After each mud run or obstacle race I compete in, you'll get my review and grades for each event to help you decide which ones you might want to sign up for. The following categories will be discussed:

1. COURSE- the design, venue, and setup of the race itself- how creative/ adventurous/ difficult the obstacles were, and obviously... how was the MUD?!?

2. FESTIVAL- all the fun beyond the actual race- the social atmosphere which usually includes food, beer garden, dj/ music/ concert, contests, vendors, and more during the after-party

3. SWAG- the included goodie bag and prizes up for grabs- all the "free" stuff that comes with price of entry and the quality of awards, shirts, and other giveaways

Feel free to use the search box to read up on any past topics you might be looking for.

RUGGED MANIAC, Brooklyn NY, 6/29/13

You know that old saying "I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed"...?  Well, yeah, that's my gist of today's race at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.  I should have learned my lesson when the facts (ok, my opinions) are: I did Rugged Maniac in 2011 and it was just plain awful; and even moreso, every race I have run at this Aviator Sports Complex (also was the host for Spartan Race's first ever NY event in 2010), has shown this venue is such a bad choice for a mud run/obstacle race.  So, another old saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."  Mark my words- I will NEVER do another Rugged Maniac after this one!  Whether I return or not to Brooklyn remains to be seen as the Civilian Military Combine is scheduled to be back here in mid-September. But I will keep these notes that follow in my mind, either way.

1. COURSE-  Pulling into the parking lot with my buddy Rob and beginning those cynical thoughts already, my tone changed a bit when we instantly saw a three-story high water slide at the finish and thought maybe this was going to be quite an upgrade from RM's past showings.  And so, as we are both intent on competing for top prizes and getting amped for the "look" of this perhaps improved race, it took all of 5 minutes to see that entirely erased- as the announcement of their chip timing system having completely failed (!) right before the start of the first heat made its way through the scores of anticipating racers.  Not only did that mean no personal time recorded for anyone, but it also signified NO awards (I finished 2nd overall, unoffically). Extremely disappointed, and can't understand how there was no type of backup or solution!  The urban setting for this (or any) race here makes it a fast course, as at least half of it runs on pavement, and is completely flat except for a number of "berm" hills near the start of the course.  As for the actual obstacles, it was all pretty run-of-the-mill stuff: walls, ladders, cargo nets, balance beam, mud crawl under bungee cords rather than barbed wire, and a dumpster dive filled with water (un/luckily not an ice bath, though it may have felt good in the outdoor heat).  Saving this from an "F" was the one decent obstacle that did live up to the hype, as the slide we saw driving in was worth going back for a second splash after finishing.  Still, really not enough to get this one out of summer school and then I had to listen to Rob's "fuckin timing chips?!" rant all the way home.  Grade = D

2. FESTIVAL-  What festival?  An empty fenced-off area where vendors looked like a sad row of puppies wanting to be adopted at the store? Lame.  For those of you who know me anyway, I don't drink the post race free beer, but neither did I see anyone else, unless that may have been because 9:30 in the morning is not our usual drinking hour.  The entire finish line, festival, and central meeting area seemed completely disorganized.  Only staff to be found were under the registration tent, where they looked obviously flustered due to the growing event day hassles including the nonstop complaints regarding race timing (good news is that every racer gets a $10 refund for the timing chip issue).  I don't fault volunteers for their lack of assistance too much, as they can only follow the lead of the supervisors.  But when too many answers to questions are "I don't know, sorry", it gets to be a sign of poor management.  Just lousy.  Grade = D

3. SWAG- I knew ahead of time that there were no medals or trophy handouts, but the picture below perhaps shows the best finish line giveaway (in the lower right hand corner), in addition to the pile of soft, ripened cut-in-half bananas and the bottles of lukewarm water they handed out.  Zico coconut water saves the day?  Really guys? Holy crap, I am getting more annoyed as I write this thinking about the timing and no awards (pretty much the only reason I gave this another chance). Luckily it was only a half hour drive and a free entry for me, but it wasn't even worth waking up early in my opinion. The shirts are decent cotton/poly blend (photo shows reverse, and later noticed the inside on back actually has the slogan "Come ready or never start" printed there.  So, why didn't I just read the damn shirt before toeing up at the start line?  Rugged Maniac obviously was NOT ready and shouldn't have started AT ALL  ;)  Grade = C