Big thanks to NES Ambassador Dennis for this review!
It’s no secret that Rugged Maniac is my favorite race series. It has been around awhile for good reason, it’s FUN. I should say right here at the beginning that I skipped a few obstacles due to an injury, but was still able to do many.
The venue for the event is a motocross track in Southwick, Ma. There is plenty of parking, so no bus rides. Parking is $10.00 per car. I did hear about a couple of incidents where the volunteers parked cars in such a way that people were blocked, this really should not happen and I’m sure will be addressed at future events. There is NO FEE for spectators and the layout of the course allows for many great spots for your friends and family to watch.
Registration is pretty straightforward, go to any table and you are assigned a bib number. There was a an backup on Saturday but the staff put all hands on deck and cleared the backlog in plenty of time for people to enjoy the rest of the day. Rugged Maniac does charge extra if you want to be timed, if you were one of those you were directed to another table to pick up your timing chip. Honestly, if you do want to be timed, be certain to sign up for the first or second wave. There are sometimes backups at a few obstacles as the day progresses. Most of us what have done more than 1 or 2 of these events don’t even bother with the timing chip. Remember what I said about it being FUN.
Bag check is free and is handled well. Volunteers attach part of your bib to the bag, security checks your bag, and then you put your bag away, so you know right where it is. When you leave, security checks your bib number against your bag. If you lost your bib on the course, they were able to take care of it as well.
The festival itself, well let’s just say that Rugged Maniac knows how to throw a party. The other thing is that after you do the course, you are not so beat up so you can have FUN at the party. The vendors were either pertinent to the event and were providing enough samples to make it worthwhile or were charities worth supporting. The Marines were there with their pullup challenge once again, and as an old Army vet I was compelled to talk smack. Lucky for them I was nursing an injury. Harpoon Beer was there again this year and this year had a cider offering for those people who prefer that option. There is a bouncy house for the kids that was busy all day long with happy faces. Pie eating and beer-stein holding contests. Food court included some pretty good food, served hot and fresh by the VFW. The “showers”, (cold) were available as well as a changing area.
Now let’s talk about the course itself, I’m including the course map so I’m not going to list them all but just say they are well built and some are fun and some are challenging enough to make you feel like you have accomplished something. The only backup I saw this year was the Warped Wall and that was maybe 5 minutes. There was one obstacle that more than one person felt was placed wrong. The Ninja wall were so close to a water obstacle that they were very slippery with mud. I saw more than one person wipe out.
This year’s finisher’s medal was definitely a step up. The T-shirts had both a men’s and women’s cut. Race pictures were a little disappointing this year. There didn’t seem to be as many photographer’s on the course as in previous years.
Overall, this is an event to be on your calendar. I have already signed up.