Ruckus 2013



* From: Paul Howes

* Event Details

* Race Details
I’ve already posted a full review on my blog:

Just to reiterate: this year’s Ruckus was a shell of its formerly great self. A lot of the signature obstacles were missing, no medals at the finish line, shirts were handed out at registration instead of at the finish line, and the beer garden served Coors Lite instead of the always-welcome Harpoon they’ve had in the past.

I choose to vote with my wallet and will not be attending the Fearless 5k in November. If Ruckus gets their act together for that race, then I MAY run it again in 2014.

* Rating
Below Average


* From: Josh Chace
* Note: This is for Ruckus, Day 2 – slightly different to Day 1
* Event Details
Parking – Plenty of lots nearby on Sunday to park at. Standard $10 parking or $5 if you wanted to patronize a locals lawn or driveway in order to save a few bucks. Either way you weren’t more than a 5-10 minute walk from the gate of the event.

Facilities – Ruckus set up quite differently from last year. As you come into the Fairgrounds you are welcomed by the registration tables which, this year, were outside the race staging areas. They had the list of names and Bib numbers readily available but after waiting in line to get our bibs, we were told that the waivers were well behind us and we had to get out of line to sign them and then come back. A simple sign at the Bib# List wouldn’t have eliminated a lot of confusion in line. Pretty typical pickup process though. Everything was in a nice envelope for you which was a good idea. The Kids Mini-Ruckus registration was a bit different. Manned by volunteer girls who couldn’t have been older than 13-14. Not really outgoing or willing to ask who’s next, etc. But for the amount of kids I saw running the kids event, they handled the numbers well.

Bag check was also something that we didn’t find until we waited in line to get in and got turned around to go back out of line and drop our bags before heading back in. The HUGE spectator area really spread the infield out and almost made it seem too large, but this was most likely because they started charging spectators to view the event, which in my opinion is a travesty. People should be allowed to see the event if they aren’t competing, and use that to encourage folks to sign up for their next event or even give them a taste of what they could be doing.

Vendors – Pretty standard variety of food/drink/fitness vendors. Zico Coconut Water, some food/energy bar vendors, some shirt vendors and a couple food vendors. I was unable to visit any of them as we were last in the race and they were breaking down by the time we got there but as we were coming in it seemed like a simple set up. Again, Sunday having so few people running made accessibility quite easy I am sure.

Schwag – This is where I was really turned off by Ruckus this year. These obstacle course races are accomplishments. It takes a lot of peoples time and energy to train and compete in them and you really are hoping to come away with a momento or piece of memorabilia from the event. ie. a Medal. A token that says “I finished this sucker!”. Ruckus decided this year to go with customized pint glasses this year, a decision not a lot of people on their Facebook Page or in the event area were happy with. For us personally, it was my wife’s first OCR. I registered us last year because she had just finished invasive knee surgery and I wanted to give her something to look forward to. She was looking forward to a medal and something she could see every day as a reminder that she accomplished something bigger than her. Nope. Not this time.

What I learned after though really upset me further. They HAD medals for the event, they just weren’t giving them out. The kids had their plastic “medals” for completing the Mini-Ruckus, but apparently some people were handing out “2013 Ruckus Challenger” medals to some of the adults who asked. And this is where it gets bad for me. Upon coming down the slide when we finished we were greeted with some high-fives, pictures taken, etc.. one of the Ruckus employees came up and said “Well all we had this year was Pint Glasses, but we’ve run out of them so we’re going to have to mail them to you.. and supposedly took our Bib #’s and will be mailing them to us? — I told the woman about my wife’s situation and I wasn’t asking for pity or to change anything but I said you know, you really should send medals and I would forego the Pint Glass in favor of something to mark the accomplishment which is when that woman turned to someone who was obviously higher up the chain and said “Hey S
oandso, this woman just completed the race after knee surgery, she was looking forward to a medal, is there any chance we can grab her one so she can leave happy” and the woman gave an immediate “Oh no, no no no, we can’t be giving any more out. Nope, can’t do it.”  — Really a poor choice by Ruckus in my opinion. It’s not a huge deal I know, but this just really really bugged me.

Thankfully, MedalGate has a happy ending — As we were hosing off we met an amazing couple who got a few extra medals from their kids racing (So they were giving MULTIPLE medals to kids, including the actual medal ones, not the plastic kid ones, to kids but not adults) and they were kind enough to give us their 2 spares. I was so touched by that act of kindness. It’s amazing what some people are capable of and I truly think that notion was the difference between my wife hating and loving the event and the day.

* Race Details
Sunday at Ruckus, as I learned during and after the race, was quite a smaller scale than Saturday. It was Father’s Day so I suppose that wouldn’t get as big of a draw as Saturday would. So apparently they only had one big single wave of runners that they split into a few “corral’s” to start 2 minutes apart. You were either ‘Wicked Fast’, ‘Sorta Fast’, ‘Kinda Fast’ or ‘Not So Fast’. I didn’t realize there was only one group until midway through the race.

The start of the run was pretty typical. About a .25 mile jaunt until the first obstacles. A set of 3 shipping containers with hay bails on each side. Even walking through the course, there was a very large bottleneck at these as the last crew is generally the group that would require assistance getting up. They did have race volunteers helping folks up which was nice but I did find it odd that this was their first obstacle. Maybe thing the herd out first, then introduce these?

