Rugged Maniac is a fun entry-level, family friendly obstacle race. The SoCal event provided a nice mix of easy and more challenging obstacles (with no penalties for failed obstacles) on a flat, fast race course. The venue has a bit of a party atmosphere, with several food vendors on hand and local gyms representing. Registration and bag check were a breeze, and one of Rugged Maniac’s huge perks, and where they are in many ways head and shoulders above the competition, is that there are no hidden fees. Your registration includes any insurance costs and bag check expenses up front. They do charge $10/car for parking, much of which likely goes directly to the venue, and there’s an optional $10 charge if you want an official timing chip used in one of the first few “competitive” heats. Unless you were trying to win, this was completely unnecessary. They also had Dr. Bronner’s on hand with their plexiglass-sided showers for clean up after the race. My wife and I ran this event last year, and had a blast. When registration opened for 2015, we decided to sign the whole family up right away while prices were low.
But don’t take my word for it. My daughter Lianna is 13 years old, and has taken part in several races. She ran a half marathon with her mom and I when she was 11, and has done the ROC race (now Wipeout Run), the Terrain Mud Run, and a couple of Spartan Sprints (SoCal and AZ) with us. On Saturday, she ran with her good friend Kyndal, and together they wrote the following review of the race:
Rugged Maniac is a very enjoyable obstacle course race! The obstacles were well spaced and very fun to complete. They were just hard enough that I could complete them but I also got a sense of accomplishment and was really excited when I got through some of the harder ones. I’ve found in some other obstacle races I’ve had trouble with obstacles being made for bigger people, whether it be carrying heavy weights or something I can’t reach, but neither of these were problems for me in the Rugged Maniac.
The hanging rings that you had to swing and grab the next ring and repeat, were very difficult and I didn’t even get to the third ring before falling into the water pit. This was the only obstacle I had trouble with my reaching abilities. Although, Kyn did manage to get across she also believed it was maybe a little too difficult for those of us with short arm spans.
Kyndal’s favorite obstacle was “leap of faith” which was a jump off a platform into a pit of water that you then went across and used a rope to climb out. The water was very refreshing and it was exhilarating to just bound into the water.
My favorite obstacle was the final obstacle: the warped wall, because it looked like it was ten or twelve feet high and, being 5’ 3”, I made it up (with a little help from the volunteers) on my first try, when I thought I might have to go up the ladder on the side. However, my friend, Kyndal had to try three times but the first two times the volunteer there to help her let go and only got her up on the third try when she should have been up with me on her first try, giving her some scrapes all up and across her stomach from the slide back down.
The slide connected to the other end of this obstacle caused some problems. The volunteer sent us down six at a time and at the top it was already crowded. As he counted down Kyndal went early, and both of us being relatively small, I crashed into her and the guy beside/behind me also crashed on top of us. I believe there should have been a maximum 4 people on the slide at a time for safety.
Kyndal and I also thought perhaps that the last obstacle, the slide, should have gone right to the finish line. Instead there was an awkward little corner and last little run until the end and it just didn’t feel as if I had just finished the race, and it was harder to run and push to the finish line after being crashed into by a stranger.
These problems were minor, and did little to dampen our spirits. Overall, we all really had an excellent time today at the Rugged Maniac!
And there you have it. Fun for teens, fun for 40+ year old weekend warriors, and everyone in between (and beyond as mudrun “celebrity” Mr. Muddy Suitman James Patrick O’Brien was also there having fun!).
This year the event sported new finishing medals and new T-shirt designs (including Ladies’ cut shirts featuring a female Maniac on the back); everything else was very similar to last year’s race with only the order of the obstacles switched around a little. Rugged Maniac definitely seems to have adopted the philosophy of “If it’s ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, in contrast to many of the other races who are constantly trying to one-up themselves and each other with new and often more difficult obstacles. On one level, it’d be good to see some new things from them, but on another it really doesn’t matter; what they had was enough to make for a fun morning playing in the mud with my family.
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