Rugged Maniac Race Report “Fire up that loud.” Lil Jon
I love the Rugged Maniac Series. The vibe is among the best in all of OCR. It feels like a great party from the moment you step into the venue. With a win at the New Jersey stop on the tour I knew I wanted to race again and they had back to back races in Massachusetts which I thought would be a great tune up for Spartan Worlds next weekend.
I weather was perfect: a touch cool but not cold. I wore OWP gloves for grip and warmth (warm hands are useful hands) and my new OWP kit and OWP calf compression sleeves because they really help with fatigue and also the pad keeping my shins from looking like I lost a knife fight with a squirrel.
Day 1 was wet and a lot of deep mud as the course is a motocross track. The hardest part was “the trenches” which ends with with a steep 20 foot earth wall and we kept slipping down it unable to get our feet to stick. After a few failed attempts that’s when I dug my hands in and climbed it rather than trying to run it and it worked.
The other hard thing that defines this course is that it’s not flat. Like, at all. It’s got these super steep climbs that really crush your momentum. Going down also isn’t easy and you could pretty easy end up kart wheeling! But there is some great single track woods parts and one thing I LOVE about this course is that there are stands where people can and do watch the action and cheer as they can see much of the course from the main stands which rest on a hill over looking the course.
Day 1 was a real battle and I ended up second to a fantastic former college runner and now elite racer who goes in the 14 minute range for 5ks. This set up the classic OCR battle pure runner vs OCR vet: he crushed me on the running sections but I pulled time back on him at the obstacles. The course loads up the last mile with obstacles and I could feel me catching him but sadly for me it wasn’t enough, though I was stoked with a well earned second place. It’s always an honor to be on the podium!
Day 2 was totally different and if you do Rugged Maniac you should consider doing both days because they are never the same race, even when on the same course. The course on day 2 was hard pack as the 10,000 people from day 1 beat the earth into submission making it fast. Lucky for us the course wasn’t easier as the once clean obstacles were now properly muddy making them a touch harder as slipping because more likely and good holds harder to find. The race started and for a while a group of 4 of us were all within breathing distance. One super strong runner pegged himself on the first long steep climb and took the lead. I would advise people to generally not do that as once your heart rate spikes like that it’s hard to bring it down. I tried to remain calm as I slipped backwards and my choice payed off because when he hit the first series of climbing obstacles his heart went boom and I retook the lead and never lost it. I ran steady and focused on being clean through the tasks making sure to rock the rings where a slip up can cost you the race.
As I entered the finishing shoot it was once again nice to be the champ and this time I waited in the sunshine and perfect blue skies for my wife Christine Lynch, who was on her way to her first OCR race where she took second! What a day! Thanks to Original Warrior Pak for the best OCR gear on earth! To Rugged Maniac for an awesome weekend! To Boston Common Coffee for getting me out of bed in the morning. CARBOOM gels which I take each race 30 minutes prior. Purefit Bars which I ate 20 minutes after day 1 so I could recover for day 2! And Brooks Running for making the Pure Grit my weapon of choice for my feet. Lastly: I am also the coach of Team Continuum where we fund raise for kids with cancer. We have spots for the NYC Marathon, NYC Half Marathon and NYC Tri and if you want run with us please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org