Next up was a path/trail run for probably a good mile before you came to another obstacle. The tire section followed by a couple of mountains of dirt you had to climb up and traverse along before heading back into the woods. There was a single “puddle” to run through while navigating the trails which turned out to be quite refreshing on the hot day Sunday! Another half mile or so brought you out to the cranberry bogs where you were met by a couple 4 ft walls every few hundred yards, a couple small net tunnels you had to navigate under (that were sitting in mud puddles and stunk by the way – don’t mind was just funny) and then a couple 8 foot walls. They had rope supports and two crossbeams to help climb each of them. Another net to crawl under led you out of the cranberry bog area and back into the woods for a trail run through a couple more muddy sections.

One you exit the woods, you’re back at the 2 mile cutoff location which dumped you into a couple water pits. The first of which was only about 16-18 inches deep with a few telephone poles laid across for you to jump over. The second was just a tad deeper (easy for us super tall guys!) and the third was a good 3 feet deep with another telephone pole which looked like it had falled into the pit inadvertently as it was laying at an angle into the bottom of the pit. After completing the three water pits, you’re put through the woods back up into the main Fairground area.

You begin the last leg by running under the 3 cargo containers that you jumped over to start the race, the first of which was stuffed with tires you had to climb over but the final two were just empty and you ran through without resistance. After another short distance run, you’re met with a nice new obstacle that wasn’t there last year. A cargo net up onto a shipping container that had 4-5 balance beams over a giant air mattress that you have to navigate to the other side then jump down. I really liked this addition because I would imagine in the real races and Champions Heat, this would separate people as they tried to finish up. A short run afterwards brings you to a few wooden pyramids you had to traverse over without ropes or assistance. This was followed by a HUGE cargo net climb (not sure if it was bigger than last year, it definitely seemed it). Then came the muddy obstacles. A couple shipping containers made for a few pools of mud/water that you had to army crawl und
er some Ruckus Tape. My only gripe about Ruckus is they set these up on top of concrete parking lots, so you’re essentially grinding your knees on the cement as you go through them. You do a couple loops of that which brings you back around where you climb up a short climbing wall onto the first shipping container and you “DO A BARREL ROLL” (as one spectator told me) over a few horizontal cargo nets. This was immediately followed by the three wooden “hills” which I guess on day 1 had no ropes for assistance, but on Sunday had some ropes drilled into them to pull yourself up. Not too tall, I’d say 5-6 feet high that I could say were easy because I hadn’t just run the 4 miles race, but could definitely see being trouble if you were on your last few breaths.

The last few moments where highlighted by a LONG crawl through the mud military style (probably 50 yards I would say?) and then a climb up a final cargo net and stairs to the top of a newly dumbed-down Mt. Ruckmore. The Mt. last year was something you went under through and over a couple times before climbing it, but this time it was nothing more than a giant blow up slide that you went down. Much smaller and less impressive than former years.

Overall, I liked a few things and didn’t like some others. This course was WAY more cardio based than last year. A lot of longer run sections before getting from one obstacle to another. They really opened up the course, one can only assume to allow more space for spectators — whom they now charge $10 for entry, an unwelcomed change for the OCR company that calls itself the “100% spectator friendly”. It also seemed to have a few less obstacles but I am not sure if it only felt that way because of how far apart each of them were. After going back and counting the obstacles on Spahten Jeff Wohlen’s video, I suppose 25 is accurate assuming you count each cargo container and water pit as a single obstacle.

Ruckus was my first OCR, my second OCR, and I have a few others lined up this summer and fall so I will be interested to see where they fall as far as competition goes but I will always have a place in my heart for Ruckus and I wil most likely attend next year. I’m always willing to forgive a few decisions provided the company learns from the feedback from them.

* Rating
Below Average


* From: Robert Bonazoli

* Event Details
I showed up early and was surprised at all the dispersed parking, although it was fine.

Too bad we didn’t get a team tent or some other type of nod for biggest team, which brings them a lot of dough, etc.

I ignored the vendors, per always, so no idea there.

Schwag: I like the cotton-y tech shirt.  Went running in it this morning and it was great!  Tired of useless cotton tee’s so like something I can actually use.  The pint glass was a really dumb idea and totally useless.  A finisher’s medal is equally useless, but I certainly would have enjoyed it more, as would I’m sure all other folks who do a lot of races.

* Race Details
I actually thought this was a really good course, just different than what we’re used to from some of the other major series. It seems like one of the signature things that Ruckus is trying to focus on in terms of course design is “flow”, where any obstacle is actually simply that, an obstacle, to get over or past to get to the next section of course (unlike some of the other obstacles at races that are more tasks, but don’t get you to the next part of the course, i.e. stop here, climb up a rope, climb back down, and keep going; drag this heavy block in a circle, drop it and get back on the course, etc).

They definitely seem to be moving away from any kind of technical obstacles as well. It was a good, relatively flat trail race (which I like because, well, I like trail running) with stuff to climb over and crawl through (a little). Kind of like a really intense steeplechase. I was lucky enough to be in an early wave right up in front of the paddock and didn’t get gummed up with crowds at all (my biggest pet peeve), and since I got there really early I didn’t have to deal wit the apparently crazy registration stuff, so for me it was all good!

Some of the comments about not being “intense” enough I think are ridiculous.  I mean, if you run a 4 mile trail race flat out, it’s going to be a really intense physical challenge that can lay you out for a day or two.  Add in the obstacle elements of having to continually hurdle, climb, crawl, etc, with running flat out, and it’s as intense as you choose to make it.  If it wasn’t “intense” enough, the racer just wasn’t choosing to go flat out.  Maybe they mean it wasn’t varied or creative enough and that every obstacle should have been unique, which I don’t think is necessary at all to make a good, challenging course.

