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Recent Race Reviews
18 thoughts on “Rugged Maniac”
Love the multi laps. Could have been cheaper but it IS RACE LOCAL so worth it.
This year was my second time running this race. Last year I came with a big crew and we all ran it together. This year, I was on my own. (But as a Spahten….you are NEVER really alone!!) I was worried about the terrain because I presently have a bum knee and I remembered the hills from last year. Turns out I ended up fast walking most of the race and running where I could. There was a lot of sandy areas that I don’t remember from last year and they made running with my knee a bit challenging. I met some great people on the way around the course but surprisingly enough….never ran into a Spahten (at least not in “uniform” while I was on the course. Of course I hung out at the team tent and chatted with lots of folks there.
As far as the list….
Communication: I think they do a great job with communication in this race. I got all of my pertinent information in a timely manner and had everything I needed for registration etc. prior to race day. Even at the event, they are great at announcing what is going on and where and when the next wave is going off.
Venue & Festival: I love the area and the fact that the American Legion post is benefited from the race. My only complaint is that is is very very crowded. There is not much room to move around once things get going. I found myself weaving in and out of people all day. It doesn’t seem this crowded at other races….
Course & Obstacles: As previously mentioned, the sandy terrain was a challenge and unexpected. The obstacles were a blast! I HATE water obstacles! I do this race to conquer my fear! All of the obstacles were fun but I was most impressed with myself on the slides which seemed a bit higher this year (or is that just me!!) I managed, with much self-talk and some friendly pushing from a few other racers, to complete the slide with my eyes “mostly” open. This is the only race where I see a warped wall. So this was only my second time ever. There were two volunteers on the right side of the wall pulling people over. I gave them a quick thumbs up and ran for their hands (knowing I was not going to reach the top!!) They easily launched me over the wall. It was awesome!
Swag & Awards: Usual medal – nothing much different than others. This year I got the woman’s style shirt. Loved it! great fit, awesome style.
Overall: Excellent race! Can’t wait to go back next year!
This was my third time completing a Rugged Maniac and it has always lived up the expectations! The ratio of obstacles to the distance is hard to beat! Great after party with my hard cider, mechanical bull, and pull up competitions, loved it and can’t wait to return next year either back at the Southwick or Englishtown venue!
This is one of the most fun races I run every year. The Obstacles aren’t the most challenging but they mix in some that are just fun like the Crag and Anti-gravity. The slide at the end after the warped wall was a massive improvement over last years ending obstacle. The Festival is a good time too. We always end up hanging out for a while after we run and this year spent time cheering people on at the warped wall while enjoying a beverage or 2. I’ll definitely be back.
Full featured review right here: https://www.newenglandspahtens.com/featured-review-rugged-maniac-ma-2017/
Okay, before today I had never done a Rugged Maniac….I 100% went into this race to have fun and by all means was fun had…..
Talking about the venue and festival….they had a good amount of various vendors, then they also had a mechanical bull you could ride….they had a pretty decent merchandise table and I do have to say I like how they had it self serve you walk in one side walk around get what you want and pay at the other side….only had to wait to pay only down side was that it quickly got warm under the tent….at center stage they had an MC that entertained the crowd with various “contests” I noted a pie eating contest and a pull up contest (I hope people partaked in the pie eating after running) to note a few…..he did good not only bring up various people to participate but calling out their supporters.
When it came to obstacles this was definitely a “fun” race would be really good for anyone looking for a fun race or a first timer….the race had miniature hills that were more like bumps in the road. Most of the obstacles would be deemed by the seasoned OCR competitor as easy…..crawling through the mud, jumping over fire, jumping into water, walls….and slides….slides were absolutely fun, yes they would challenge someone with a fear of heights but once you overcome that you will want to do it again and again and just might. They did have obstacles that could require help like the warped wall where right before the finish line spectators were able to watch as people repeatedly lent a helping hand to anyone that needed it.
