‘Rugged Maniac’ race to feature dumpster diving, shipping containers
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
MARINE PARK — Are you ready to experience epic, rugged glory, Brooklyn-style?
An adrenaline-fueled race – where competitors dive into dumpsters filled with mud and pull themselves up rope-covered towers – will be transforming a 5K swath of Brooklyn’s Aviator Sports Complex into the obstacle course from hell on June 30.
Brooklyn’s version of “Rugged Maniac” – called by its organizers “the most challenging 5K obstacle race in the country” – will be attracting thousands of competitors and spectators to Gateway National Park, where they will run like maniacs around a course with 20 punishing obstacles.
The waiver that participants must sign states in part: “Some of the activities include runs, military style obstacles, going through pipes, traversing cargo nets, climbing walls, jumping over fire, swimming in cold water, carrying heavy objects and traversing muddy areas.”
Competitors must have medical insurance.
This is not the first Rugged Maniac event in Brooklyn – one took place last November – but it will be the best, Rob Dickens, Chief Operating Officer for Rugged Races, told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday.
In order to conform to Aviator’s national parkland rules, Rugged Maniac engineers were not permitted to dig mud pits or light fires at last November’s event. The company has learned and adapted since then, Dickens said.
While fire is still forbidden, “There will be mud. We can’t dig a water pit, so we’re building up. We’ll have Mount Maniac, a mountain of shipping containers for people to climb over, as well as our Dumpster Dive obstacle, in which runners have to slog through dumpsters filled with mud,” he said.
Who does this stuff?
What kind of person voluntarily enters an event like Rugged Maniac?
“All kinds of people,” Dickens said. “The modern world has become dominated by cities and technology. People no longer have the ability to satisfy their primal need to get outdoors and be active. Sure, people can workout at a gym, but it’s not the same without fresh air in your face, grass stains on your knees and mud on your hands. In a sense, we offer a return to childhood, if only for a day, where you can run around outside and get dirty without worrying about your mom yelling at you when you get home.
“But unlike childhood, there will be cold beer, awesome bands and crazy festival games waiting for you after you’re done playing in the mud.”
Many women are also rugged maniacs. “That’s why our ad campaigns don’t feature bikini-clad women,” Dickens said. “We now have the highest percentage of female runners of any co-ed adventure race – usually 50 percent or more.”
What? No electrocutions or beatings?
“Most extreme race companies market themselves as brutal, punishing events that only the manliest of men should attempt,” Dickens told the Eagle.
“Tough Mudder even brags that 25 percent of runners don’t finish its races. The simple reason behind that statistic is that they have 20 obstacles spread over 10-12 miles, whereas we have 20 obstacles crammed into 3 miles.
“Furthermore, we’ve found that most people don’t like to be electrocuted, beaten with sticks or submerged in ice water. That’s why our obstacles are designed to actually challenge our runners physically instead of merely causing them pain.”
Spectators love being able to watch the event, Dickens said, adding that the courses are constructed so that there is good viewing at the most popular obstacles.
Rugged Maniac features an all-day party with bands, beer (provided by Harpoon Brewery), and crazy festival games like adult bounce houses, mechanical bulls and beer pong/flip cup tables. One of the bands playing at Aviator is Brooklyn’s own Workout (http://workoutbrooklyn.com/) along with TK Kong & the Atomic Bomb from Philadelphia.
What kind of maniacs run this crazy event? Lawyers, naturally.
The CEO and founder of Rugged Races LLC is Brad Scudder, who Dickens met during a semester abroad in Dublin during law school.
“I came on board as partner and COO a few months after the company was founded in June, 2010. I worked as an attorney on Wall Street and he worked as a litigation attorney in Springfield, MA before we started doing this,” Dickens said.
Registration is open online at www.ruggedmaniac.com until midnight, June 22. The event costs from $58 - $88 depending on time of registration, and discounts are available.