Rugged Maniac Review, Atlanta, Georgia
Ok, first, let me get the “bad” out of the way, because I really liked Rugged Maniac, and want to get to the good!
The race website reads,
“Ready to be challenged? Our courses feature at least twenty obstacles constructed by an experienced crew of licensed contractors. These aren’t the pop-up kiddie obstacles you’ll see at other races.”
Yes, they were. They were exactly the same obstacles you’ll see at other races.
Yup, even fire.
Most of the obstacles were not only obstacles we see at other races, but in Rugged Maniac’s case, they were even easier versions of the obstacles. For example, the cargo nets were slanted, not vertical; the eight foot walls actually had steps on them, and many of the mud pits had ropes to help runners climb out.
But in fairness to Rugged Maniac, they weren’t trying to pimp themselves as the ultimate athlete test, and did an excellent job promoting the obstacle race as just a part of the overall festivities planned for an awesome Saturday afternoon outdoors. Also planned for the day were live bands, a kids race, food, and of course, everyone’s favorite – beer.
Rain Makes it More Rugged
True to typical Georgia so far this summer, it rained.
It was raining when we got there, raining when we started, and by the time we completed two miles, it was pretty much raining buckets – exactly the way I like to run obstacle races in the wooded trails of Gaw’gia.
The first few obstacles were pretty mild with some mud slogging and tire negotiating, but the real obstacle was the terrain itself. It became so muddy, so quickly, and finding acceptable footing was far more a challenge than some of the man-made structures.
We ran short ups, a few fast downs, mostly along jeep roads, and with some single-track trail thrown in for good variety.
Some Interesting Obstacles
Rugged Maniac did step up with some creative obstacles. One of which was a 20-to-30 foot tall wooden structure that was as easy to climb as a step ladder, but if you were afraid of heights, and because of the rain and mud and wet, you might sweat a little at the top of the thing as you negotiate getting over to the other side and descending.
Another interesting obstacle was a series of parallel tunnels, but with only one of the tunnels having a visible exit. This might be hard to picture, but typically, when you go underground in a tunnel, you can see the other side – not at Rugged Maniac – all of the tunnels, but one, forced runners (er, crawlers) to make a sharp left turn at the end, before finding the way out. This made it dark, as in pitch black, the entire time runners crawled through, so it was easy to think it closed off at the end.
At least, that’s what I thought, so I turned around, thinking it was an obstacle trick.
It wasn’t and I lost time.
The last really “stand-out” obstacles were the black tubes. Runners had to enter these tight, black tubes (there’s no way some of the bigger runners were getting into these tubes), and descend into a pit of barbed wire mud crawl. After completing the short mud crawl, runners then had to climb out of the mud, through one of those tight tubes again, pulling one’s body up and out with a rope.
This was not easy. Just ask ORM’s Matt B. Davis.
Two Thumb Up
I give Rugged Maniac two thumbs up.
Not because it was the hardest or gnarliest or craziest obstacle race, but because it delivered on what it advertised – a feels-good event, centered around fun, camaraderie, and the celebration of the outdoors.
The organization was good, the volunteers encouraging, and the event had that ‘feel’ when you know the organizers care about putting on a great event.
By the way, hot showers at the end? It doesn’t get any better than that.
photo credit: Amber Rose Jones