with a heavy backpack. This practice is commonly used by soldiers to build strength, endurance, and mental toughness. The Tough Ruck Marathon was born out of a desire to bring this military tradition to the civilian world while also raising awareness and support for our heroes.

The inaugural Tough Ruck Marathon took place in 2010, organized by a group of dedicated individuals who wanted to make a difference. Since then, it has grown in popularity and has become a well-known event in the endurance community. The marathon is often held in conjunction with other military-themed events, creating a powerful and inspiring atmosphere.

Participants come from all walks of life, including military personnel, veterans, first responders, and civilians. They share a common goal: to challenge themselves physically and emotionally while honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The Tough Ruck Marathon has become a way for individuals to come together, push their limits, and show their unwavering support for our heroes.

The next section will delve into the training required for a Tough Ruck Marathon, including physical conditioning, endurance training, and strength training.

Training for a Tough Ruck Marathon

Preparing for a Tough Ruck Marathon requires a combination of physical conditioning, endurance training, and strength training. By focusing on these three key areas, you can build the necessary stamina, strength, and mental resilience to successfully complete this challenging event.

Physical Conditioning

Physical conditioning is the foundation for any endurance event, and a Tough Ruck Marathon is no exception. It involves improving your overall fitness level and building a solid base of cardiovascular endurance. This can be achieved through activities such as running, cycling, swimming, or any other form of aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate up.

To maximize your physical conditioning, it’s important to vary your workouts and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your training sessions. Incorporating interval training, where you alternate between high-intensity bursts and recovery periods, can help improve your cardiovascular fitness and increase your endurance.

Endurance Training

Endurance training specifically focuses on increasing your body’s ability to sustain physical activity for extended periods. It involves gradually increasing the duration of your workouts to simulate the demands of the Tough Ruck Marathon.

One effective endurance training technique is long-distance rucking. This involves rucking with a loaded backpack for extended periods, gradually increasing the weight and distance over time. Start with a light load and gradually add weight as your body adapts.

Another important aspect of endurance training is practicing rucking on different terrains. This will help you become accustomed to the challenges of varying surfaces, such as hills, trails, or uneven terrain. Incorporate hill repeats or trail runs into your training regimen to improve your ability to handle these conditions.

Strength Training

Strength training is essential for building the muscular strength and power needed to carry a rucksack for long distances. It helps prevent injuries, improves overall performance, and increases your body’s ability to handle the physical demands of the marathon.

Focus on exercises that target your lower body, core, and upper body. Squats, lunges, deadlifts, and step-ups are excellent lower body exercises that will help strengthen your legs and improve your stability. Incorporate exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and planks to build upper body and core strength.

In addition to traditional strength training exercises, it’s important to include exercises that specifically target the muscles used during rucking. These include farmer’s carries, kettlebell swings, and sandbag carries. These exercises not only build strength but also help improve your grip and stability while carrying a rucksack.

Remember to give your body adequate rest and recovery between strength training sessions to allow for muscle repair and growth. Aim for at least two to three strength training sessions per week, focusing on different muscle groups each day.

Table: Sample Strength Training Routine

Exercise Sets Reps Weight (lbs)
Squats 3 12 Bodyweight
Lunges 3 12 Dumbbells
Deadlifts 3 10 Barbell
Step-ups 3 10 Dumbbells
Push-ups 3 12 Bodyweight
Pull-ups 3 8 Bodyweight
Planks 3 30s Bodyweight
Farmer’s Carries 3 30m Dumbbells
Kettlebell Swings 3 15 Kettlebell
Sandbag Carries 3 30m Sandbag

Note: This is just a sample routine. Adjust the weight and repetitions based on your current fitness level and gradually increase as you progress.

Equipment and Gear for a Tough Ruck Marathon

When it comes to participating in a Tough Ruck Marathon, having the right equipment and gear is crucial. The marathon is a physically demanding event that requires participants to carry a rucksack throughout the entire course. In this section, we will discuss the key components of equipment and gear for a Tough Ruck Marathon, including rucksack selection, footwear and socks, and clothing and layering.

