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Pittsburgh Athletes ‘Ruck’ At Half Marathon Walk

Photo by Alex Meyer Members of Steel City Ruck Club, from left, Kristi Devenyi, Alex Devenyi, Daniel Bailey, Amber Perry, Christine Lamanna, Brandy Sall and Jesse Velazquez stand Saturday morning near the finish line for the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic Walk. Rucking is an activity that involves walking with a weighted backpack.

WHEELING — A group of athletes from Pittsburgh took part in the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic Walk on Saturday morning with a mission based on the mantra “running sucks.”

Members of the Steel City Ruck Club were doing pushups on the grass at Heritage Port before the walk began, preparing for their upcoming task: carrying weights in backpacks across the 13-mile course.

“It’s basically walking with weight with a purpose,” Christine Lamanna said of rucking, the activity the group is based around.

Rucking means walking with a weighted “rucksack,” a special kind of backpack, as a form of cardio exercise and an alternative to running, according to the organization GoRuck. The club is a GoRuck affiliated group.

“It’s based off a military training. We just want to get people out and fit again,” said Alex Devenyi, a member of the club who took part along with his wife, Kristi Devenyi. “We know running sucks, so why not do walking with the same benefits as running?”

On Saturday, Kristi was carrying 20 pounds-plus of water, an additional 7 pounds, and Alex was carrying 30 pounds-plus water.

“Somebody might do a little bit heavier, somebody might do a little bit lighter, but it doesn’t really matter,” said Alex, who served in the military for 10 years. “You can train with anybody. It’s all scalable.”

The couple, who live in Pittsburgh, said they were participating in the half marathon walk to honor their friend who recently died, Cadre Roony.

“He was an Army ranger and just passed away from pancreatic cancer at 42 years old, a dad with two kids,” Kristi said. “We’re doing this in honor of him today.”

Rucking is more than a challenging form of exercise, Lamanna said, it’s a way to pay respect to the military. The activity is a part of U.S. Army Special Forces training.

“It’s actually kind of great for our marriage, we can go walk and talk,” Alex said.

In addition, this is the first year the group has participated in the half marathon, the couple noted. Kristi said she is from Bellaire originally and ran in the Ogden 5K in previous years.

“Knowing that we have one of the toughest half marathons in the country in our backyard, you gotta be there,” she said.

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