Rugged Maniac – Englishtown, NJ
I am just an average Joe. I can run 3 miles on a good day. I don’t lift weights, use the machines at the gym or otherwise train seriously. But I love a challenge and fell in love with OCR immediately. My philosophy is: I may not be the best runner, but I WILL do all the obstacles.
This race was muddy and I loved it! Rugged Maniac was the muddiest obstacle course race I have been to and I can’t wait to see what else they have in store for Massachusetts in September. The race was held at a motocross raceway, and there were lots of mud pits to crawl through, walk through and swim through.
I was unsure about whether to attend this race as my recent medical situation has not allowed me to run, and a concussion a couple days before the race had me worried about the long drive, the obstacles, and the day in the sun. In the end, I decided to walk the course and avoid any obstacles that I thought I might be unsteady on, such as the walls and the see-saw. Despite my limitations, I had a great time. The course was not as challenging as the Spartan Sprint, for example, but the obstacles were fun and interesting. There were several low crawls, two under barbed wire and one under a fence. The barbed wire crawl was a pit of muddy water, so the wire was high enough from the ground that you weren't forced to put your face into the water.
There were tons of steep, short hills throughout the course, but especially in one area called the “Quad Burners,” where there were several of these hills back to back. That’s one thing I noticed about Rugged Maniac: you don’t do any obstacle just once. If you have a wall, there’s a second wall to follow, if you make it over the see-saw, there’s still one more waiting for you. Even the fire pit, which is normally a single row of fire, was actually three separate jumps.
With 26 obstacles, I can’t remember them all, even with a course map with vague names. One of the most fun obstacles was a giant pool of water, with floating blocks that sway precariously as you jump from block to block. There was another pool with pipes floating across it that you were supposed to go over and under. After very carefully completing one “under”, I opted to go over the rest, as did my friends. As I said, there were many water and mud obstacles and it felt great on a hot day. One interesting thing I noticed was how many different kinds of mud there was. One area had dry, gritty mud, another had swampy mud from the forest floor, another had red, clay-like mud. And ALL of it stuck to you.
When we reached the final obstacle, a giant waterslide pumping muddy water, the worst of the muck was rinsed off, just in time for group pictures. The waterslide was fast and slick, the landing shallow, and the whole thing was fantastic. The finish line had water and bananas, followed by a shower area and changing tents.
The festival had a free bag check and a couple things to do, with a small food area. What the festival lacked in festivity, was more than made up for in MUD during the race. I forgot my GPS watch on this one, so I’m not sure how long the “5K” race actually was. I finished in about 2 ½ hours, taking my sweet time on obstacles and walking the course.
I give this race a definite 5 stars for the diverse obstacles, lots of mud, and overall fun.
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