Rucksack Selection

Choosing the right rucksack is essential for a successful Tough Ruck Marathon. You’ll want a rucksack that is durable, comfortable, and can withstand the rigors of the event. Consider the following factors when selecting a rucksack:

  • Capacity: The rucksack should have enough capacity to carry all the necessary items, including water, snacks, extra clothing, and any required gear. Aim for a rucksack with a capacity of at least 20 liters.
  • Comfort: Look for a rucksack with adjustable straps and a padded back panel. This will ensure a comfortable fit and reduce the risk of discomfort or chafing during the marathon.
  • Organization: Choose a rucksack that has multiple compartments and pockets. This will allow you to organize your gear and easily access items when needed.
  • Weight distribution: A rucksack with a waist belt and chest strap can help distribute the weight evenly across your body, reducing strain on your shoulders and back.

Take the time to try on different rucksacks and find one that feels comfortable and suits your specific needs. Remember, the rucksack will be your constant companion throughout the marathon, so it’s important to choose one that you feel confident and comfortable wearing.

Footwear and Socks

Proper footwear and socks are crucial for a Tough Ruck Marathon. The long-distance nature of the event puts a significant amount of stress on your feet, so it’s important to choose footwear that provides support and comfort. Here are some tips for selecting the right footwear and socks:

  • Stability and support: Look for shoes that offer stability and support, especially around the ankle. This will help prevent injuries and provide stability while carrying the rucksack.
  • Cushioning: Choose shoes with ample cushioning to absorb the impact of each step. This will help reduce fatigue and prevent discomfort during the marathon.
  • Fit: Ensure that your shoes fit properly, with enough room for your toes to move comfortably. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to blisters and other foot problems.
  • Socks: Invest in high-quality moisture-wicking socks that provide cushioning and prevent blisters. Avoid cotton socks, as they tend to retain moisture and can lead to discomfort.

Remember to break in your shoes and socks before the marathon to ensure they are comfortable and don’t cause any issues during the event. It’s also a good idea to bring extra socks in case you need to change them during the marathon.

Clothing and Layering

Choosing the right clothing and layering strategy is essential for a Tough Ruck Marathon. The weather conditions can vary throughout the event, so it’s important to be prepared for different temperatures and weather conditions. Here are some tips for selecting clothing and layering effectively:

  • Moisture-wicking fabrics: Opt for clothing made from moisture-wicking fabrics that will keep you dry and comfortable throughout the marathon. These fabrics help to wick sweat away from your body, preventing the build-up of moisture and reducing the risk of chafing.
  • Layering: Dress in layers to accommodate changes in temperature. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add a lightweight insulating layer, and finish with a windproof and waterproof outer layer. This will allow you to adjust your clothing as needed throughout the marathon.
  • Headgear and gloves: Don’t forget to protect your head and hands. Wear a lightweight hat or visor to shield your face from the sun, and consider wearing gloves to protect your hands from blisters and the elements.
  • Reflective gear: If the marathon takes place during low-light conditions, it’s important to wear reflective gear to ensure visibility to other participants and support staff. This can include reflective vests, armbands, or accessories.

By choosing the right rucksack, footwear and socks, and clothing and layering strategy, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in a Tough Ruck Marathon. Remember to take the time to test out your gear during training sessions to ensure everything is comfortable and functioning properly. With the right and gear, you’ll be ready to tackle the challenges of the marathon and achieve your goals.

Nutrition and Hydration for a Tough Ruck Marathon

Pre-Race Meal Planning

Preparing for a Tough Ruck Marathon involves not only physical training but also proper . Your body needs the right fuel to perform at its best during the event. Pre-race meal planning plays a crucial role in ensuring that you have enough energy to complete the marathon.

To begin with, it’s important to focus on carbohydrates, as they are the primary source of energy for endurance activities. Incorporate complex carbohydrates into your meals, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These foods provide sustained energy and help prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes. Additionally, they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which support overall health and digestion.