The venue was extremely well set up for spectators too, they were if ambitious enough, able to basically follow the person(s) they came to watch throughout the entire course.
The swag was pretty typically a shirt and a medal and a beer. The nice thing is that with every lap you completed you received a medal. I know they had a competitive wave but can’t speak to that whereas that isn’t my game.
I wish there had been more photographers on course because many of the obstacles such as the giant slide and warped wall could have presented for some amazing photos. They did definitely have photographers but being someone that loves the photos I would have like to see more. They had one at the obstacles that was a puddle of mud under a ladder like structure that you had to pull yourself across, would have moved him to the slide or warped wall for better “action” shots. As someone that likes to see the safety I did like see that at the giant slide they had a staff at the top calling when for people to go that it was safe and clear, not to put down volunteers but I liked seeing it be a staff because in my opinion I felt they would definitely take the job more seriously. There were two obstacles that had fire and at both of them they had fire department personnel at I especially liked seeing that at the triple fire jump because I have done a handful of fire jumps but this one was a little intimidating because the flames seemed higher and had three of them in a row.
This course definitely could have presented as challenging for some but definitely opened itself to be a fun run. There did appear to be 2 different “parking lots” one of which was being manned by the local youth sports and the other by rugged Maniac both costed the same $10 but it seems as though the youth sports lot was a lot closer. There was plenty to be done by the family while not running. Also they offered multilap for $25 for a lap after your first as many as you wanted.
Having completed Rugged Maniac for my first time with no real expectations I 100% will be back because it was a great time filled with fun and laughter with friends. Highly recommend this event even to those that fear an OCR because the obstacles were definitely manageable for the majority of people.
If you ask people in the OCR space what their first obstacle course race was, often the answer will be Rugged Maniac. A New England based company with their first-ever race in nearby Southwick, Massachusetts, made it big on Shark Tank, and now has races across the country.
I came to run Rugged Maniac this year in a somewhat surprising way — because of work. While the NE Spahtens sent a nice contingent to Rugged Maniac, and I formally sign-up with the team (and socialized with them before and after the race), my invite to run Rugged came from the head strength and conditioning coach at Amherst College. As a result, my first even Rugged Maniac was in the company of fellow Amherst College employees — both Coach and the Chief of Police (the latter of whom was kind enough to drive us to and from Southwick in his ultra-cool orange Mini convertible!).
Rugged Maniac is a 5K course, and this Sunday’s race fit this expectation measuring in at 3.5 miles. The race is a fun OCR and thus is only clock timed and features obstacles more focused on fun than intensive physical challenge. That being said, you can absolutely challenge yourself at this race. It’s 3.5 miles of running at a motocross. The entire course lacks the huge climbs of a mountain, but running up and down the motocross mounds is no joke when it comes to cardio.
We arrived in Southwick at the venue at a little after 9:00 a.m. and in plenty of time for our 10:00 a.m. start. Parking was onsite and cost $10. It was about a two minute walk from the car to the main festival area, where check-in was a snap. I showed my waver and ID and got a bib (for photos — no timer, as you may recall) and a finishers t-shirt.
The festival area has about a half dozen vendors, bathrooms were plentiful, and there were nearby changing tents for post-race. Rugged had let the Spahtens set up a team tent. I headed over right away to say, “Hello” to folks and quickly change my shoes. Rugged utilizes both inflatables and lots of black tarps for water pits, so my regular Icebugs were out and my Reeboks were in. Fortunately, the Reeboks were the shoe for the right shoe for this race. They drained amazingly well, gave me enough traction on the dirt of the motocross, and mercifully did not cut up my heel this time, like they did at Savage Race. (The shorter distance may have been a factor here.)
At around 9:50 a.m., we headed over to the starting line, where we did something that I don’t routinely do — we lined up at the front. Note to self: Lining up at the start is awesome! The signal to go occurred, and I was able to head off at a good clip without having to weave around other racers. I love that everyone runs at their own speed but today at Rugged, I wanted to push to run as quickly as a could and as glad to be able to get in front of the group. This translated to zero waiting at any of the obstacles and an overall course time of 42:32 (12:09 minutes / mile), which I’m happy with for a course will obstacles and rolling hills.