* Rating
Above Average


* From: Katie Webber

* Event Details
Parking was convenient and close to the site.  This was my first Ruckus so I am not sure how it compares to previous Ruckus Races.

Facilities were basic. I like the free bag check, but it was poorly organized and not secure at all. I realize that with any race and any bag check you are kind of leaving your stuff with some risk, but if you offer a bag check it should be fairly secure.  Lack of volunteers to set the bags where they “belong” based on your number…then it seemed like they were just setting them anywhere.  When it came time to pick the bag up I just walked in there myself…not cool.  The organization of registration was pretty good.   Very short lines was great.  I did not like that bag check was outside of the event.  I understand the security reason behind doing that, especially since you might not want to check everyone’s bag as they are entering.  However, twice I walked back through the entrance without so much as a glance from the security people looking through bags.  So it was not a very efficient process.  Lack of signage and just poor signage made exits, bathrooms, starting line,
etc difficult to find.  Also, I believe we were the largest team–we should have a tent.  I am not trying to sound snooty, but that could be a huge promo draw for future races for you.

Vendors were good.  Would have liked more healthier food items to purchase onsite or more food vendors giving away samples.

Bummed about the swag for sure.  I know there are plenty of great races that don’t give away medals, however it has become a staple of OCR and I think many people expect it, especially from a race series like Ruckus who had previously given out medals.  Many first timers were very bummed.  Also, if it was lack of money that was this issue, fine, but I saw kids doing several rounds of that mini-race and getting 3-4 medals.  Why not give medals to the regular racers if you have extras to give out to the kids?! Pint glasses are cool and many people love them I am sure, but most people that are avid OCRers (like the 50+ people from Team NE Spahtens)  have medals racks to commemorate these great events.  I don’t drink beer so a pint glass is not as fun for me.

* Race Details
I don’t know if it was the heat or what but it felt like a lot more running than I would have liked.  Having never done a Ruckus before was both a positive and a negative.  The positive is that these obstacles, while all the same (walls and cargo nets) they differed from what I have done in other organizations races like Spartan or Superhero Scramble.  The negative is that I heard about all of these great obstacles that were not there! I was looking into the obstacles, looking at previous year’s photos and was super bummed that many obstacles were taken out!   An avid OCer is always going to say–more obstacles! The more the merrier! One other thing I was not a fan of were those last a-frame walls.  They seemed very dangerous–and proven so after they were closed down shortly after I ended my heat.  I did not even try them, as I saw many people that were in good shape struggling and getting hurt.  Maybe next time have ropes or something.

* Rating


* From: Amy Lillis

* Event Details
Parking:  There seemed to be ample parking at many lots and homes, all at $10 per car.  The only complaint I’d have about the parking situation is that even though I arrived at 8:00, I think I parked as far from the entrance as possible, since I didn’t see any signs for the entrance or the formal event parking while driving down the road.
Facilities:  It was very odd that there were no portajohns near registration or the entrance, but I did like that there were some right at the starting line (which did not prevent one guy from peeing through his shorts in the starting corral — gross!!).  I never found the washing station or tents, but I didn’t search for too long.  Having the bag check outside of the venue was a huge pain.  I ended up checking my bag a lot earlier than usual, which meant I didn’t have my phone to check in with anyone following me, and I had to leave a few things with our support crew.
Vendors:  I didn’t get to hang around long enough to enjoy the vendors, but I did love the freebie peanut butter cups and chocolate coated peanuts.
Schwag:  The tshirt is pretty nice — something I’ll probably wear.  Although I will use the pint glass, I’d much rather have a medal.  I can’t seem to get the pint glass to hang properly on my medal rack!

* Race Details
This was my first year at Ruckus and I was told it was a relatively easy and fast course, so I wasn’t expecting anything too hard.  I wanted to run 2 laps in the very short time I had available, and I was able to do that.  I think I even qualified for the Championship heat with my time of 49:02 on my first lap.
There was a lot of running, which I don’t really mind too much since that’s definitely my strength and I really do love running on the trails.  However, I come to these races for the obstacles, and I found myself wishing for more.  We climbed over an awful lot of walls, cargo containers, and cargo nets.  I had watched the videos from last year and was looking forward to the monkey bars and the foot in the rope swing thing.
All in all, the variety and difficulty of obstacles was disappointing, but I was happy to be able to complete every single one by myself.
Additionally, I was thrilled to be able to complete a lap on my own with a time that I am proud of, and to get back in time to run the next heat with my dad and sister.
I am hoping that the fall Ruckus will be back to it’s old standards!  I’ll give it an average rating this time, but average is like getting a “C” in school — it’s a passing grade, but it’s not good enough.

* Rating


* From: Sally

* Event Details
Parking: Excellent. I was there early and was able to get in a lot right next to the firestation. I liked that the community was pretty standard with their rates. I was in a lot that went to the Marshfield High School student body. I know some of the neighbors were donating their parking revenues to various local funds.
Registration: For me it was pretty easy. I arrived an hour and a half early and was bibbed and t-shirted within 5 minutes. (one thing on the T-shirt…the sizes were very small. I always sign up for a medium but they had me down as a small – and it looked like a kid’s small – the guardsman working registration said he couldn’t exchange, but I found an “official” looking guy with a headset and a Ruckus polo and he hooked me up.)
Facilities: great except for bag check. I entered the main area and walked around to get a lay of the land. I couldn’t find bag check and then noticed it on the other side of the course but couldn’t figure out how to get to it without crossing the course. Was told I had to exit and go around. A little inconvenient that’s all. Picking up the bags was a bit of a Charlie Foxtrot. There were only two young men (14ish?) trying to find bags. Eventually the Ruckussers just went in and pointed out our bags to them.
Schwag: I’ve mentioned before that I’m a bling whore so a pint glass didn’t quite cut it for me there. Once I got my medium shirt though, I’m quite happy with the fit and quality. No Ruckus schwag for sale – may have to make my own decal for my rear window collection 😉