It’s also essential to include a moderate amount of protein in your pre-race meals. Protein helps repair and rebuild muscles, which is especially important during long endurance events. Lean sources of protein, such as chicken, fish, tofu, or beans, are good options. Pair them with carbohydrates for a balanced meal that will keep you feeling satisfied and energized.

Another aspect of pre-race meal planning is timing. Ideally, you should eat a meal that is rich in carbohydrates and moderate in protein about 2-3 hours before the start of the marathon. This allows enough time for digestion and ensures that your body has enough glycogen stores for the event. Avoid eating a heavy meal too close to the start time, as it may cause digestive discomfort or sluggishness.

In addition to your main pre-race meal, you may also consider incorporating small, easily digestible snacks in the hours leading up to the marathon. These snacks can provide a quick boost of energy and help maintain blood sugar levels. Some options include a banana, a handful of nuts, or a granola bar. Experiment with different snacks during your training to see what works best for you and doesn’t cause any digestive issues.

Remember to hydrate properly before the marathon as well. Hydration plays a crucial role in maintaining performance and preventing dehydration. Aim to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day before the event. Water is the best choice, but if you prefer flavored beverages, opt for natural fruit-infused water or electrolyte drinks without added sugars.

On-The-Go Snacks

During a Tough Ruck Marathon, it’s important to have on-the-go snacks that provide quick energy and sustenance without weighing you down. These snacks should be easy to carry and consume while you’re on the move. Here are some suggestions for portable and energizing snacks to fuel your marathon:

  • Energy bars or granola bars: These bars are convenient and packed with nutrients. Look for bars that have a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Avoid bars with excessive added sugars or artificial ingredients.
  • Trail mix: Create your own trail mix by combining nuts, dried fruits, and a sprinkle of dark chocolate or coconut flakes. This mix provides a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to keep you energized.
  • Fresh fruit: Apples, bananas, or oranges are great options for portable fruits. They provide natural sugars for quick energy and are also hydrating. Pack them in a small container or wrap them in a reusable cloth to protect them from getting squished.
  • Nut butter packets: Single-serving packets of nut butter, such as almond or peanut butter, are convenient and provide a good source of healthy fats and protein. You can pair them with a piece of fruit or whole-grain crackers for a satisfying and energy-boosting snack.
  • Protein bars: If you prefer a higher protein snack, opt for protein bars that are specifically designed for on-the-go consumption. Look for bars that have a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
  • Rice cakes: Rice cakes are light, portable, and provide a quick source of carbohydrates. You can top them with nut butter, avocado, or a slice of lean protein for added nutrients and flavor.

Remember to listen to your body’s needs and choose snacks that work best for you. It’s also important to practice using these snacks during your training to ensure they don’t cause any digestive issues or discomfort.

Hydration Strategies

Proper hydration is key to maintaining performance and preventing dehydration during a Tough Ruck Marathon. Here are some hydration strategies to keep in mind:

  • Start hydrating before the marathon: Begin hydrating the day before the event by drinking plenty of fluids. Aim to consume about 8-16 ounces of water or electrolyte drinks every few hours.
  • Carry a hydration pack or water bottle: During the marathon, it’s important to have easy access to fluids. Consider using a hydration pack or carrying a water bottle with you. This way, you can drink whenever you feel the need without relying solely on aid stations.
  • Drink regularly: Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Thirst is a sign that you’re already dehydrated. Instead, sip fluids regularly throughout the marathon to maintain hydration levels. Aim to drink about 4-8 ounces of water or electrolyte drinks every 15-20 minutes.
  • Monitor urine color: Pay attention to the color of your urine as an indicator of your hydration status. Ideally, your urine should be a pale yellow or straw color. Darker urine may be a sign of dehydration, and you should increase your fluid intake.
  • Consider electrolyte replenishment: Long endurance activities like a Tough Ruck Marathon can cause electrolyte imbalances due to excessive sweating. Consider using electrolyte drinks or adding electrolyte tablets to your water to replenish these important minerals.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can have a diuretic effect, increasing urine production and potentially leading to dehydration. It’s best to limit or avoid these substances before and during the marathon.