As I’ve mentioned before the 3.5 mile course was spread over a motocross, which meant that we were constantly working our way up and down small hills. This was definitely a good deal of work, especially cardiovascularly, if you wanted to run the race. I kept up a good pace, especially in the first mile as I tried to keep up with Coach, but he was too fast, and in the second mile, I definitely lost him. (Note: Coach finished in around 37 minutes and Chief finished in 51 minutes, so I was in the middle with my 42 minutes. Not bad.)
The obstacles at Rugged Maniac were fun. Water crawl abounded, but on a day with hot temperatures — it was in the mid-70s even at 10:00 a.m. — water was welcome. There were over 25 obstacles in all and while the challenge level was modest, there were some really fun inflatables, two great slides, and a few innovative obstacles — think trampolines — that I hadn’t seen before. Here’s the breakdown as best as I can recall:
1. Quad Burners: Quick rolling hills in rapid succession.
2. Barricades: A short wall — think 4′. At the top, there was a rolling piece of pipe to add some interest.
3. Jacob’s Ladder: Ladder wall.
4. Guillotine: This was interesting! Think of the walls that people on American Ninja Warrior have to lift and then roll under. This was like that.
5. Jump Start: Another ladder wall but this time with a traditional wall below, causing racers to have to jump to grab the first rung.
6. The Trenches: Three or four trenches in succession. For best result, I tried to jump over as many as I could.
7. Swing shot: For this obstacle, you had to grab a bar and swing across water the other side. I actually had a bit of a mishap on this obstacle, landing wrong on the dismount and twisting my right ankle. This had me limping along to the next few obstacles, after which, I was able to shake things out and get back to running along with a more normal stride.
8. Claustrophobia: Crawl through covered trenches. These were tall enough, I could almost walk through very bent over for speed.
9. The Gauntlet: Very interesting. We had to run across a floating pad on the water and try to avoid swinging bags. A balance challenge to be sure.
10. Pull Your Weight: This was a hoist with a chain on the end. It was no problem, even for me, in terms of weight.
11. Tipping Point: Two sets of teeter totters.
12. Frog Hop: Another interesting one, where you had to jump from floating platform to floating platform without falling off. Another balance challenge.
13. Fenced In: Racers had to crawl through a water obstacle that was covered with a fence. This reminded me of a similar obstacle at Tough Mudder, though with more clearance and with shallower water.
14. The Crag: In Rugged’s words, “To conquer The Crag you have to climb steep inflatable cliffs and then squeeze your way through the logs on top before climbing down the other side.” This was a fun one! The logs at the top did require some maneuvering to get through.
15. Antigravity: Trampolines! Racers had to jump there way along a pair of trampolines to a wall where you climbed up and over.
16. Bang the Gong: This obstacle required jumping to hit a gong suspended over water. They were high, and I totally had no chance, but I did get to cool off.
17. Pack Mule: This was a short carry with a 25 or 50 lb. Wreck Bag.
18. Accelerator: The first of two water slides, and it was a fast one!
19. Commando Crawl: A barbed wire crawl through water.
20. Pipe Dream: Crawl through a large pipe.
21. Pyromaniac: This was one of the best fire jumps I’ve seen! It was not one but three and they were all really blazing. Fingers crossed for an epic picture.
22. The Ringer: This was a set of rings over a water pit. The rings were quite tall, almost out of reach, but rings are my jam, and there was no way I was missing these. I barely reached the first and started kipping until I got a good swing going and was able to make it across.
23. Head Scratcher: A barbed wire crawl through water.
24. Leap of Faith: This was jump a jump into water, but it was no high — just at ground level.
25. Let’s Cargo: An a-frame cargo climb.
26. The Warped Wall / Mount Maniac / Accelerator 2.0: This was a multi-part obstacle right at the finish line. I ran up the warped wall and was grabbed and pulled over my a team that I had been exchanging places with for the last mile. Nice guys. From there, it was up a quick inflatable ladder and down another water slide that took me to the finish line.
