Mile 38: Event Day Experience – My First of Many Rugged Maniacs

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The Pennsylvania Rugged Maniac was outstanding. This was their inaugural event in the Keystone State and hopefully the first of many. I enjoyed everything about this race from start to finish. The course was great and the obstacles were tricky, yet manageable. Rugged Maniac is a beefed up version of the Warrior Dash, but a lot better and more organized. This is a perfect race for a first time obstacle runner or a seasoned veteran looking for a good time. I highly recommend this race if you like a lot of obstacles. I promise you won’t be disappointed or feel you didn’t get your money’s worth.

The Course

I set a personal best of 45 minutes! My goal was to complete the course in under an hour, and I did it. The course was flat and very fast. I think the overall winner completed their run in under 30 minutes. There was no elevation change and the only hills I encountered were manmade mud piles. I enjoyed this course because I got to run for the majority of it, which also helped keep everyone spread out and avoided lines at the obstacles. For first quarter-mile or so there were no obstacles. It’s great when races do this so everyone can spread themselves out, which also reduces wait time at obstacles that might other wise get backed up. Rugged Maniac obviously knew what they were doing when they set up this course. Other OCR’s will stack some obstacles in the beginning, creating a crowded course and long wait times at obstacles.

The Obstacles

Twenty-five obstacles in three miles is amazing. I love obstacles so the more, the better. Rugged Maniac certainly didn’t disappoint in this aspect. I was a little concerned that 25 obstacles would create a logjam, but I think the longest I waited was roughly three minutes at Balance or Bust. Not encountering any lines throughout the course was awesome. That seems to be pretty rare though, because every race I’ve completed so far this season has had a line or two along the way.

I completed all 25 obstacles! That makes two weeks in a row of 100% obstacle completion. They had some awesome obstacles too such as: Bang The Gong, The Ringer, The Gauntlet, The Warped Wall and Tipping Point. Those were some of my highlight obstacles on the course.

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My favorite obstacle was Frog Hop. Participants had to leap to each floating “lily pad” without falling off. This was a tricky obstacle though because all the lily pads were tethered to each other. If everyone wasn’t in sync it caused a lot of people to fall off. A volunteer gave me some helpful advice which I’ll share with you: instead of having both feet on a lily pad alternate one foot on each lily pad. Example: I started with my right foot on the first lily pad, then landed on my left foot on the second lily pad, then landed on my right foot on the third lily pad, never allowing two feet on the same lily pad at any one time. It worked out nicely for me, plus it’s great to see the volunteers engaged with the runners, especially for any new people like myself to help overcome some tricky obstacles.

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Biggest Surprise

The event overall was the biggest surprise to me. Everything was so organized. Parking, registration, bag check and the merchandise tent all were extremely organized. All tents had clearly marked signage, so it wasn’t confusing where to go. Since this was their first time at this venue, I thought their organization was extremely impressive. I ran into a small issue at registration, and the Event Staff took care of me right away while keeping things orderly and efficient. I had to change my wave time at the last minute, and they were more than accommodating. Thank you, Rugged Maniac for making it easy to work with you!

SWAG

I am absolutely thrilled with the Rugged Maniac Finisher Tee. It’s a light-weight soft cotton t-shirt, which is a nice change from all the heavier t-shirts I have and a lot nicer than most other cotton ones. I’ll definitely be wearing this shirt on a regular basis. The Rugged Maniac finisher medal is nice also, especially because they are bigger than the average finisher medal. I noticed a lot of vendors giving away free stuff as well. A lot of people seemed to be taking advantage of those freebies.

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Side Notes

This was probably one of the best Festival Areas I’ve seen. They had a good amount of food options, tons of room for people, yard games and a huge music stage. I noticed that a lot of people stuck around after the race and were coming early to enjoy the festival. It was a very family-friendly venue.

Bag check was FREE! If you didn’t want to check your bag for security reasons, the parking lot was close enough that you could walk to your car for your bag.

I believe the local police were patrolling the parking lot, which is great and made me feel more secure. You never know who could be walking around out there.  I’ve heard a few horror stories in the past about bags and belongings getting stolen, so it was nice to know that the area was being patrolled.

Parking was $10.00, but spectators were free. I guess you can say this was an even trade.

In order to get into the corral, I had to give my start time ticket to one of the event services representatives. This prevented people from jumping ahead in wave times and kept any of the heats from getting overcrowded.

There was at least one volunteer at a majority of the obstacles. The only one that didn’t have one was Tipping Point during the time I ran.

People were nervous about the severe weather in the forecast, but we didn’t get a drop of rain all day.  It ended up being a great day for a race!

Overall Assessment

I can confidentially say this is my new favorite OCR. I’m tempted to sign up for the NJ race just to run one again. If I don’t, I hope they come to Mohnton, PA again next year. It’s the perfect venue for a race of this caliber. This is a good race if you don’t like or want to run, but want to enjoy a lot of obstacles. This race is definitely all about the obstacles. Judging from the feedback on the Facebook event page for this race, everyone agrees that Rugged Maniac is an awesome race.

Next time on Just Another Mile…BattleFrog is back, and this week I’ll have my pre-race report on this highly talked about race.

 Photos and information are courtesy of Rugged Maniac’s Facebook page and website.

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