By incorporating proper pre-race meal planning, having on-the-go snacks, and following hydration strategies, you’ll be equipped to perform at your best during a Tough Ruck Marathon. Remember to listen to your body’s needs, experiment with different and hydration strategies during your training, and make adjustments accordingly. Stay fueled, hydrated, and enjoy the experience of completing this challenging event.

Mental Preparation for a Tough Ruck Marathon

Goal Setting

Setting clear goals is essential for any successful endeavor, and the Tough Ruck Marathon is no exception. Before embarking on this challenging event, take the time to define your goals. What do you hope to achieve? Is it completing the marathon within a certain time frame or pushing your limits to see how far you can go? By setting specific goals, you give yourself something to strive for and a sense of purpose throughout your training and the race itself.

Visualization Techniques

Visualization is a powerful mental tool that can greatly enhance your performance in the Tough Ruck Marathon. Take a moment each day to mentally rehearse the race. Close your eyes and imagine yourself successfully completing each stage of the event. Visualize the course, the terrain, and the challenges you may encounter. See yourself overcoming any obstacles with ease and crossing the finish line with a sense of accomplishment. By visualizing success, you are programming your mind to believe in your abilities and boosting your confidence.

Overcoming Mental Challenges

During the Tough Ruck Marathon, you will undoubtedly face mental challenges along the way. Fatigue, self-doubt, and the desire to quit may try to creep in, but it’s important to be prepared to overcome these obstacles. One effective strategy is to break the race down into smaller, manageable segments. Instead of focusing on the entire distance, concentrate on reaching the next milestone. This approach helps to keep your mind focused and prevents overwhelming thoughts.

Another helpful technique is positive self-talk. Encourage yourself with uplifting and motivating statements. Remind yourself of your training, your determination, and the reasons why you embarked on this journey. By replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations, you can maintain a strong mental state and push through any challenges that arise.

Additionally, drawing inspiration from others can be a powerful source of motivation. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who share your passion for the Tough Ruck Marathon. Seek out stories of individuals who have overcome adversity and achieved their goals. Their stories can serve as a reminder that you too have the strength and resilience to conquer any mental challenges that come your way.

In summary, is just as important as physical training when it comes to the Tough Ruck Marathon. By setting clear goals, utilizing visualization techniques, and developing strategies to overcome mental challenges, you can enhance your performance and push through any obstacles that arise during the race. Remember, success is not only about the physical aspects but also about the mental fortitude and determination that you bring to the event.

Injury Prevention and Recovery for a Tough Ruck Marathon

One of the most important aspects of preparing for a Tough Ruck Marathon is ensuring you are able to prevent injuries and recover effectively. This requires a combination of proper warm-up exercises, maintaining proper body mechanics during the race, and implementing post-race recovery strategies. In this section, we will delve into each of these areas to give you a comprehensive understanding of how to keep yourself in optimal condition throughout your rucking journey.

Stretching and Warm-Up Exercises

Before embarking on a Tough Ruck Marathon, it is crucial to warm up your body and stretch your muscles to prevent injuries and enhance performance. Warm-up exercises increase blood flow to your muscles, making them more pliable and less prone to strains or tears. Here are some essential warm-up exercises you should incorporate into your routine:

  1. Jumping Jacks: Start with a series of jumping jacks to get your heart rate up and loosen your muscles.
  2. Arm Circles: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms out to the sides. Make small circles with your arms, gradually increasing the size of the circles.
  3. Hip Circles: Stand with your hands on your hips and make circles with your hips in a clockwise and counterclockwise direction.
  4. Leg Swings: Stand next to a wall or sturdy object and swing one leg forward and backward, gradually increasing the range of motion. Repeat with the other leg.
  5. Calf Raises: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly raise your heels off the ground, then lower them back down.

