I’ve been researching mud runs and obstacle course races. Why? Well, I may or may not put it on my race calendar next year.
Right now, I’m going to spectate the Rugged Maniac in Dade City on April 20. If you’re doing it, let me know. I’ll cheer you on!
In the meantime, take advantage of my research. There's advice below for mud run obstacle course racing. This type of race is NOT like the others!
Disclaimer: I’m promoting Rugged Maniac as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews.
Rugged Maniac is for OCR Beginners and Pros
I read a lot of reviews. A lot. And I kept hearing that the Rugged Maniac events are good for first timers and pros. The event in Dade City is taking place at Little Everglades Ranch. That means there will be plenty of room for the obstacles and the all day festival. We're talking wide open spaces here.
What to Wear for a Rugged Maniac OCR
One account I read talked about a guy dressed like Tarzan. I don’t know if a loin cloth or bathing suit is the best option. But it’s an option.
Next, let’s talk about shoes. You could go barefoot, but that may be painful. Picture yourself missing your jump over the fire pit. Barefoot running shoes are recommended by some OCR veterans.
Spikes are forbidden! They puncture the inflatables. Trail shoes are okay. The extra tread can help you climb muddy hills and vertical obstacles.
Your best option is to wear a pair of shoes you don’t mind ruining. But, make sure they are a tight fit. If they're loose or porous they fill up with mud and water. (Hello blisters!)
Try swapping your shoelaces for Hickies. Hickies are a no-tie elastic shoe lacing system. You get durable straps to use in place of shoe laces. They’re waterproof and keep your shoes on your feet. It's not a good feeling when you pull your foot out of the mud without your shoe!
Some runners suggest taping your shoes with duct tape to make them water-tight. That seems extra, but it’s up to you.
Donate Your Shoes After the Race
Whatever shoes you wear, consider donating them after your race. Rugged Maniac participates in the Sneakers4Funds program.
It’s a fundraising program that keeps your shoes out of landfills, and helps a local charity. Donate your shoes after the race at the Sneakers4Funds station near the showers. You donate your racing shoes — they take care of clean up!
Rope obstacles are tough. Consider gloves. The kind of gloves you wear is up to you.
Grab a pair of leather or rubber utility gloves. They’ll keep your fingernails clean for at least a couple of obstacles. I have a feeling full-on gloves would be annoying once they’re muddy.
Maybe fingerless hiking or weight-lifting gloves are a better idea. They’ll protect your hands, plus you can shake out water and dirt.
Again, just like with your clothes and shoes — be prepared for everything to be a muddy mess by the finish line. There’s also a chance you’ll lose your gloves along the way.
What NOT to Wear
Rugged Maniac isn't as severe as some ultimate OCRs, but it also isn't your local 5K road race. There are plenty of slippery opps for your jewelry and valuables to go missing.
You'll have more fun if you leave valuables with a non-racing friend, in your car or at gear check.
I’m talking keys, jewelry, phone, eyeglasses, wallet, favorite hat, etc. There’s no better way to ruin an awesome event than to lose your jewelry or sports watch at the bottom of a mud pit.
What You Need After the Race
Want some ideas for staying happy after you cross the finish line? Keep reading for tips from past finishers. Don't forget to bring cash for extra beer and food.
Bandaids, Antibiotic, Sunscreen
There’s a first aid tent at the event, but leave that for people who need serious care.
Still, you'll need some TLC after your race. Pack a first aid kit for minor cuts and scratches. Don’t forget sunscreen. You’ll need sun protection for all the outdoor festivities.
Towels and Change of Clothes
There’s a shower area and changing tents. You won’t get completely clean until you take a hot shower at home. But, rinsing off and putting on fresh clothes make the post-race festival more fun.
Bring some face and/or body wipes. They’re good for cleaning your ears, etc. Some athletic body wipes are scented and include deodorant.
Throw a few gallons of water in your car before the race. You can use your own water to rinse off and avoid the line at the showers.
Plastic Garbage Bags
If you want to rehab your gear, bring a couple of plastic bags. Double bag everything to keep your car clean. Deep clean your gear when you get home.
Extra Shoes or Flip Flops
You don’t want to walk around in the shoes you raced in. They’re going to be muddy, sloshy, and slippery. Bring a pair of comfy shoes or flip flops to wear after your race. You'll want to walk around to see the vendors, food, music, contests, and more during the post race festival.
Folding Chair or Blanket
It’s an outdoor festival, people! Bring a folding chair or blanket to sit on.
Cover the inside of your car with old sheets or towels. You can wrap a sheet all the way around your seats. Even if you rinse off, that mud is going to try to get in your car. You also can use a garbage bag as a seat cover.
Bring a Spectator or Cheer Squad
Admission is free for spectators. Parking is $10 (cash) PER CAR. You know what else spectators do? They can hold your change of clothes for you. And your valuables. And take photos. And cheer for you!
Bring a spectator so you don’t have to trudge back to your car for your gear between racing and the festival. Food and beer is available at cost. Music and all the visual entertainment is free for everyone!
Still Curious? Watch This Video of a 2018 Rugged Maniac Course by OCR Kings
Here's a video by the #OCRKings. They're wearing GoPros while running a race so you get a real view of a Rugged Maniac race.
Remember, each Rugged Maniac course has 25 obstacles, but they're not always the same. Yet, this video is a great preview of what to expect.
SAVE 10% on Registration Until 4/18/19
Okay, now you know the basics you need for your OCR Mud Run! Use my discount code RUN10 to SAVE 10%. You can register online for the Rugged Maniac in Dade City until 4/18.
Have Fun Being a Rugged Maniac!
As always, there will be racers better and worse than you. Guess what? It doesn’t matter! Rugged Maniac events are fun and friendly. Give a hand, and get a hand as you make your way through the obstacles! Cheer for everyone!
Be patient and embrace the challenge! Don’t forget to giggle. You’re going to see a lot of hilarious slipping and sliding out there. Like Rugged Maniac says: this is recess for adults! Enjoy yourself and all your new muddy friends!
P.S. BONUS TIP!
Don’t jump into the mud pit! Slide on in gracefully. And watch out for anyone with a hose — I guarantee their aim is not good.
More Advice on How To Enjoy a Mud Run
Check out Andrea's tips for fun at a mud run obstacle course race. Her Mom talked her into running one! You can get her take on the new Rugged Maniac obstacles, too.
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Feb. 25-26, 2023