Ever wondered what an OCR (Obstacle Course Race) is like? I just had a team complete the Rugged Maniac this past weekend and decided I would share our experience for anyone contemplating taking the plunge!
What is Rugged Maniac?
Rugged Maniac is a 3.1 mile, 25 obstacle course run that takes place in multiple cities across the US throughout the year. Their charity partner is the American Cancer Society and they have raised over $80,000 for cancer research. In addition to the run, they also have a festival type scene with a mechanical bull, food trucks, a DJ, and pull- up, pie eating, and stein hoisting contests.
How fit do you need to be?
The most important thing you need to be able to do is walk and/or run 3.1 miles. If you feel any obstacle is above your ability level then you are allowed to skip it. In my opinion, if you can hold up your own body weight (ex. straight arm hangs) then you can most likely complete all the obstacles.
We all purchased Groupons for $49--search online for any deals before purchasing your ticket, sometimes you can save big bucks. They recommend you arrive about 1.5 hours prior to your start time. Every location will be different in regards to how far away parking is, but in our case, it was a good walk. Parking is $10 per car. There were four shuttles (which we took advantage of) and the wait wasn’t terrible. We ended up arriving about a hour before our time and had a little time to spare (but not much). When we got off the shuttle we had a short line to check-in and pick up our race bibs and tshirts, and then another short line to check in our bags (super convenient).
When it was almost time for our wave we headed to the start line where we faced our first unofficial obstacle, a barricade about 5 feet tall. After we jumped the barricade we waited for a few minutes while they called out team names and then the race began. I would estimate that we ran about half a mile before we reached our first obstacle. After that, it was about a tenth to a quarter mile between obstacles, with some being packed in closely together.
Pace yourself. After the initial rush of adrenaline wears off, you can begin to feel tired quickly if you aren’t careful.
Bring a group. It really is a lot more fun running with people you know and helping each other through each obstacle.
At parts of the race you will be in thick mud, sometimes even up to your knees. Wear shoes that fit properly and are made for outdoor running. Traction and fit are important to ensure you don’t lose your shoes mid-race.
After we finished we were given our medals, something to drink and some fruit. Anyone 21+ was given a wrist band for a free beer. We took a few pictures, rinsed off and got changed. Something I wished I would have done was bring soap. Not as good as a nice warm shower but it still felt great to rinse off. Pack a towel and change of clothes and shoes--they keep it for you during the race! They have a program called Funds2Orgs that will take your muddy shoes, sending them to 25 developing nations who will recycle them and create sustainable commerce. I opted to donate mine as they were near the end of their life anyway. After, we watched a few of the competitions and then headed to wait for a shuttle. This wait was much longer and they only drop off at one location so we still had a good walk after.
If you are looking to challenge yourself physically and mentally while having a good time, OCRs are for you! Overall we had a great experience at Rugged Maniac and I look forward to our team’s next run. If you’re thinking about signing up--step outside of your comfort zone and get a little muddy!
Shout out to Team Next Level for all their hard work and perseverance. Super proud of you guys!