I love and enjoy racing. I don’t salivate over any particular race series or travel very far to chase Trifectas so last weekend while most OCR enthusiasts on the east coast traveled to Palmerton to do the Spartan Race Super and complete their first Trifecta of the year I stayed a little closer to home and ran Rugged Maniac. And I’m glad I did. I have nothing against a more challenging race and I do those as well but I don’t feel the need to beat up my body every time I step onto a course. Sometimes It’s just about having a good time and being with amazing people and that’s what I found at Rugged.
This particular weekend I ran with CF Bane and a few member of his “army”. We run to bring awareness to Cystic Fibrosis along with the Lucosky Brookman Foundation. On this day we were running for Raelyn a beautiful 2-year-old girl who is battling this terrible disease. For those of you who do not know CF Bane, he runs with a silicone airtight mask that makes it very difficult for him to breathe just like CF sufferers. He is a great guy with a big heart and it is always an honor to run with him. Ok now onto the race.
Rugged Maniac is fun!
This particular course was VERY muddy. We ran through so much muddy muck I’m shocked more of us did not lose our sneakers.They named one obstacle “Shoe Catcher” and this was aptly named. At one point I was waist deep in thick mud and had to pull myself up an embankment. I was so lucky one of my teammates was there to lend a hand otherwise I might still be there. The race took place at Raceway Park in Englishtown NJ and they took full advantage of the mud mounds left there for the motocross races that are held there regularly. The only resemblance to other races was a sandbag carry but the bags were fairly light and we didn’t have to carry them very far at all and a hoist where we had to bring heavy chains up and then gently bring them back to the ground. The other obstacles were built around fun. Bang the Gong had us jumping up and trying to Bang a Gong (nothing like being totally transparent!) and then landing in a big pool of muddy water. Frog Hop had us running across floating pieces of rubber. I got across one and then fell in the water, as did many other Maniacs! If you miss being on a playground as a child Balance Beam will have you smiling. There are two see saws that you walk up…and then walk down. Last year it was raining and they are slippery so I shimmied on my belly but this year I was able to balance on the right way. Like trampolines and Spiderman? Then you will love Antigravity. Jump on a huge trampoline and propel yourself onto a wall covered in rope landing like Spiderman. See how high you can get!
There were only two walls to get over and I appreciated that because this is one obstacle I usually need help with so not having a course full of them made me happy. The volunteers along the way were really upbeat and I saw a lot of photographers. One even told us what time we passed him so we could find our pictures easier. LOVED THIS! There was really only bottlenecking at one obstacle. We had to hunch down and walk under a net above us and for some reason, people seemed to be taking this really slow. I missed the Blobstacle and the Accelerator from last year.
I later found out there was a reason these obstacles were missing. Apparently, an inspector showed up the day before the race and explained that Inflatable Obstacles made the race an “amusement park” and they were imposing a $50,000 fee for running one. Rather than pay, this ridiculous fee Rugged Maniac decided to remove these two obstacles and are planning on fighting this for next year. So instead of the giant slide at the end of the race, we made our way up the warped wall and then just climbed down a wooden structure. The slide was definitely missed but let’s talk about this warped wall. Last year I tried three times and I could not get up so I went up the ladder. This year I wasn’t even going to attempt it because I was leaving for the Bahamas the next day and didn’t think it was worth it to risk getting injured.
But CF Bane and my other teammates got to the top and encouraged me to give it a try. I was a little hesitant but I got a running start, got about halfway up and then Bane reached up his hand and yanked me to the top…with one hand!!!…and I’m not a tiny person. Then the other guys grabbed my leg and they got me over! People coming together to help others on the course like that never ceases to amaze me. Then it was just a quick cargo net over the people below…climb down the wood..short jog and we all jumped the fire! They gave us our medals and unlike another race that now only gives out water at the finish we were handed huge bottles of Body Armour Super Hydration Drinks..bananas and there were even sliced oranges. They get extra points for refueling us so well at the end of the race. Also delicious were the samples of Bunches of Crunches we were able to pick up in the festival area.
One final thing I want to mention. I upgraded my ticket to VIP and for $30 I got free VIP parking, VIP check-in, VIP bag check, $20 towards merchandise, an extra free beer, the option to run whenever I wanted and a free drink, sandwich, and side. I am getting ready to register for next year and I see their VIP perks have changed. It is now $39 and they no longer offer the free food and I noticed people were able to change their times anyway right on site. And since the parking area is not really that big and I never drink my beer so an extra one means nothing to me I am not sure this option will be worth it for me for next year. If parking very close and the extra beer sound good to you it may be something you want to look into.
It's fun..but definitely geared towards a newer runner. The obstacles aren't very challenging, which is good for someone just getting started.
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