* Race Details
While the course was not what I’d call challenging it wasn’t a walk in the park either and I had a great time. I think this is an ideal starter event for anyone looking to get their toes in the mud. I liked the way they staggered the corrals in the heats as well, it kept the course pretty free of backups at the obstacles. The way the course was laid out for spectators was great – they could see the start and first obstacle and then wave buh-bye as the runners entered the trail run – which is what the majority of the event was, which isn’t a bad thing. In retrospect, it was a a little more than a 5k trail run with a mile of obstacles added at the end. Again, the obstacles were positioned for spectators. The Mini Ruckus was the cat’s meow! I wish they had a Ruckus in FL so I could go and bring my nephew (6yr).
Overall, I’d call this a great family event with a little something for everyone.

* Rating
Above Average


* From: Aaron Farb

* Event Details
As usual, the event was held at the Marshfield fairgrounds, which is a good and bad thing. Good – facility tends to have plenty of parking, actual plumbing available in some bathrooms at facility and course tends to be pretty fast. The bad is not anything of Ruckus or really Marshfield, but getting to the fairgrounds can be a bit frustrating – Rt3 on a nice summer morning is pretty equivalent to a parking lot with all of Boston heading to the Cape and once you make it to the exit, if you’re not super early, you tend to be in another parking lot going thru Marshfield area – mainly due to the road being 2 lanes that feed to 1, then back to 2 -makes for a bit of a bottleneck.
Parking is good – lots of spaces at the fairgrounds and many local places raise money for good causes (supported a hs baseball team today) at the same price as Ruckus.
Facility is usually pretty good – this year needed some better signage as to where things were – 11×14 foam board pieces are not good enough for the amount of people coming into the area, feeding from multiple different lots/places – why not have some Ruckus big flags w/ entrance, start, restrooms, wash area, bag check waving 15 feet tall? They could be used at any Ruckus event nationwide.
Vendors as usual here were good – lots of companies touting their wares, many local places that got to raise some business. Wish they had 5 hour energy again like last year – I paid for my race in free samples they gave me:) but never gonna complain on the different vendors.
Schwag was ok this year – kinda miss the medal – was looking forward to my 5th Ruckus medal, but the pint glass will get used for sure, so a wash there for me, although most people I think enjoy the pint glasses (hard to wear to work on monday tho!). Disappointed in the shirts though. As one of the first races that switched to tech shirts, why the change away from them? I have a drawer full of spartan cotton ts & multiple others, Ruckus & TM shirts are actually useful for working out!
One other thing I noticed on this race – great volunteer/marshall presence – EVERY obstacle had at least one person at it & anything more than 5 feet tall had people on top to give a hand to anyone needing it

* Race Details
First – I have always enjoyed Ruckus, it was the first OCR I ever attempted, and in 2010, had nothing to compare it to, but came away with alot of scrapes & bruises and a definitely caught the itch for more, so Ruckus has & will always have a special significance for me. That said, this year was a bit disappointing to me.
I won’t go thru an obstacle by obstacle run thru (mainly cuz I managed to turn off my Contour somehow halfway thru!), but instead what worked & didn’t.
Check-in seemed pretty seamless – in and out quickly, personally, I like getting the t shirts then – means you can stash them & keep them kinda clean if you want to wear later. The email received Thursday made it easy to just write your bib # on your waiver & go.
The starting waves worked great in my opinion – probably one of the best starts I’ve seen as far as keeping things from getting too bunched up.
Great volunteer/marshall presence – EVERY obstacle had at least one person at it, and anything more than 5 feet tall had people on top to give a hand to anyone needing it. Even multiple people in the woods and random places along the course – great job Ruckus

Obstacles –
In a word – uninspired
Having done Ruckus since its inception, I’ve enjoyed watching them roll out new obstacles, tweak them, get rid of them, and this year, it seemed everything was climb over….a wall, a net, a cargo container. Ruckus has always had some good/innovative obstacles, and none of the previous good ones were here. What happened to the lobster pots, the Ranger bars & ropes, the rope/foot swing (no idea what its called actually, but if you’ve done any of the 2 previous summer Ruckus’, you know what I’m meaning) and the fun angled walls (the open back end you pull urself up, then slide down the front). Seemed very haphazardly/carelessly thrown together for as good as previous courses have been – great example – simply running through a cargo container? Where’s the challenge? Previous years have been full of tires, Jersey barries or Rommel’s arches (knee knockers) making getting thru much more of a challenge. I understand they can be a bit of a bottleneck, but at the latter 4th of t
he course, everyone was nicely spread out.
Obstacles that were good –
loved the cargo nets between the cargo containers – really loose making it a much bigger challenge, although quite the backup depending on how many were around you at the time, but still fun. Ruckus always seems to have one of, if not the best large cargo nets around, although this year, only 1 cargo net climb when they tend to have a few of differing sizes.
Mt Ruckmore is always fun, but not near as big this year as previous – its more fun when you have to go thru, over and under Mt Ruckmore a few times prior to actually climbing it, makes it seem bigger than it might actually be. That said, the slide was better being inflateable – it didn’t need people wetting it constantly, which was kinda nice.
And, I think that’s about it on good…everything else seemed pretty rehashed from previous years which as I said is pretty disappointing from a race that has always delivered so well.

