Another OCR race on the books! This was my first time running this race or any other Rugged Maniac for that matter. So, that is two new races to me in two weeks! (See my Savage Race post for last week’s race). I’m a little banged up and stiff but the race went off pretty well and I had a great time!
Rugged Maniac is a little different than the other OCR offerings in that it seems to cater to a wider audience than some of the others. OCR has kind of developed a masochistic reputation for what they put you through. While this course definitely had its challenges, it was a race that was completable by anyone. First of all, it’s a 5k rather than some of the longer 4-13 mile races. This by itself makes the race seem a lot less intimidating. I know, personally, that I have some weak spots in my knees that start giving out on around mile 7-9 on the longer races. With the shorter distance you don’t have to worry about that as much.
The obstacles, for the most part, were pretty fun, but few presented any real challenge. I only failed one obstacle, “The Ringer”, which is basically just gymnastic rings suspended over water. I have become pretty comfortable doing some of these hanging obstacles, but the rings were really wet and muddy, and I didn’t quite have the grip strength to complete it. I can see how some people who have certain phobias like a fear of heights, water, darkness, or fire could have been intimidated by some of the obstacles, but for the most part they weren’t too daunting. Despite the obstacles not being physically demanding they were fun to do. A lot of them were standard lifting things and climbing over or under things, so I felt pretty at home with most of it.
The course itself was awesome. While there weren’t any long climbs there were a good number of hills and some of them were pretty steep. The course had you going through quite a bit of water and was it muddy! This is probably the muddiest event I’ve ever done. Luckily, all that water helped to wash it off, so you weren’t carrying it around too much. The mud we were running through was pretty uneven and kept you guessing as to how each footfall would go. I rolled both my ankles more than once. Always warm-up your ankles! People forget about that, but it saved me from an injury today.
There was a lot of crawling in this race, which I haven’t trained for that much. I am used to one decent barbwire crawl per race, but this race had a lot of crawling. My knees are pretty raw and cut up at that moment. I have been meaning to incorporate more bear crawls into my workouts, but haven’t yet done it. I definitely regret that now! Not only are they a great full body calisthenic workout, but you never know when that extra muscle and coordination can come in handy. Being a bit taller some of those low crawls are bit more difficult for me because I can’t go on my hands and knees.
The festival area for this race was pretty huge but they didn’t have too many vendors. The vendors they did have were super nice though and were giving out free stuff, so you can’t beat that! Coming fresh off running the Savage Race I was left wanting with the pre-race speech the announcer was giving. It was pretty standard, and I felt that way for most of the festival area. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, but there wasn’t anything amazing about it either. One things that I was very impressed with was their VIP program. Basically for $39 (in addition to your registration fees) you get all sorts of bonuses. As a VIP I got free VIP parking, Free VIP bag check, I got $20 in free Merch (I got two shirts and a sticker!), I got an extra beer ticket, and I got a free meal from any of the onsite food vendors. Really, if you plan on signing up for a Rugged Maniac that is the way to go! Since the regular race registration is already cheaper than the other races adding that extra forty dollars is well worth it!
The only real disappointing aspect is that they have removed all timing chips from the race. I understand their position that not enough people seemed interested (as most of the people there were for fun and don’t care about their time), but it’s a shame for us competitive types. They only track the time for the top 10 racers for each gender and for the 50+ age group. While this is a shame, it doesn’t really take away from the experience, which is really what you are there for.
Overall, it’s a great race and I had a really good time running it. I am excited to do another one. They said the Virginia race has become one of their more popular races, which is great because it’s an awesome course and it’s close to home. It would be a shame to miss out on this one in the coming years. I took a few pictures of some of the obstacles and added them below.