In Arizona, we are lucky enough to have the Rugged Maniac come into town twice a year.  The first Arizona Rugged of the 2019 race season was held at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Arizona on Saturday, April 6th.  I was excited to hit the course in the competitive wave and test out the five new obstacles that debuted this season.

The Course

The 3.2-mile course was flat and fast and packed with over 25 obstacles.  In my opinion, the most challenging obstacle on the course was called “Barzan”.  This grip intensive obstacle required athletes to jump up and laterally move across a pipe, transferring to unstable bars all while trying to avoid a trench filled with 4 feet of water. Another challenging obstacle was “Full Tilt”.  This obstacle features an 8-foot monkey bar-ladder which pivots downward at the halfway point.  This obstacle was especially difficult because it was immediately after “fenced in”, which had racers pulling themselves through 30 feet of muddy water.  With wet hands, “full tilt” proved to be quite difficult!  The rest of the obstacles were fun and challenging, providing a great course for both the novice and experienced obstacle course racer.

If I had one complaint about Rugged Maniac, it would fall under the regulation of the competitive wave.  According to the Rugged Maniac Website,

To be eligible for a prize, you must run in the 9:00 AM Elite Heat, and complete all good obstacles. “Completing” an obstacle means you attempted it in good faith, and did not simply walk around it.

For walls and cargo nets, it means you made it over the top and down the opposite site

For obstacles where you can fall into the water, you don't have to get out and try again, but you do have to wade through the water to the end of the obstacle. You cannot exit the pool from the side.

For the Warped Wall, you're allowed to receive assistance from volunteers or other racers at the top.

While I was racing, I saw a lot of competitors simply reach up and touch an obstacle and then drop into the water and run across to the other side.  This happened specifically on “full tilt”, “barzan” and “off the rails”.  It took longer to complete the obstacle than it did to drop in the water and essentially bypass it. I believe that if a race is offering a competitive wave, then there needs to be an obstacle completion rule or a penalty of some sort put in place.   In the future, I would love to see Rugged Maniac make a few minor changes to the competitive wave to make sure that athletes are being challenged and held accountable for completing all obstacles to the absolute best of their ability.


Overall, Rugged Maniac always provides a great race day experience.  The event is well organized, the course is challenging and fun, and the festival area is one of the best in the OCR community.  I highly recommend this race series for all athletes!

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This author is part of the Mud Run Crew and received a free race entry in return for an independent review. All opinions are those of the author and were not influenced by the race sponsor or Mud Run Guide.