Overall, I give the race a ‘C’ – its a fun race, and a great introduction to OCR for anyone coming in, this year just wasn’t as good as we’ve come to expect from Ruckus. Here’s hoping the Fearless Fall makes up for it!

* Rating


* From: Michelle

* Event Details
I didn’t drive so I didn’t pay much attention to the parking. I did notice lots of homeowners offered up their lawns, which is where we parked thinking it was “official” parking. It was a little bit of a walk but not bad.

Finding the bathrooms wasn’t easy. The venue had flush toilets but there were no signs about how to get to them. I asked a volunteer, a teen female, and she said “um, I don’t know. I don’t think there are any.” To get to the bathrooms one had to circumvent the course. I could see where the bathrooms were, I just couldn’t figure out how to get there. The portaotties were also hard to find. Instead of having them all grouped in one place having them spread out would’ve been nice.

I got changed into my workout clothes between two cars because I couldn’t find the changing station which was next to the finish line. I thought it was a little weird to have both the bathrooms and the changing station unmarked and located no where near the entrance..

I’m not one for mindless consumerism so I didn’t pay any attention to the vendors. I also wasn’t interested in the swag. I thought glasses were a silly idea. I heard at least 4 shatter into little pieces.

The fact that the water stations ran out of water and/or cups was frustrating.

There were two things I found really distressing. First, there were plastic cups all over the place, plastic bottles, and other trash. I’m a fervent believer of “Leave No Trace”, especially in wooded areas. More trash barrels were definitely necessary. Also, I did not see a single recycle bin. I hope not a single piece of trash or plastic was left on the ground. Second, and extremely distressing, was the (very small) sign in the cranberry bog reading “warning, pesticide use.” Being exposed to toxic pesticides is not on my agenda. I now want to throw away all my clothes and shoes but an not in a financial position to do so. All I can do is pray whatever I was exposed to (the sign did not say pesticide was used) won’t give me cancer or a neuro or respiratory disease. I suspect trying to find out what the toxin is will be quite difficult since, generally, no company wants to divulge such information.

Lastly, some shade would’ve been nice. It did get a little hot being under the sun waiting for my team.

Despite my comments I did have a rather good time. Overall I am pleased.
* Race Details
This was my first OCR. I found the course and obstacles to be a challenge but not so difficult they were impossible to overcome. I didn’t miss any of the obstacles which pleased me greatly. Call me Goldilocks: the obstacles were just right.

The volunteers were all encouraging and friendly, each had a smile and something kind to say. The weather was perfect.

* Rating
Above Average


* From: Corrine Giordani

* Event Details
Parking was not a problem. The Marshfield Fairgrounds allways make for a great race venue, but this race just did not utilize them properly.
The course design of 2011 Ruckus was the best of the 5 events held in this location, folks could sit in the stands and enjoy the race. Why was this changed?
The obstacles and overall layout of this race was quite poor. All the fun obstacles were taken away, no ranger bars, monkey bars, air loops , net crawls ect.They were replaced with redundant walls and cargo net wall climbs.The great mixture of race course and obstacles from previous years was replaced with a few obstacles in the beginning of the race and most at the end with a quite boring trail run in the middle. it seemed like this race was made for your basic trail runner and not an OCR racer. Poor design and quite disapponting.

The great swag was also taken away. In the 3 previous June Ruckus races you got a fantastic tech tee and a really cool medal. This year you got a kinda meh cotton shirt and a pint glass. Also a step down from years past.

I know this is a really harsh review but the Ruckus races of the past were some of the best in MA. Great course, fun mix of obstacles, cool swag.This race had none of those things and has really suffered in quality. There a lot of choices for obstacle races in New England now and more will be coming next year. When I see such a change in race quality it’s a red flag and not a good sign for future Ruckus races. I will not be returning next year.

* Race Details
* Rating
Below Average


* From: Sandy Rhee

* Event Details
A quick, bullet point review:

Parking – kind of all over the map. There were parking lots spread out all over. Not sure if we parked in one that was actually sponsored by Ruckus or was just a neighbor making a quick buck. Either way it was convenient. The event took place ON what was the parking lot last October. Personally, I think this was poor planning on their part. Overall – 5 out of 10.

Facilities – Check in was super easy and well spread out so there weren’t any long lines. Spectator check in was also quick and painless, especially considering we had a spectator pass purchased for someone who actually ended up registering to run that we transferred on the spot to another person. There wasn’t a single porta-john out by registration. When people drive for a couple of hours to get there, I think this would be especially helpful. We had members of our party doing jigs because they had to wait to get inside. Bag check outside the facility was a royal pain in the neck, especially if you already had claimed your free beer and then went out to get the bag and then tried to re-enter without a wristband. Luckily, I realized this and chose one particular entry guard to let know I’d be coming right back with a bag and he let me know that would be okay. If the entry way had been really crowded at that moment, it might have been more difficult. The beer tent was convenie
nt, fast, and easy to navigate. There was no signage at all between the front entrance and the porta-johns all the way in the back to let you know which direction to go. We had to actually stop someone to ask. Finally, when we finished our 11:00 heat, we were informed that there was no water to rinse off with. This was a huge negative given the fact that the course was pretty muddy near the end and most had quite a bit all over themselves. They did get another truck to come at around 1:15 or 1:30, so this was fixed, but it should have been planned for better. Overall – 6 out of 10.

