By Joe Loomis
As someone who had only done Spartan Races until the beginning of 2018 I was excited to try new races with different obstacles. I will say that Rugged Maniac was by far the most fun race I have done to date. Everything from the obstacles, venue, and the announcers all just showed that this race was for fun and nothing else.
The Portland Rugged Maniac is held at the Portland International Raceway (PIR). I’m sure as most people hear a racetrack isn’t really the best place to have an OCR event, but thankfully PIR also has a motocross track in the middle of it. This allowed for rolling hills and some elevation changes, however as far as OCR events go this would be considered a flat race. I didn’t mind the flat course as someone who grew up watching racing and race cars it made for childlike laughter as I ran across the racetrack. Rugged Maniac counters this flat course with the fact that pack in twenty-five obstacles and many of them unique and different.
With obstacles for OCR events, there are what I like to call the usual suspects. Rugged Maniac had what most events have like barb wire or rope crawl through water and or mud, a hanging obstacle with rings or rungs, a few walls to climb over and a fire jump of some sort.
It was the other obstacles that made Rugged stand out for me. The Gauntlet and Frog hop were obstacles that had you run or jump on items that were floating on water. Since they were only held on by a few points caused them to tip and flip which made for very entertaining falls into the water. Antigravity was another obstacle that was unique as it had trampolines that had you jump from one to another and then grabbing onto a rope cargo net.
The other standouts were off the rails and a warped wall. Off the rails was fun as you had to run jump and grab onto a rope on a rail. The rail was positioned, so you had to slide up and hit a bell before falling into the water. If you didn’t get enough momentum you didn’t make it to the bell and would stall in the middle of the rail, but no matter what you were going to get wet because there were still several feet of water past the bell. A warped wall from a certain TV show was always something I wondered if I could do. I am happy to report that I was able to do it and what made it even better was that after you scaled the warped wall, you climbed a cargo net to the top of a huge inflatable water slide.
The other impressive ones were the ladder tilt and the crag. The ladder tilt was another TV show obstacle but was incredibly difficult due to the rungs being so slippery that they seemed to have been greased. The Crag was another inflatable that had three levels at chest height that you had to climb over. An adult sized inflatable is something that also gave me childlike laughter as I was able to bounce my way up and down the inflatable.
The Beasts OCR team was out in force for this race with over thirty-five members. Beasts OCR was proud to have lots of members in the competitive race and even had several places in the top ten or better top three. Including first place finisher Jeremy Kaufmann, second place finisher Taylor Overmiller, Lorenzo Contreras in eighth place finisher, and Patrick Olson in ninth place. Tasha Overmiller was the sole female top ten Beast with a fifth-place finish. There were several Beasts that ran the course several times including Myke Thompson who was just a mile short of a marathon of Rugged Maniac laps.
In the end, this was by far my new favorite race to date. It is a great race for beginners, elite level athletes, and everything in between, with unique fun obstacles and even new obstacles this year and hopefully for years to come. This will be a race that will have a permanent spot on my calendar every year. If any Beasts haven’t done a Rugged Maniac, I highly recommend it. Look at how much fun people are having.