Infuse substantial amounts of cash into an obstacle race that was already pretty solid and the result is an improved race with bigger and better obstacles. The fortunate recipient of cash from Shark Tank investor, Mark Cuban, Rugged Maniac stepped up its game, while still remaining within it’s market niche of a notch just slightly above entry level.
I was happy enough with the 2013 Southern Indiana Rugged Maniac at Paoli, but was more than pleasantly surprised with the upgrade. The course itself was similar with several relatively short ups and downs along the mountains (actually, large hills), interspersed with some flat treks, and a decent stretch of a 4 foot deep creek. The terrain was marked well and much of it had been dozed or mowed. Keep your eyes down and ankles ready because it is a fast course.
The big difference from last year was the introduction of some substantially better obstacles including:
- Rings across a water obstacle
- A back-back trampoline obstacle that propelled you up a cargo net covered wall
- Quintuple steps (think American Ninja Warrior, except wooden and on the ground as opposed to water) [Note: I didn’t like these because doing them with wet/muddy racing shoes is a recipe for a broken ankle. The steps didn’t really add anything to the race and were more of 2 second long nuisance than an actual obstacle.
- A balance beam obstacle with large air-filled balloons to push out of the way
- A decent-sized warped wall followed by a cargo net followed by a really steep water slide and then a short sprint to the finish
The last 1/3 mile or so of the race was the best:
- A long sprint up a hill and over 3 or 4 fire obstacles
- A tall cargo net
- A series of trench jumps
- A barbed wire crawl
- Back-back 8 foot walls
- Warped wall
- Water slide
- Short sprint to the finish line
For me, this was another comeback race to test my ankle after more rehab and training. I finished in 6th after battling back and forth with OCR friend, Devon Brown for most of the course. The push at the end to finally get away from him almost resulted in me vomiting before I finished. I would have completed the course 2 to 3 minutes longer and several places back if he hadn’t been there to push me.
Finally, a trivial thing to me, but significant to some…..Rugged Maniac now gives out finisher’s medals.