Last year I called Rugged Maniac a gateway drug into the world of OCR. This year, the addiction for OCR has again seriously taken hold and I found myself heading up to Calgary for my next fix.
Was Rugged Maniac 2017 a success? Read on to find out.
Rugged Maniac Is In Its Own Category
It’s a combination that works well for other races in its area of the market. This isn’t a Spartan or a Savage Race. Rugged is Rugged. It has a distinct place and identity. It’s a lot of… well… just a lot of fun. Expect a great atmosphere with a great view of the final obstacles.
At Rugged Maniac you can expect onstage antics like the Stein holding competition, the pie eating competition, or the pull up contest to be just as much of an attraction as the race event itself.
Rugged Maniac Festival Area
Having a festival area program is something some races seem disinterested in. My wife is yet to be bitten by the OCR bug, but when she attends races with me, she lets me know that there is nothing worse than a dull spectator area with nothing going on apart from an obscure view of the race.
If I were visiting as a spectator, I would want something to do. I could be there for hours in the sun or rain. I’d want somewhere to sit and things to occupy my kids. Maybe some games I can get involved in. Some good music. Maybe a little shade. Good food options.
I don’t want to spend half an hour walking to the venue or taking a school bus, then to pay $15 entry to the venue, only to find it is a muddy, inhospitable mess underfoot, with nothing but a row of porta potties and a bad view of the obstacles. So many race events drop the ball in this regard. However, Rugged Maniac writes the playbook on good times for spectators. Parking was excellent. Everything worked.
I ran my little heart out on this race. It’s a fierce race if you want it to be. I ran hard, getting chased down by Kody O’Brien and one other dude whose name I forget. It destroyed me, but that’s just my competitive silliness kicking in.
If you want it to be, it can be a gentler introduction to the OCR world if this is your first event. This isn’t meant to be a statement of suffering, but a chance to enjoy a challenge and experience a bit of fun.
The agenda at Rugged Maniac is for inclusion. Obstacles are all mostly easy to complete with a couple of exceptions and participants of all levels should be able to make it through without much difficulty.
About the 5k
The distance is 5k and the surface is mainly flattened grassy pasture. Despite the somewhat toned-down intensity of the obstacles, it’s a snappy race if you push yourself. The quad burners were incredibly steep: four mounds of loose dirt, increasing in height and depth really took a toll on my pace.
The rings were tough for me. I lost momentum and had to find a way to reach over beyond my normal capacity. Water balance obstacles are also surprisingly hard. Both Gauntlet and Frog Hop both created a significant energy sap as I tried to run through them. It looks easy, but it’s not.
MUD + Obstacles
One impression I have of the course is of multiple level changes. Most of the obstacles took runners from the upright to prone position breaking up the ability to form a working pace.
Another simple but effective signature of Rugged Maniac is to create a pile of excavated dirt after many of the obstacles. For those who want to run this race competitively, throwing these loose mounds in creates a constant rolling assault on the cardiovascular system. As the day wears on, mud begins to make these even more chaotic and interesting for all.
Rugged Maniac is largely devoid of heavy carries. There was an easy sandbag carry near the end of the course, but it wasn’t punishing or brutal. I should mention that for those who are pyromaniacs, you get to jump over THREE fire jumps at Rugged! This makes you feel like a legend.
Anti-Gravity (a trampoline and rope net jump) simply makes you feel like a kid again.
The final obstacle in the Rugged Maniac race is Mount Maniac and the Accelerator combo. A warped wall, a rope net climb, a ladder climb resulting in a giant slip and slide into a pool of water in front of a cheering crowd.
NOTE: Rugged Maniac had a few problems with timing last year. This year someone took the names and times of the winners for the race, which was much simpler. I don’t think there were any issues at all with the manual recording system!
So was Rugged Maniac 2017 a success?
YES. In summary, what Rugged brings to the table is balance. Fun for spectators and a great race for participants. I’m gonna just come out and say it. Rugged Maniac is one of my favourite events in the western Canadian OCR calendar. It’s about the atmosphere and the execution. There’s a classy, well-designed polish to the event. People are happy at the race. There are no complaints about course design or whether this obstacle or that obstacle was present or not. It’s a race with a beaming, colorful identity, great quality control, excellent staff and staging, and an ability to not take itself too seriously. Come on back to Canada next year!
Edit: I was sad to hear that later in the day someone disobeyed one very important rule not to wear football or soccer cleats on the course and as a result damaged the accelerator – putting it out of commission. Read the rules people!
All Photos Credit of Gamefacemedia and Rugged Maniac