The Rugged Maniac Phoenix Race Recap & Review

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Rugged Maniac Phoenix to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

After years of running the Rugged Maniac New England, I finally got to try a second location by running the Rugged Maniac Phoenix this past weekend!

The Rugged Maniac races are so fun that even my non-runner boyfriend loves them. They are currently the only race he actually asks me to sign him up for each year instead of just tolerating me dragging him along πŸ™ˆ So when I mentioned the race he jumped at the opportunity to join me!!

Pre Race

One great thing about most OCR (including the Rugged Maniac) is that the race goes off in small heats. These heats are usually throughout the day so runners have the chance to choose what time of day suits them best. We arrived the day before the race because I like time to adjust after travel so we could have run in the morning, but my boyfriend LOVES diners, cafes, and large breakfasts. Last time we were in Phoenix we found an AMAZING all gluten-free cafe, Jewel’s Cafe so we opted to go there first and took a later race time of 12:45 PM.

We are not a timely people though, so we ended up late to the race anyway.. But the process to fix our mess-up was painless and didn’t cost us anything (thanks Rugged!!).

On an unrelated note, (I’m not going to pretend like this was the reason we were late because it wasn’t) make sure you listen to their special instructions as to how to get to the race. The address was slightly off, but they gave you special instructions that I originally confidently ignore that corrected the issue.

We ended up with a little time before our new start time (we chose to) and quickly realized we weren’t prepared for a race in the desert (will I ever learn??). We ended up having to buy water because we couldn’t wait for the usual bottle you get at the finish. To us it seemed kind of cruel not to have free water beforehand, but I realize now that not only have I never run a race with that, but literally no one else seemed phased. I think it was just us being out of our element, but a note for other non-locals.

ο»ΏThe Course

The race course was really similar to New England in many ways. Both are held at some kind of motocross park and use part of the park’s course and part of the natural land surrounding it. Both, when on the park’s course, are comprised of a very fine dirt and had twists, turns, rises, and dips. I would say New England’s motocross course portion featured more ups and downs, while Phoenix’s more twists and turns, but they were still pretty similar. The natural land was where they varied, New England’s wooded portion versus Phoenix’s desert. I was happy they did add some more up and down into the desert with man made dirt mounds and by making us run stadiums. (Wouldn’t want it to be TOO flat and easy 😜)

The Obstacles

I love how they always seem to find the perfect mix of challenging, doable, and just for fun obstacles! There are too many to mention them all, but here are some of my favorite/most memorable:

Barzan – This one’s a new, classic arm & grip strength obstacle where you need swing across bars facing different ways & angles. It’s definitely one of the more difficult ones and I was excited to try it. I didn’t make it across, but my boyfriend did. I’m very excited to try again at New England!

Antigravity – It’s got trampolines!! Plus it’s hilarious how many people don’t seem to know how to use a trampoline πŸ˜‚

Off The Rails – You have to run at and grab a rope with enough forward momentum that you slide on it down a rail to the end where you ring a bell. We’ve had many renditions of this type of slide on a rope obstacle in ninja class. Also someone got the bell stuck up in the metal framework a couple of people before our turn and my boyfriend was able to dislodge it to become the hero and be cheered as he left the water pit!

destroying the bell πŸ’ͺ

Full Tilt – A teeter totter hanging ladder! It’s almost like my ninja gym knew I’d need to climb an inclined ladder because we did exactly that the week before in class! In my opinion this one was a good intermediate obstacle that was slightly easier than Barzan. The only weird thing I noticed was this was the only hanging obstacle I’ve ever seen them have without a water pit under it. One of the things I love about the Rugged Maniac is they always have water pits under their hanging obstacles so you can try them without fearing the fall. (I’ve seen someone fall and break their elbow at a different brand OCR.)

Iron Curtain – Didn’t know about this one but I LOVE IT! But telling you about it would ruin it so just trust me it’s a fun one! πŸ˜‰

Feed The Beast – I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. Blowup obstacles aren’t generally my favorite (except the slide!), but I really enjoyed the blowup walls you have to bounce over!

Check out the full list of obstacles here if you want!

Overallο»Ώ

This race gave me confidence to continue recommending the Rugged Maniac to anyone who will listen because it seems they put on similarly AWESOME races no matter the venue! Rugged Maniac are friendly for all skill levels and make sure everyone has a blast! For Phoenix specifically, I would just recommend you bring water and sunscreen if you aren’t a crazy local who doesn’t seem to notice they’re out in the middle of the desert πŸ˜‚ Also the parking lot situation gets a little crazy toward the end so I’d recommend an earlier time slot if you need to be out of there ASAP.

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Rhode Races Hangover Classic 5 Miler 2019

I have now run the Hangover Classic for two years and had two extremely fun, but insanely different experiences.. so different it was honestly hard to believe it was the same race!

2018

It was so cold that most of the polar plunges in my area got cancelled due to safety and I needed a new New Year’s tradition. I stumbled upon the Hangover Classic, a 5 miler in the local waterside park, and figured I’d give it a try.. maybe host my own polar plunge in the park’s water if it wasn’t enough of a challenge 😜 My friend and I arrived at the race that morning to realize it would DEFINITELY be enough of a challenge. It was -6Β°F and I had literally every layer of Winter running gear I owned on and could still feel the cold. The short walk from the car to the start line had us rethinking our life choices. During the race, the course was an icy, snowy, windy battleground and my butt went numb even though I was wearing the tights I’ve always worn for Winter activities without issue. It was AMAZING the after race venue had a fireplace and I feel like I sat in front of it for an hour trying to get warm again.

2019

This year couldn’t have been much different from last. I woke up and had to check the weather app twice and then go outside to check for myself before I was convinced I could leave the house prepared to race in just shorts and a singlet. The walk from my car to the start line was so pleasant I stopped to take pictures! There were also a noticeable amount more people this year, not just a few other crazies who also didn’t fully think things through like last year. I picked up my bib and shirt and headed to the start line to stretch. I was missing my friendΒ  this year so I decided to give my Aftershokz a try and listen to the Training for Ultra podcast during the race. It was really nice! Between the beautiful waterside views, my podcast, and the lack of wind (it felt like literally none compared to last year), the race FLEW by. I wasn’t trying to PR or anything, just wanted to run with other people, so I was really happy with my 8:02 average pace. That was a lot faster than I had been running in training on the treadmill lately. I also checked results to find I got 3rd in AG so that was neat. One year soon (maybe next!) I’ll have to actually train for this race because I love the local beer can trophies they make each year!

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2018 vs 2019

Overall I really like that it’s a 5 miler instead of the usual 5k. I love Colt State Park and even though it’s always on the windier side because it’s on the water, it more than makes up for it in views and flatness! If you’re in Rhode Island for the 1st I would definitely think about giving this race a go because it’s an awesome time no matter the weather!

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One more comparison shot because it was so crazy! πŸ‘πŸ‘