Vendors – a wide variety and all were friendly and seemed happy to be there. There also was a healthy choice for food (B. Good) which was a huge plus. Overall – 10 out of 10.

Schwag – this is what I was most unhappy with. Apparently there was a survey that indicated that people would rather have a pint glass than a medal. Two dozen of our group had done at least one Ruckus in 2012 with most having done both last year. Not a single one of us ever filled out a survey. We’re wondering who it was sent to. A pint glass is nice, but not if you don’t drink (sure, you can put water in it, but really?). And, you can’t hang it on your wall. When we (meaning the 60 or so of us who attended today) realized there would be no medal, the vast majority were quite upset. We had almost a dozen who were running their very first OCR ever – a medal would have been significantly better. Overall – 1 out of 10.

* Race Details
Course – A. Lot. Of. Running. Not so much with the obstacles, especially when we were comparing to both events last year. I thought the course was okay. Unfortunately, you are trying to live up to expectations set by your previous events. This one didn’t compare very favorably. Overall – 6 out of 10.

Obstacles – This is where Ruckus fell short this year. There were obstacles, but there was no creativity or huge variety in them. The first half seemed to be all about walls and shipping containers. The second half seemed to be all about cargo nets. Where were the monkey bars? The rope loops across the pond? The sloped pipe you had to scramble up by hanging underneath? There were many of the same obstacles as last year, but they also seemed to be grouped together – three hay bale/shipping container/hay bale climb overs in a row? Why not spread them out? And, lastly, the dismount after the balance beam when we jumped down onto tires? In my opinion that was not a good idea. The tires flipped up easily and it was really easy to slip off the edge. Didn’t like that one part at all. Again, I had very high expectations that were not met. Overall – 5 out of 10.

Before today I was 100% sure that I would return for the fall Ruckus. Now, I’m probably closer to 60 – 70%. When you set such high expectations, you have to live up to them each year. If it was my first time, I think I would have been more complimentary. Instead, I can only give this an average overall rating.

* Rating


* From: Beth Jones

* Event Details
Parking was pretty easy, and plentiful. We were able to park very close to the venue. I really liked the schwag t-shirt. Very nice quality tee. However, I was extremely disappointed they did away with the medals in favor of beer glasses (I don’t drink beer). That said, the glasses are nice, but they don’t replace the medal.
The vendors were good. Glad to see B Good there, and Zico, and Earn Your Crown. However, I was really disappointed in the lack of choices for food and drink for spectators. With a kids race, there were plenty of children there. The only choices for drink were water, and sports drinks. Some juice options would have been a healthy choice for the kids. Also more food vendors for the spectators.

* Race Details
Taken by itself, it was a good race. A little heavy on the running and a little light on obstacles, but overall a good race. Now, comparing it to previous Ruckus events, it was a bit of a disappointment. I was really let down that they took out many of the signature obstacles, such as the ranger bars and the air loops. Even the monkey bars were missed. I was also sad to see the dismantling of the once epic Mt RuckMore obstacle, reduced to a mere slide. (But I did like the fact it was an inflatable slide! That was a major improvement.) The first three container obstacles were extremely challenging for those of us that are short, but was a neat change (Glad people could help with a knee to get that needed boost!) The water obstacle this year was a nice challenge with the poles in the water. The tire climb seemed longer this year, which was a nice touch.

As always, the volunteers were amazing and plentiful! Great job folks!!

The one major complaint I had was the running out of water and cups at the water stations. I was in the 11 am heat, and as I went through the course, two water stations were dry, one had water that they poured into your hands (after some of the obstacles? Yuck) and finally the last one had cups. There was another wave after us, so I’m not sure how they fared. BUt this is surprising from a usually well organized race.

Overall, this race was good, but it didn’t have the same feel as past races. I’m certainly hoping this is a one-off and their fall race they will be back on point.

* Rating


* From: Jessica Wohlen

* Event Details
Parking: Ample parking nearby. Even local residents got in on the game. $10 was the going rate regardless of where you parked and it was a short walk to the venue.

Facilities: On site bathrooms at the entrance to the venue (not accessible unless you wanted to walk ALL THE WAY back to the very entrance). Port-a-Johns. Water truck for hosing off.

Vendors: ZICO!!! (I am a huge fan), CorePower, Cascadia Farms, Larabar, A Big Day (super nice guys!)…

Schwag: A polyester non-tech feeling tshirt and a pint glass (I am kinda, ok I’m really bummed this wasn’t bling)

* Race Details
Ruckus does a great job utilizing the same site year after year and making the course different from the previous years/races, and they put on a race here once in the Spring and once in the Fall.

To date, this is my 3rd Spring Ruckus and 4th Ruckus overall. Ruckus will always hold a place in my heart as it was my first ever OCR back in 2011. That being said, I was a little disappointed with the race this time around.

The festival area was a mess. On the way to registration we passed bag check, which was followed by the ONLY way into the main festival area. After registration to check my bag, I had to go back where I just came from. Bag check was a disaster. Jeff and I checked our bags, but then were told people were just walking into the “secure” area thus making it not very secure. Needless to say I went back, walked right into the “secure” area and grabbed our bags without even so much as a boo being said to me. Also, in trying to find the exit to the main festival area, I had to walk around in circles – it wasn’t clearly visible from within.

Missing Obstacles: Ranger Bars, Monkey Bars, Air Loops (all obstacles I had to skip for the Fearless Fall 5k due to a healing broken hand – sad panda).

