Rugged Maniac 5k

Rugged Maniac 5k
February 25, 2011

Chip Time: 34 minutes, 34 seconds*

The evening of the race I was sitting around chatting w/ my friend, Anne, and had this funny conversation.

Anne: “So where was this race?”
Me: “Waldo.”
Anne: “Where’s Waldo? [pause…] I so walked right into that.. ”

Yup, the Rugged Maniac 5k was at Waldo Motorsports. If you’ve ever driven from Jacksonville to Gainesville, you’re probably familiar with Waldo for it’s famously, huge speed trap.

So, the morning of Feb 25, Adam and I hauled butt to get to Waldo which took about an hour. The race itself was fun and challenging. The worst part was that it was cold. Thankfully not as cold as the Donna Half Marathon, but still really cold. Especially when you’re not just running, you’re jumping in water and crawling through mud.

The week prior to the Rugged Maniac was really tough for me because my allergies were on a rampage!! I’m really bummed by this. Ever since I hurt my foot in the Thanksgiving half, I’ve been unable to run for the past two months. Now my heel finally seems better, and I’m able to start putting some careful miles in. I start training and running again, and suddenly I’m sidelined with absolutely horrible allergies. It’s really bad. I can’t imagine pushing through this and going to the gym regardless because a) I can’t breath, b) I’m sneezy, and c) I’m constantly blowing my nose. I am definitely going to the allergist to get allergy testing done. I am hoping they’ll agree to sign me up for allergy shots, so I don’t have to go through this again next Spring.

Has anyone had allergy testing? Anyone get weekly, monthly shots to prevent allergies?

A lot of my recap is going to be comparing this race to the MS Mud Run that I ran in 2011 and 2010. It’s really hard NOT to compare the two races since they really are fairly similar. Before the Rugged Maniac, the MS Mud Run was the only other type of mud run I’ve done. So here goes..

When we were on our way, I pulled up the address of Waldo Motorsports that was provided on the Rugged Maniac Jacksonville event page. Hm, mistake #1. It was NOT the right location. This took us down some dirt road where there was nothing but random trailer homes. We also were not the only car driving down this. So I quickly googled Waldo Motorsports and called the number listed on their page. The number for Waldo Motorsports wasn’t provided on the Rugged Maniac event page, just the address. Someone miraculously answered quite quickly, and told me it was next to the Sleep Inn. I asked where that was according to where I was at, and he wasn’t helpful. I guess I assumed he would know where I was because I assumed I wasn’t the first person this happened to. Oh well, we headed back to the main road and went south and found it two seconds later. No big deal. We were really early anyways.


We pulled up and realized how cold it was still out. (Mistake #2, signing up for a wet mud run in February) We were glad we were early at least. We decided to head out to the main area to see if there was anything interesting there. There really wasn’t much going on there. We saw the starting line, and people lined up waiting to start. Our wave wasn’t until 10 a.m. and this was the 9:30 a.m. wave. Since it was so cold, we decided to try and jump into the 9:30 a.m. wave and start early so we could get done earlier. No one stopped us, so that’s exactly what we did. (more on this later) They came over the megaphone and got us started without a hitch. Let’s go!

The Rugged Maniac was only a 5k which made it shorter than the MS Mud Run. The Mud Run is actually a 10k, so it’s 6 miles. A participant in the Mud Run really needs to be prepared because it’s that much longer. I think a lot of people of varying skilled levels could get through the Rugged Maniac since it’s only 3.1 miles.

There were a lot of times in the race I really needed to use my arms and my legs to make it through the different challenges. One obstacle was a muddy tubes on slight up incline with a rope down the middle. The only way through was to brace and pull myself up. My arms were on fire!! I loved all of this because I could tell my time spent at Timed Exercise has paid off. Just a few months ago, I would have REALLY struggled to get up that tube.



There was one unfortunate situation right in the middle of the race. They had three rounded hay bales setup across the path so in order to continue, you needed to jump over. I did a slight jog towards the hay bales, and a big leap. As soon as I left the ground, I felt a sharp pain in my left knee. (Mistake #3) I eventually made it over the hay bales and continued on to finish the race. Unfortunately, my knee pain hasn’t gone away. I’ve been icing frequently, and it does seem to be getting better.



Overall the Rugged Maniac seemed as though it had more obstacles. I think this was really due to two factors. The race was half as long as the Mud Run, so the obstacles were closer together. For the same reason, this race had less running overall. In the Mud Run, there are long stretches where all you’re doing is running in the dust and dirt with no end in sight. In this race during almost every running stretch, you could see the end or the next obstacle. In fact, running around you could see almost the entire course. The course was basically on a big dirt motorbike track area, so you just looped around and around all over their property. At one point, we were even on their dirtbike track. They divided the different paths with caution tape. That honestly took away some of the fun and mystique of the race. I could see almost all the obstacles so I could tell what was coming up. In the Mud Run, you’re basically running through a big forest, so you’d turn a corner and suddenly have a big, scary monster of an obstacle in front of you.



As for the actual obstacles, there were tons of fun climbing, walls, ropes, etc. There was one retention pond that we had to trudge through, but thankfully no swimming. In the beginning of the mud run, there was a big pond we had to actually swim through. It was SO hot at the mud run, the pond felt GREAT! I was so glad that at the Rugged Maniac there wasn’t any swimming because it wasn’t hot, it was freezing!


Right at the end of the race, there was actually a fire pit we had to jump over! Ohemgee! Yeah, not really. It was just a long row of firewood that they’d lit on fire. I mean, I had to jump over fire, it just wasn’t as amazingsauce as I thought it would be.


One good thing about jumping over the “fire” was that it mean’t we were at the finish!!

We were both freezing so we beelined to the car, changed immediately in the parking lot, and headed back for our free beers. The brewery was one I honestly hadn’t heard of before, Harpoon Brewery. They had two beers, one was UFO and it was DELISH! It tasted so amazing (probably because we’d just finished a mud run.


This picture REALLY captures how COLD it really was!!!

So remember how I said we jumped into the 9:30 am. wave, when we were signed up for the 10 am. wave? I thought this was harmless, and it really was overall. Only thing is when they released our finish times, I saw it and laughed.

Chip Time: 34 minutes, 34 seconds*

There’s NO way we did a Mud Run 5k in 35 minutes. The race was chip timed, but only at the finish. So they just calculate your finish time (We did run over a mat at the finish) and subtract your start time. Realistically, our finish time was One hour, 4 minutes, 34 seconds. Ha!

Overall, would I do this race again? Probably not, but for two specific reasons. First, a mudrun in February was really dumb. It was just too cold. Second, I tweaked my knee, so I’m thinking I may have to retire from mudruns overall, not just this one. Only problem is, I’m already signed up for the Muck Ruckus MS, which is the renamed Mud Run that I’ve done before. As long as I’m healed, I’ll go ahead and do that race, I’ll just be much MUCH more cautious of my knee.

Have you ran a mud run? If so, which one, and what did you think? Would you sign up for another one?


I signed up for this race out of my own ridiculousness. All thoughts are entirely my own.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment!

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