Rugged Maniac – October 2010

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Rugged Maniac
5k
October 2nd 2010
Southwick, MA

The Event: The Rugged Maniac recently held in Southwick was a 5k Adventure Run billed as being “not for the faint of heart, frail of body, or weak of mind… to push your limits and determine how rugged you truly are”. It was to be an event that combined “the most rugged terrain and burly obstacles”.

Getting There & Parking: Getting there was a breeze since it was being held at an easily Google-able race track. There weren’t many signs at all, but there wasn’t much of a need for them. Parking was easy and handled well by the event organizers.

Rating:

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Check-in & Logistics: It didn’t take more than 10 minutes to check in. The staff was moving through the lines of racers quickly and efficiently. It was done in alphabetical groups by signs that looked to be written in pencil on green paper, so they were easily missed. That caused a bit of confusion as racers got to the front of the line, and staff had to go to another station to get their race packets. That could be something done better next time around, but that is really knit-picking. The check-in process was smooth. Props to the event organizers and staff for that. There was also a bag drop free of charge that was handled very well by staff.

Rating:

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The Schwag: The Rugged Maniac provided a cool, high quality t-shirt for racers. They also gave you a ticket redeemable for a free Harpoon IPA drought beer for after the race (or before the race depending on how early you started). What else could you ask for? If you said some caffeinated energy gum, then I’m guessing you organized the event because that was it.

Rating:

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The Race: Now let’s get down to business. It’s why we were all there after all, so everything else is really a secondary point. This was my first adventure run, so I don’t have other events to draw comparisons from. We were let go in waves of 300 max every half hour. I was in the stacked 12:00pm wave 7. The onus was on you to get to the front of the start line, but I liked that. It allowed the serious racers to jump to the front and allowed the more causal racers to hang back. There was a DJ right next to you and a MC to get you pumped up and to do the official countdown to the start.

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Once released, it was a mad dash over grass with 300 other racers. It built anticipation because the approach run seemed to go on forever, and it was hard to lay back and not burn out in a sprint to the first obstacles. Once you finally did make it to the track, you were greeted with a series of muddy, steep motocross jumps that instantly started thinning out the herd.

Those that were less conditioned or those who pushed it too hard on the approach started falling back. These rolling hills led into the first of the obstacles: the little pipe crawl and islands. I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. It was just two good-sized islands you had to skip over to continue on your way. This was par for the course unfortunately.

The obstacles were a little underwhelming and didn’t live up to the hype. With the exception of the walls, each of the obstacles wasn’t as challenging as one would have thought. Perhaps that was my fault for never doing an adventure run before and building it up in my head, but I don’t think so after talking to other racers who had done other events. With that said, the never-ending hills more than made up for the difficulty of the obstacles. They were miserable, and they continued to weed out runners as the race progressed. It gave racers what a lot of us were looking for, a physical and mental challenge. It was gut-check time every time I found myself at the foot of yet another hill. It would have been easy to say “I’ll just walk this one” instead of pushing my way to the top. Overcoming those types of mental obstacles is just as enjoyable as overcoming physical ones like tires and cargo nets.

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Rating:

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The Verdict: Despite me harping on the obstacles, this was a very fun event. I’m definitely making it a point to attend the next one in Massachusetts in June 2011. Everything from getting there, to parking, to check-in, to racing, to the post-race festivities was smooth and painless (well maybe the racing itself wasn’t painless). By the chatter on their Facebook page, it would seem the event organizers are taking the constructive criticism about the obstacles to heart and will be improving them. You can’t ask for anything more from a promotion.

The people also made this a great time. The serious and casual racers alike were just there for a good time, and it showed in the friendly, upbeat atmosphere of the after party. As the day wore on and the beer flowed, the bleachers filled up with a ruckus but respectful crowd cheering on the racers and hollering for them to put on a show and jump into the water pit at the balance beams. Plenty of racers jumped at the opportunity (no pun), which always garnered a huge cheer from the spectators. If you’re up for a good time, check the Rugged Maniac website for an event coming near you.

Overall Rating:

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