Mt. Ruckmore was redesigned and I can’t say it was entirely a good thing. I liked it better when it was a double decker (the 1st level was a cargo net traverse) and to get to the top there was climb to the top via tires and containers, the cargo net traverse, and then the slide. I did like the inflatable slide though…that was a nice improvement from the plastic (?) slide into hay.

New obstacles:
*Balance beam – not overly challenging, but at least I knew if I fell I was going to hit a safe inflatable pillow!
*A-frame slippery wall – 3 in a row. The first one took me 5 flipping attempts, and I was so mad! The second one I got on the first shot. The third one required some serious hoisting by my buddy Mike Maynes. I’m proud to say I managed to get over them all under my own power once I had my hands secured to the top. (NOTE: this one got shut down later on due to some serious injuries – but I’m inclined to think a lack of experience was to blame. Maybe some ropes for next time??)
*Rock Climb vertical wall – A fun change from your typical wall climb

Another point taken away for the clean up area. One of the first things I check out when I arrive at any race is the where the heck I need to go when it’s time to clean up and get changed out of my muddy clothes. This was easily identified as a water tanker truck with a hose rig set up. However, when push came to shove and it was time for me to clean up, the tanker truck was bone dry. Thankfully there were semi-private changing tents (one for ladies and one for gents) and I was able to enter, wipe myself down with a towel and some water I had in a bottle, and change out of my racing gear.

Would I do it again? Sure, I just think they missed the mark a little on this one. I hope they really listen to feedback and make changes for the Fearless Fall 5k!

* Rating
Below Average


* From: Jennifer Taddeo

* Event Details
$20 for an okay, but pretty simple, mini course – and no Ts bc we registered onsite? Not cool at all. Left a bad taste in my mouth. But it was well run, the way “heats” were sent off, the mud pit at the end, the medals, all positives.

There were no garbage cans onsite, it was weird.

Loved having changing tents, much easier for kids.

No medals? Booo! Would much rather a medal than a pint glass.

No tent for largest team? Another negative. We would have even brought it ourselves.

* Race Details
Overall, a decent course, although I would have like to see more of the more challenging obstacles shown on the website.

Running out of water in a morning heat the first day? Not cool. Running out of water at the same time? Even worse.

I did like the way they released the waves.

* Rating


* From: Katie

* Event Details
The parking was great. I had attended this same event last year and the organization of that was a lot better. Registration was a hot mess. The way they had set it up last year was better. It was confusing and congested where you had to register with your bib number and not your last name. I feel like putting the master board at the beginning would have created less issues. Bag check all the same. I feel that the bags should have been kept in where you can only get them if you are a spectator or participant. Not to bash on anyone but the kid who was overseeing the checked bags didnt look any older than 14… And lastly the washing station wasn’t shown well so there was a lot of confusion with where the restrooms are and where i can clean up. I did however enjoy that there was a “changing room” tent. although the flaps kept blowing up so everyone got changed in the portapotties.

* Race Details
I felt that this year there was more emphasis put on the running portion rather than the obstacles. I did enjoy that they switched them up but the lack of mud pools was disappointing. i did appreciate that there was a lot of use with the natural landscape of the land but more built obstacles and more water stations would have made it a better event.

* Rating
Below Average


* From: Rob Fournier

* Event Details
The Ruckus obstacle race series made its return to the New England area this weekend for a two day event. The popular family friendly series boasts fun and unique obstacles, unparalleled spectator views and a great kids course. It offers two course options: a 4+ mile Challenge event and a 2 mile Heater event. The Challenge event included 25+ obstacles and the top 10% finishers of each division is invited to compete in the Champions Heat later in the day. The Heater is a shorter 2 mile race filled with 20+ obstacles. In the Fall of last year we competed in the Fearless 5k at the same location and were excited to see how the summer event compared.

The race was held at the Marshfield Fair Grounds in Marshfield, MA. As compared with the Fall event, the summer course layout was entirely different. The venue was expansive enough to comfortably fit the large crowd. There were parking lots surrounding the venue and each one charged $10. Some neighbors were offering spots right on their front lawns for half price but we weren’t sure how far it would be from the venue.They had a brief security check at the gate and we entered through a storage container that doubled as an obstacle. Food trucks and vendor tents were set up in the center of the grounds offering free samples, foot baths and cross-fit competitions. Along with some other food choices, there was a portable brick oven pizza truck that I unfortunately didn’t get to sample. All spectators over 10 years old had to purchase a spectator pass for $10 to enter the venue. While I have mixed feelings about charging people just to watch an event, Ruckus really does provide a
n unparalleled experience for spectators. Nearly the entire second part of the course is visible to spectators, including most of the larger obstacles. The vantage points provided some great photo taking opportunities. Elena was able to take some memorable photos that more than made up for the $10 charge. They actually had bleachers setup at some of the larger obstacles, including their most famous one, Mt. Ruckmore. A complimentary bag check was also offered to all participants.

After a short walk to the fairgrounds, they had a few registration tents set up divided by bib numbers. A couple days prior to the event, we received an email with our bib number and waiver to bring along. After showing my ID, I received my bib number, timing chip and beer bracelet. For the amount of people who participated in the event this year, the registration process was very quick.

* Race Details
Kids Race:
Ruckus is one of the few races that actually gets this right. Instead of it just being an afterthought, they really try to replicate the full race experience in a smaller scale. The Kid’s Mini Ruckus included cargo nets, climbing tubes, balance beams, ramps and a ton of other obstacles. The race ended with each kid wading through a pool of mud. For a $20 fee, each child received a bib, t-shirt and medal. (We didn’t even get a medal!) They were also allowed to repeat the course as many times as they wanted. I heard from some parents that the lines where getting too long which proves how popular the race has become.

