Rugged Maniac Kansas City is what the brand claims as “the most rugged, Rugged Maniac” event. I’ve only been to three other venues, so I can’t confirm if this is 100% true but it is definitely the hardest out of the three I have done (KC, OKC, and Indiana). Here’s a quick review of the brand that once appeared on the hit TV show Shark Tank and how their races are doing after almost a decade of events doing 3-mile Obstacle Course Races (OCRs) with 25+ obstacles and one rocking party!
Check-In and Parking:
Parking and check-in were smooth as always. If you are the type of person that doesn’t like to be rushed, they even have a VIP option allowing you to park closer and check-in via your own special line (read the VIP Experience here for more details).
Rugged Maniac is known for its party and festival area. While it wasn’t quite as robust as previous years, it seemed really close. Honestly, the only reason I even noticed the change was this was my 4th time at their KC event. Included in the festival was a tent for shade, stein hoisting contests, pull-up contests, vendors with free giveaway items, and an oversized game of Jenga to amuse families. As usual, the music was blasting and the beer was flowing keeping many there well past the end of their race to enjoy the atmosphere. There’s a reason I list Rugged Maniac as “known for the party” in my book “Mud Run Guide’s Ultimate OCR Bucket List”.
If you are looking for fun obstacles look no further than Rugged. They are the only brand I’m tracking that still regularly uses inflatable obstacles, which are always fun. This includes obstacles like Launch Pad (bouncy pad to a ladder into a slide), Rinse and Repeat (over-under obstacle on water), and the epic Accelerator 2.0 (the inflatable slide at the end of the several story mount maniac). The Rinse and Repeat is simple but I really love it because during a competitive wave I recklessly throw my body into/through the obstacle.
If you are looking for a fun series that still has a little upper body, Rugged has you covered with obstacles like Barzan (swinging monkey bars), Off the Rails (uphill mini-zip line), and Hang Loose (hanging cargo net that you can use your feet on). Plus, they have a couple of strength obstacles that are doable for all sizes/ages including Pull Your Weight (a hoist) and Sled Dog (a drag).
Overall, Rugged has a little bit of everything that makes OCR a unique sport including things like mud and a couple that test your fear including Mount Maniac and vertical ladders that test your fear of heights as well as Fenced In (a crawl under bars in water).
So why is the KC Rugged Maniac the “most rugged”? It has to do with the terrain. The event occurs in Snow Creek Ski Resort just outside of Kansas City. While the mountain is no Killington or Stratton, it is technically a mountain course that starts with a 300-foot climb, which is a lot for a brand known for their party and fun obstacles. After the climb, you’ll ascend part of the mountain a couple of more times. My watch listed the total ascent as over 1000 feet for the 3k course on a mix of grass, groomed trails, and a couple of small sections with slightly technical footing. If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry, most of their courses have significantly less elevation like Oklahoma City (read the review here).
Rugged Maniac continues to do great things in the sport. With brands like Warrior Dash ceasing events, Rugged Maniac has picked up the mantle to continue to bring new participants into the sport. Whether you are running for the competitive glory of the elite wave, the non-competitive multi-lap option Rugged X, or just for fun to earn some finisher beers, you’ll love getting Rugged.
Pictures provided by the athletes of the KCOCR group with their permission.