Rugged Maniac obstacle course draws thousands

A pile of used, muddy shoes that will be donated to entrepreneurs in developing countries. (Photo by Peter Currier)

SOUTHWICK- Thousands of people gathered at The Wick 338 motocross track Sept. 28 and 29 for the 10th annual Rugged Maniac 5k obstacle course.

The course featured about 25 obstacles ranging from crawling under a chain link fence in a pit full of mud to running and jumping over rows of fire. Runners began the race in groups in 15 minute increments over the course of both days.

While most people went through in teams of friends and family who worked together, just about everybody who ran outside of the competitive  “elite heats” worked together regardless of team to get through some of the obstacles.

A team of participants stretch at the Rugged Maniac race Sunday morning. (Photo by Dennis Hackett)

“I was very impressed with how everyone works together throughout the whole race, even people on different teams,” said Kelsey McRobbie, who ran the race with a group on Saturday morning, “It was awesome to see how everyone encourages each other to keep going. I can’t wait to do it again next year and I’m hoping we can add some more people to our team.”

McRobbie, who is from Springfield, ran the course with a team consisting of some of her friends and family. She said that a friend of hers and her family had been running in the course for a few years and invited her to join.

“I heard how much fun it was last year from Katelyn and her family.” said McRobbie. “I wasn’t sure if I could do it but I was excited to try and it doesn’t hurt that you get to have fun with your friends while you do it.”

Rugged Maniac participants help each other over an obstacle. (Photo by Dennis Hackett)

She added that she didn’t go through much training for it despite the reputation of these kinds of races for being rather intense. She joked that she actually ate ice cream every day the week before and was still able to get through without skipping obstacles. Rugged Maniac Event Director Jeff Scott said that this event is supposed to be “lighter” than the likes of and Iron Man or Tough Mudder race.

“It’s only 3.1 miles, so we’re not like a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race. It’s more of a ‘come have fun and enjoy a beer and the festival’ thing,” said Scott. “You don’t get a penalty for skipping obstacles. You can just come out and bring your friends.” 

As of Monday, Scott did not have a tally of how many people ran in the course, but the registration page for the event said that it was 99 percent full. Scott said in the days leading up to Rugged Maniac that he was expecting somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 people to participate. 

Following the race, many people opted to leave their now muddy shoes behind to be donated. The organization “Sneakers 4 Funds” had a booth near the finish line showers for people to drop off their shoes to be cleaned and sent to business owners in developing countries for them to sell and boost their business. It is unclear how many shoes were donated but piles of them could be seen at the booth throughout the day. 

In addition to the course, smaller events took place on the 338 property throughout the day Saturday and Sunday. Some of the events included pie eating contests, pull up contests, and beer stein hoisting competitions.

To Top