I tried to push myself with the running as much as possible today. In the hot weather, it definitely allowed me to create a challenge of a course that featured fun and manageable obstacles. My verdict. If you’re looking to introduce a friend to OCR, Rugged Maniac will be a great choice. It’s fun and friendly. It won’t scare them away and at the same time offers a fun change of pace for a regular racers. If you want to push yourself you can. It’s a runners’ course, so allow this to be a time to work on speed and cardio. Rugged was a fun time — I liked the opportunity to work on my running, partake of OCR with some new folks, and enjoy some wacky inflatable obstacles. Do it again? Sure!
My first time doing this race and it was a fun time. More mud crawls under wire than expected, but lots of fun. An easier, beginner level race, but good time.
Love that they had a women’s cut shirt with a slightly different design.
It’s “Old Dog” approved.
Overall Rugged Maniac was a really fun, fairly flat course with some pretty fun, fairly easy obstacles. It’s a great race to introduce OCR to newcomers to the sport. Finding the venue was easy enough and there was plenty of onsite parking for $10. Leaving was a little trickier since we were parked inside a maze of chain link fences and the exit and where you were actually allowed to drive was not very well marked.
Registration was quick and easy. I missed my original start time of 10:30 and changing to a later time was also not a problem over at the “problems” tent. That same tent was where I also picked up the timing chip that was $10 extra upon registration. It’s small rectangular piece of plastic with RM logos and a your timing number stamped on one side. You attach the tag to your shoelaces with some provided twist ties.
The start and finish line were side by side and it was fun to watch runners finishing while we waited in the starting corral. The first mile took us out away from the main race track into a well marked wooded area. I did not see a single volunteer at an obstacle for the entire first mile. Most noticeably was an large A-frame to climb over in the woods. It seemed like a particularly remote place where if someone were to get hurt, it would have been smart to have a volunteer stationed with a radio.
The rest of the course either had volunteers or they weren’t really necessary at the obstacles. There were many standard OCR obstacles, none too challenging with the exception of the monkey rings and the warped wall. The slide was pretty high up, and I did see a few people getting nervous at the top, but it was by far the most fun. Shorter barb wire crawls were sprinkled throughout the course. I think there were three. They were fun because the wires were above shallow water and the track was fairly narrow so you really had to crawl. Another fun obstacle was The Gauntlet. You have to run across a thin foam bridge that’s floating on water while avoiding being knocked in by large swinging inflatable bags. There’s also a trampoline obstacle that was amusing to watch people face plant when bouncing from the first trampoline to the second. A more cautious first bounce proved more effective in reaching the ladder A-frame at the end. Trampoline obstacles, while fun, always make me nervous for their potential as ankle breakers / sprainers.
Finishing the race, you are awarded a nice finisher medal and waters and food were readily available. The shirts are given when you check in. They’re standard light gray cotton tees, nice enough but not as nice as the recent shirts given out by most other races this year, and from what I’ve seen not as cool design-wise as previous years.
I didn’t have a chance to visit any of the vendors, but next year I’ll be back and hopefully able to hang out a bit before and after the race. It seemed like a fun festival area with various contests throughout the day on stage. Official times for both days were posted Sunday night on the Rugged Maniac site’s event page. If you’re interested in being timed, it should only be because you want to know your’e own time. Seeing as how anyone could skip any obstacle with no penalty or even being noticed, placement should be taken with a grain of salt. I did however run at 11:30 vs. my original time of 10:30 and if that was a wave of people being timed it may have been officiated somewhat, I don’t know.