We made our way through a storage container to the starting pen. A new wave of runners where sent off every hour. However, in an attempt to avoid backups at the obstacles, Ruckus further separated each wave into five corrals: wicked fast, pretty fast, solid fast, sorta fast and not-so-fast.  Runners were allowed to enter whichever section they felt comfortable running in. They then had a staggered start with each corral being sent out on the course every couple minutes. This concept worked well and I hope it is simulated in other events. The first half of the course involved some great trail runs but was limited in the obstacles. The first obstacles encountered were a couple storage containers that you had to climb over with the assistance of some hay bales. (They must have gotten a great deal on storage containers because they were used everywhere!!) A quick loop around the parking lot and we headed into the woods on some fairly flat, narrow trails. Back out towards the park
ing lot and over a stretch of piled up spare tires that we had to maneuver over. Up and down a few dirt hills and back into the woods.
After an extensive run through some picturesque trails, we came across some 5 foot walls and a couple larger ones that you needed a rope to scale. The course continued to snake around and through the marshes and towards three waist deep muddy pools of water. We headed back towards the fairgrounds and encountered some of the more noteworthy obstacles:

balance beam: up a cargo net to the top of a storage container and across a balance beam to another storage container and down the other side. Under the balance beam was an inflatable cushion for anyone that lost their balance. Unlike the wobbly balance beam at Superhero Scramble, this one was solid and easy to cross. Over another storage container with the help of a cargo net and towards a good-sized cargo net climb.

The remaining obstacles were located right in the heart of the fairgrounds in full view of all the spectators. Runners had to crawl through the mud under some ropes (no barbed wire to be found on this course) and up the side of a storage container using some wall climbing ledges, across a cargo net that spanned across two more storage containers and back down through the mud.

A-frame walls: a stretch of three steep inclined a-frame walls that racers needed to run up and over. Not an easy task if your mud-filled sneakers did not have good treads. These obstacles were eventually shut done due to some serious injuries that occurred.

Mud crawl: long mud crawl under some criss-crossed ropes. This obstacle scraped up my knees pretty good. May have to consider knee pads or at least some knee braces.

Mt. Ruckmore (Ruckus’s signature obstacle): this was a scaled-down inflatable version of the one they used in the Fall. That one was a massive, solidly built structure that incorporated multiple obstacles all in one. The current inflatable version was unimpressive in comparison. A quick climb up a cargo net and ladder and down a slow moving slide. Ugghh!

Inexplicably, some of the more challenging and unique obstacles from previous Ruckus events were not included in this one. I was looking forward to the ranger bars, gorilla bars and especially the air loops. Hopefully, they will return for the Fall event. They had about three water stops throughout the course and all of the volunteers were very helpful and supportive.

Post Race:
Right after crossing the finish line, each racer presented with a Ruckus pint glass instead of a medal. I can appreciate trying to do something original but, with that being said, I would have preferred a medal. (The glass never did make it home…we had a little mishap in the car….Crack!!) I heard at least three glasses shatter while we were there. Maybe handing glass to a person with slippery, muddy hands is not the best idea. This year’s t-shirts were also pretty mundane. They were a thin dark blue shirt (not quite tech material, not quite cotton) with a plain Ruckus logo in the front and a small “ruckus sports” text on the top of the back. They were just ok.

After stuffing my shirt and glass in my backpack, I headed towards the wash area. I thought it was odd that when I finally found it, not one person was washing off. I quickly found out why that was. Apparently, they had run out of water! Huh? I ran in one of the earlier waves and they ran out of water before noon. They had over 3700 people participate in the Ruckus this year (a record for the Boston area) and they run out of water not even half way through the first day?? Not good! Luckily, Elena had a bottled water in her bag. (what would I do without her!) I washed off the best I could and headed to one of the two large changing tents. I stuffed my muddy clothes in a trash bag. (Note to all the newbies: Always remember to bring a trash bag for your muddy clothes and/or sneakers.) After changing, I headed for my free beer. We had two choices: Coors Light or Blue Moon, not exactly the “beer garden” that was advertised, but for free, who’s complaining. (I guess I am, a l
ittle bit.) The atmosphere at the fairground was quite festive. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. They pumped music throughout the day and had an MC from the local sports radio station making announcements. We had a nice time hanging with some great people. All of the obstacles were well spaced throughout the fairgrounds. A company called Barrel Aid was collecting shoes to be donated to needy children in Haiti.

The Ruckus series has become one of the “can’t miss” races of the year. As compared to other events, this race would have fared well. For the amount of people that participated, I feel it was well organized. However, if compared with other ruckus events, this one fell short of its expectations. While there was some great obstacles, I still can’t understand why they didn’t include the ranger bars, gorilla bars and/or air loops. These unique obstacles are what helps Ruckus stand out amongst the sea of other races around. Without them, they fall back to the pack. Another disappointment was Mt. Ruckmore. The inflatable version paled in comparison to the massive structure they had last Fall. Please bring it back! On the positive side, I thought the staggered start was a great concept to alleviate the congestion that can occur at obstacles. Also, the Kid’s Race and spectator experience at Ruckus are second to none. One thing I love about ruckus is that they are always l
ooking to improve their brand. A couple days after the event, every racer received a survey about their experience at the race. I have no doubt that they will take all the comments, good and bad, and prepare a great race for the Fall. I am looking forward to seeing what they do!
Please visit for photos and video of the event. Thanks!!

* Rating
Above Average

Leave a Reply