A 5k course with 25 obstacles, Rugged Maniac is known for being a great first time OCR race that puts fun before competition while still attracting top level racers. Priced around $50-$70 (depending on when you sign up). Rugged Maniac is an attractive price point compared to other OCR races. I signed up for the August 2019 Rugged Maniac Atlanta, looking for a fun yet competitive race I chose to run the 9am Elite heat. Here is a review of my race experience to help get you through your next race!
Parking, Check-In, and Festival Area
Parking was easy and I saved by pre-paying online and just showing the QR code on my phone. The code was mailed out the week of the race. Preferred parking was available. This allowed you to park much closer to the venue, saving about a 10 minute walk. Check-in was a breeze a they had plenty of staff to keep things moving. Bag check was included with the race sign up which I really loved. Your bib will have two pull off tabs. One will get connected to your bag and the other has your start time which you will give to a volunteer at the starting coral.
I was running in the first heat and was surprised at busy the festival area already felt that early. You could tell people were coming to make a day of it and enjoy the race and after party. There were plenty of restrooms and the announcer was lively and clear making it easy to know when we needed to get lined up. About 5 minutes before 9am I made my way to the starting line shuffling my way up to the second row and was ready to run!
There are a couple things a little different about Rugged Maniac compared to other OCR races. First, the races are not time and are self reported after the race outside of the top 10 elite male and females racers. Second, obstacle completion is not mandatory and there is no penalty. This is true for elites as well.
Rugged Maniac Race Review
Atlanta’s course started off with a long flat run of about 2/3 of a mile before the first obstacle, Jacobs Ladder. The first three obstacles were over the first mile making it a fast start. The halfway point featured a spicy hill climb and hill running all culminating with over 15 of the 25 obstacles in the finishing mile. I looked at a few maps before the race and it seems common for Rugged Maniac. Start with a longer run and a larger group of the more known obstacles towards the end near the event area where spectators could see the action.
The obstacles themselves were fun with a good mix of military, fun, and challenging. Barzan and The Warped Wall in particular stood out. Rugged Maniac also features inflatable obstacles, something unique in OCR. They were a blast! Climbing the inflatables added a slight twist to a cargo net, with a few handle pieces broken adding to the challenge. Mind the Gap offered a safe jump for everyone while allowing elites to push it knowing there was a soft landing. Feed the beast was also fun, throwing myself over the small walls in the adult sized bouncy house.
The last 3/4 mile of the course featured 11+ of the 25 obstacles making for a fun finish. This will also result in lines in the afternoon so take this into account if you are looking to run the course. For me the course was clear and the obstacles packed together allowed me to catch a few other racers. Had the obstacles been mandatory completion I would have passed a few more. Coming down the hill approach to Barzan I could see a few elites taking the water rout.
The last obstacle at Rugged Maniac Atlanta was the triple threat Warped Wall, Mount Maniac, Accelerator 3.0. This is a great mix! The Warped Wall is tough and encourages teamwork. Mount Maniac is a cargo net bridge attached to a a giant inflatable ramp leading to the best slide in OCR.
Rugged Maniac Conclusion
In the end I had a blast at Rugged Maniac Atlanta. I finished 8th overall in the elite heat at 29:40 with 0 obstacles failed. It was a really fun event and post race offers a great OCR experience for anybody looking to try one for the first time. I’ll definitely be back next year and hope to see you there!