Will I go back next year? Yes, I don’t think I’ll use a timing chip and instead bring the family, who I know would have a great time. (Something Rugged Maniac probably loves to hear)
I’ve raced this multiple years. It remains a fun race. It has a few more challenging obstacles (rings over water, warped wall), but the others are ocr standard (my opinion). There were 2 new ones (bang a gong-plain simple fun leap into the air in an attempt to hit a gong suspenede above water. Pretty sure success rate was less than 50%. But A for effort on racers’ part) and a cargo net strapped on a blow up cylander. This was a simple challenge. Absolutely would have been more fun in water which there is no lack of at Tugged Maniac.
I’d rather see repeat obstacles stacked together (barbed wire crawls).
As for anyone new to ocr, Rugged Maniac is a fun race. If you are not good at hills/inclines be warned, you’re on a bmx track lots of small hills. You don’t have to run them. You go out there, find a buddy and enjoy the hell out of the course. Have fun!
The race was awesome. First time doing it and it was a lot of fun. The obstacles were differant from the norm and very enjoyable. I really liked this race. They had a lot goong on in the festival area for sponsors, vendors, and concessions. They spectator areas were nice because you could almost see every obstacle. The con i have is the parking. The parking staff were packing cars in were they would not be able to get out unless the person moved either in front of you or behind you. I even got an “i dont care”, when i asked how people are going to get out from packing it in. All in all it was great, venue, obstacles and especially the volunteers.
This race was a blast! I went with a group of people for the sole purpose of just having fun. We did not buy timing chips as we did not care how long it took us to get through the course. The course itself was great. I prefer less running myself and more obstacles so this was the perfect race for me. The obstacles themselves were challenging enough for me. I even, with a lot of help, managed to get up the warped wall on the first try for the first time (many thanks to those who pulled me over!) The venue was perfect for a race being a motorcross field. Just the right amount of hills and woods running. The festival was awesome with lots of food, fun and of course beer! I would recommend this race to anyone! Get off the couch and have some fun!
This was my first Rugged Maniac and I definitely wish I had done it sooner. In my opinion this would be the perfect OCR for the first time newbie. It was well organized and reasonable in price. I loved how there was no fee for spectators and the race didn’t cost to much! They are also wicked lenient on their bib transfer policy. I didn’t feel nickel and dime’d at this race.
I didn’t spend to much time at the festival area but it looked pretty cool. They sent out a race guide with a schedule of events earlier in the week. There seemed to be a lot of stuff going on in the festival area (i.e. beer stein-glass holding competition, pie eating contests) which seemed pretty entertaining. I spent most of my time either on the course or at the team tent which was in a great location. I was able to cheer on my other fellow spahtens and friends!
The course and obstacles were convenient for spectator viewing with bleachers set up and walking paths along the course. I liked that my spectator was able to watch me during most of the race unlike other races where the racers spend there time in the woods with no viewing area. The obstacles were fun and family oriented. (They seemed ridiculously easy after the Killington Beast but I must keep that in perspective!) Again, the obstacles would be perfect for a newbie to OCR or for the whole family. I still had fun doing them!
I would definitely do this race next year!
Fun event, very good communication, very good festival area lots of fun.
Course is relatively easy but fun for everyone from first timers to vets of OCR.
Good follow up race post Killington!
Had a great time volunteering at registration on Sat. Rugged staff were great and very helpful. I feel bad as I noticed not many afternoon volunteers showed up to work their shift! I wish the info email would come out a few days before the event instead of the morning before. The course was super fun, great for any level of ocr. I was sorta disappointed with the lack of mud. The shoe catcher was just a big puddle of water, very easy to get threw. The Dragnet was completely dry. I also saw lack of volunteers on the course in the afternoon. I know the afternoon shifts where almost full when I signed up so its sad that people race in the morning for free and then don’t show up for their shifts in the afternoon. Overall I had a blast and would both run and volunteer again next year!
Excellent event. Lots of fun, good coordination, simple course. I saw newbies and high-level veteran OCR racers all having fun together.
I absolutely loved this race, it was a challenge, but was also so much fun! 🙂