Remember to hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds and never push yourself to the point of pain. Stretching should be a gentle and gradual process that prepares your body for the physical demands of the marathon.

Proper Body Mechanics

Maintaining proper body mechanics during a Tough Ruck Marathon is essential to prevent injuries and optimize your performance. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

  1. Posture: Stand tall and engage your core muscles to support your spine. Avoid slouching or leaning forward, as this can put unnecessary strain on your back and neck.
  2. Foot Placement: Take shorter strides and land on the midfoot or forefoot rather than your heels. This helps distribute the impact of each step more evenly and reduces the risk of shin splints or knee pain.
  3. Arm Swing: Keep your arms relaxed and bent at a 90-degree angle. Swing them naturally back and forth, in sync with your stride, to maintain balance and momentum.
  4. Breathing: Breathe deeply and rhythmically to supply oxygen to your muscles. Avoid shallow breathing, which can lead to muscle fatigue and cramps.

By paying attention to your body mechanics, you can reduce the risk of injuries and maintain efficient movement throughout the marathon.

Post-Race Recovery Strategies

After completing a Tough Ruck Marathon, it is crucial to prioritize your recovery to minimize muscle soreness and promote faster healing. Here are some post-race recovery strategies to aid in your overall recovery process:

  1. Cool Down: After crossing the finish line, continue walking at a slow pace for 10-15 minutes to gradually bring your heart rate down and prevent blood from pooling in your legs.
  2. Hydration: Replenish your fluids by drinking plenty of water or sports drinks containing electrolytes. This helps restore the balance of fluids and minerals in your body.
  3. Nutrition: Consume a balanced meal within 30 minutes of finishing the marathon to replenish your glycogen stores and promote muscle repair. Opt for a combination of carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.
  4. Compression: Consider wearing compression socks or using compression sleeves on your legs to enhance blood circulation and reduce muscle soreness.
  5. Active Recovery: Engage in light activities such as walking or gentle stretching the day after the marathon to promote blood flow and prevent stiffness.

Remember, recovery is just as important as the training itself. By implementing these post-race recovery strategies, you can bounce back quicker and be better prepared for future rucking challenges.

Tips for a Successful Tough Ruck Marathon

Pace Management

Finding the right pace is crucial in ensuring a successful Tough Ruck Marathon. It’s important to remember that this event is a test of endurance, not speed. Trying to maintain a fast pace from the start can quickly lead to burnout and exhaustion. Instead, focus on setting a sustainable pace that allows you to keep going for the entire duration of the marathon.

One effective strategy for pace management is to start off at a slightly slower pace than you think you can handle. This allows you to conserve energy and build up momentum gradually. As the marathon progresses, you can then gradually increase your pace if you feel comfortable doing so. By starting off at a slower pace, you’ll also have the advantage of passing other participants later in the race, which can be a great motivator.

Teamwork and Communication

Participating in a Tough Ruck Marathon is not only a physical challenge but also a team effort. The camaraderie and support from your fellow participants can make a significant difference in your overall experience. Engage in open communication with your team members to ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal.

During the marathon, it’s important to work together as a team, especially during challenging sections of the course. Help each other out by taking turns carrying the rucksack or offering words of encouragement. Remember, the goal is to finish as a team, and the bonds formed during this shared experience can be incredibly rewarding.

Maintaining good communication with your team also involves being mindful of each other’s physical and mental states. If someone is struggling, offer your support and reassurance. Likewise, if you find yourself struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to your teammates for help. Together, you can overcome any obstacles that come your way.

Motivation and Mindset

Completing a Tough Ruck Marathon requires mental strength and a positive mindset. There will inevitably be moments when you feel tired, sore, or even doubt your ability to finish. In these moments, it’s important to tap into your motivation and push through.

