Rugged Maniac 2016 Recap- New Jersey


Its the summer and that means on the weekend you are bound to find me running some sort of a race.

This past weekend it was my first Rugged Maniac.


I enlisted my 19 year old daughter to run with me and together we drove two hours to Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. We paid the $10 to park and when I saw people of all ages and fitness levels walking around I knew we were in for a fun day.

Check – In / Starting Line

The check in process was pretty easy.

There was a free bag check, which I loved because why charge us for something we pretty much have to do! At the starting line, there was a “pump up” guy(MC) who was a little bawdy but hey, he was just trying to make sure we were all having a good time. We climbed over a four foot wall screaming that we were all RUGGED MANIACS and we were off!



The race was being run at a car race track so I figured it would be pretty flat…nothing like the Spartan Sprint at Tuxedo, New York.

After running for a few minutes we came across our first mud pit..but it wouldn’t be our last! I saw a lot of people running around the mud, which I couldn’t understand because that’s what we pay for isn”t it??



They had something called the ‘Shoe Catcher ‘ which made me really happy I was wearing tight fitting sneakers. Ironically, I saw shoes get sucked right off a few Maniac’s feet!!

But once again, I saw a few people take the easy way out.

Next was the ‘Head Scratcher’ which is Rugged Maniac’s barbed wire crawl. This was a lot of fun because we were crawling through tons of mud and were covered in it when we were done.

This brings us to the one obstacle I got hurt on.


It was a pretty tall wall with two blocks to help you up. My hands and feet were so muddy as were the blocks and I slid down and hurt my forearm. I decided to go around it and not try again because I have so many races coming up and felt it would be dumb to really hurt  myself. My daughter and I were having so much fun together because this was a no pressure race. It seemed a lot more laid back then a Spartan Race and sometimes you just want to run around;get muddy and have fun!


One thing I did notice is that people were not as helpful as in other races. I think this is because it brought out a lot of new racers who aren’t used to the camaraderie I am used to seeing. There were many opportunities to fall in the water and get the mud washed off before you got muddy again. There were also balance beams and rings floating things to jump across all leading to water if you failed. The terrain itself wasn’t all flat  as there were huge mounds of dirt and mud to run up-and-down throughout the course.

Favorite Obstacle

My favorite obstacle was the ‘Commando Crawl’ which was a barbed wire crawl up a super slippery muddy hill. Seeing my daughter laughing and covered in mud added to the experience

The last obstacle was a ‘warped wall’. My daughter made it up the wall but I tried twice and failed so, I too, the ladder. Once at the top you crawled over a net and up some wood to the longest..steepest slide Ive ever seen at a race. I was actually nervous we would fly right off. We went down together..landed in a big pool of water and we were done!

We ran through the finish line together and got our medals and half of a banana! We did not pay the extra $10 to be timed but I think it took us about an hour and a half.

Now that we were finished, we decided to walk around the festival and check out the sponsors.

This race had more free samples then I had ever seen! I think companies are very smart to hand stuff out at races because I know I have discovered some cool products and have started to buy them because I got to try it first. The food options seemed a little limited but there was a mechanical bull and some contests going on at the stage. We were there for the pull up contest where the prize was a free beer. There were sprinkler type showers to rinse off under but my mud was pretty dry by now so I decided to just brush it off and go change. Changing tents were provided which is something I have noticed all the races have now. This is much appreciated as it was getting hard to hold up towels in the middle of the parking lots and try to peel off wet clothes. We walked back to our car wearing our medals and drove home. I will definitely be going back to this race next year.

I love the challenge some of the other race series provides but sometimes you just want to get dirty..laugh and feel like a kid again and this is definitely the experience Rugged Maniac provided!