There Will Be Blood
My sister, niece and I decided to run this race last year while we were at the Warrior Dash. While we had fun at the dash, we didn’t find too many of the obstacles very challenging. One of the other participants overheard the conversation and volunteered that the Rugged Maniac had a lot more obstacles. So without researching the race, I signed us up in March.
Location: Raceway Park, Englishtown, NJ
Timing: $10 for a timing chip (we skipped it)
Course: Mud, muck and obstacles
Size: Extra-Large (medium size waves every 15 minutes)
Pre-Race: No problems registering. The earlier waves seem to fill up fast so I would register early if you want one of them. The earlier waves offer a less beat up course / obstacles. The earlier you register the less you have to pay.
We signed up for the noon wave. Of course 6 months later I couldn’t remember what time I had selected and I couldn’t find my confirmation email. I emailed the folks at Rugged Maniac and received a confirmation of our race time and a copy of our registration with a few hours.
I also received an email in the days leading up to the race from the race director that included helpful tips, and a map of the course.
Race Day: My niece, Julie, stayed out all night the night before the race. I have no idea how she managed to survive the day. I would have never made it through. In addition to being tired, she had already tore up her knee the night before so she would be running with a handicap. My sister, Kim and I would be running with our own handicap, old age.
We arrived an hour before our race time so we had plenty of time to register. The lines were a little long and a little slow, but I have seen worse. They combined the registration with the “Free Beer” ticket, and “Over 21” wristbands. I always suggest showing up early b/c I hate being rushed.
We had time to waste so we wandered around the Party Zone. They had a bunch of vendors giving away free samples so we grabbed a few and looked around. I was bamboozled by the Coconut Water folks. They convinced me that the Lemonade flavor Coconut Water tasted “exactly like lemonade”. Lies! It tasted like barf.
My sister and I also had time to ride the mechanical bull, who I named FuManchu. I don’t think either one of us missed a calling as a bull-rider.
The Race: Unlike some other races, you had to run in the wave you sign up for. They check your bib before you get to the start line.
It was a mudfest. From the first obstacle to the last there was mud everywhere. I was waist deep in the mud before we reached the quarter-mile mark. He are some of the highlights /low-lights from the obstacles.
Head Scratcher- Low crawling through barbed wire through the mud. There was a team of three girls in camouflage and one of them got her hair stuck in the wire. Unable to easily back out and untangle herself, she asked for her friends to cut it. That is the Rugged Maniac spirit. It was also one of many times I saw people helping each other overcome obstacles.
Bang the Gong- By the time we reached this obstacle they had taken away the trampolines you were supposed to use to jump and slap the gong hanging above the muddy waters. Instead of bouncing you just had to take a leap and hope for the best. All three of us fell short of the mark. We didn’t miss our callings as basketball players.
Frog hop- You were supposed to leap from lily pad to lily pad without falling into the pond. My frog skills were lacking and I crashed into the water after the first 3. Kim and Julie made it across. Much better frogs than I.
The Ringer- Cross the water by swinging from ring to ring. We all failed miserably. Most people didn’t make it. The rings are slippery. My old people arms can’t hold my chubby body while swinging on rings, but lets blame the slippery rings.
The Accelerator- The final slide before the finish line. The water was starting to get low and we all slid into the hay bales at the back of the pool. Actually I slid into Julie at the back of the pool. Sorry Jules.
The Gaunlet- Run across the platform while big bags swing back and forth trying to knock you over. The bags are MUCH lighter than you think and you can bull your way straight through them. Unless you slip off the mat and into the water like my sister.
Warped Wall- Harder than I thought. It was made more difficult from hours of wet muddy people trying to climb it before us. The volunteers on top probably had the most difficult job of the day. Hauling dead weight like me over the wall all day long had to be exhausting. Julie persevered and made it up ion the 6th try. My sister opted for the ladder climb after a couple of tough falls.
Balance or Bust- We all tumbled into the drink. None of us even made it halfway. All of the balance beams were connected together so they all swayed at the same time. We didn’t miss our callings as gymnasts.
Commando Crawl- Crawl under barbed wire down a muddy hill, through a rocky, muddy, ouchy mud pit and then back up another muddy hill under the barbed wire. You really had to work to climb up the muddy slippery hill. I had to dig my nails into the mud to claw my way to the top. I also had to lend a hand to two people coming up behind me that got stuck. It took three days to get the mud out from under my nails.
The Trenches- Jump over trenches. The distance increased between the trenches. Kim made one of the jumps by the skin of her big toe.
Ninja Escape- If you have seen the Ninja Warrior show on TV, they always start with hopping back and forth between wooden ramps over water. This was like that, but without water. I saw a lot of people wipeout on the muddy/slippery ramps. Wipe out bad.
Some of the easier obstacles were the Pack Mule (carry a 25lb bag for 25 feet), Claustrophobia (dark tunnel), and Anti-Gravity (bounce to a cargo net).
We had a great time. The course was rough but we survived. After 2 hours of playing in the mud we crossed the finish line. Bloody but proud.
A special “Thank You” to the guy who helped my sister when a careless chubby guy slid down a hill and pinned her leg under him (that would be me). Sorry Kim.
Post Race: At the finish line they gave you hand wipes (like you get when you eat ribs). Covered from head to toe in mud and they give you a few hand wipes. It was a little strange. They also handed out the medals, water, some fruit and some energy drinks.
We meandered to the shower area and donated our sneakers. My sneakers had survived a half marathon, two mud runs and a color run. I think a shed a tear when I left them behind.
The “shower” is basically a hose with a bunch of holes poked through it. The lines weren’t very long and there were bars of soap and bottles of shampoo strewn about if you wanted it. Julie was horrified that people would share soap. “You don’t know where that soap has been,” was her perspective. Kim and I used them anyway. Wiping away the mud revealed dozens of scrapes and cuts. None of us escaped the Rugged Maniac without sacrificing some blood.
Goodies: The shirt and the medal.