One effective way to stay motivated is by setting small, achievable goals throughout the marathon. Break down the distance into manageable sections and focus on reaching each milestone. Celebrate each small victory, whether it’s completing a certain number of miles or conquering a particularly challenging hill.

Another powerful tool for maintaining motivation is visualization. Take a moment to visualize yourself crossing the finish line and accomplishing your goal. Imagine the sense of pride and accomplishment you will feel. This mental imagery can help fuel your determination and keep you focused on the task at hand.

Lastly, remember to stay positive and embrace the experience. The Tough Ruck Marathon is not meant to be easy, but it is meant to be rewarding. Embrace the challenges, the sweat, and the pain, knowing that each step brings you closer to achieving something truly remarkable.

Benefits and Rewards of Completing a Tough Ruck Marathon

Completing a Tough Ruck Marathon is not just about crossing the finish line. It is a transformative experience that offers numerous and rewards for those who take on the challenge. In this section, we will explore the personal growth and achievement, the sense of community and camaraderie, and the fulfillment of supporting a worthy cause that come with completing a Tough Ruck Marathon.

Personal Growth and Achievement

Participating in a Tough Ruck Marathon is a test of mental and physical endurance. It pushes you to your limits and beyond, allowing you to discover inner strength and resilience you never knew you had. As you train and prepare for the marathon, you will develop discipline, determination, and a strong work ethic. The journey towards completing a Tough Ruck Marathon is not just about the race day itself, but the months of preparation leading up to it. Each milestone reached and every obstacle overcome along the way contribute to a sense of personal growth and achievement.

Completing a Tough Ruck Marathon is a significant accomplishment that will boost your self-confidence and self-esteem. It is a tangible representation of your hard work and dedication. Crossing that finish line will fill you with a sense of pride and accomplishment that can carry over into other areas of your life. The mental and physical challenges you face during the marathon will teach you valuable lessons about perseverance, determination, and the power of pushing through adversity. These lessons can be applied to any aspect of your life, helping you overcome obstacles and achieve success.

Community and Camaraderie

One of the most rewarding aspects of participating in a Tough Ruck Marathon is the sense of community and camaraderie you will experience. You will join a group of like-minded individuals who are all striving towards a common goal. The shared experience of training and completing the marathon creates a bond that is difficult to replicate in other settings.

During the marathon itself, you will find yourself surrounded by fellow participants who are facing the same challenges as you. The support and encouragement from your fellow ruckers can be a powerful motivator to keep pushing forward when the going gets tough. The camaraderie that develops during the marathon is truly special, as you all work together to conquer the course and achieve your goals.

Beyond the marathon, the Tough Ruck community continues to provide a sense of belonging and support. You will become part of a network of individuals who understand the unique challenges and triumphs that come with completing a Tough Ruck Marathon. This community offers a wealth of knowledge, advice, and encouragement to help you on your journey.

Supporting a Worthy Cause

One of the most meaningful aspects of completing a Tough Ruck Marathon is the opportunity to support a worthy cause. Tough Ruck Marathons are often held to raise awareness and funds for organizations that support veterans, first responders, and other deserving causes. By participating in the marathon, you are not only challenging yourself physically and mentally, but you are also making a difference in the lives of others.

Knowing that your efforts are contributing to a greater cause adds a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment to the experience. It gives your training and participation in the marathon a greater meaning and significance. Whether you have a personal connection to the cause or simply want to make a positive impact in the world, completing a Tough Ruck Marathon allows you to actively support and give back to something greater than yourself.

In conclusion, completing a Tough Ruck Marathon offers a multitude of and rewards. From personal growth and achievement to the sense of community and camaraderie, and the fulfillment of supporting a worthy cause, the experience is truly transformative. It challenges you physically and mentally, pushing you to discover your true potential. The sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with crossing the finish line is unmatched. So, lace up your boots, join the Tough Ruck community, and embark on a journey that will not only change your life but also make a positive impact on the lives of others.

  • Personal growth and achievement
  • Community and camaraderie
  • Supporting a worthy cause

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