There is a reason they call it the \”Rugged Maniac\”

  1. You must be rugged to consider getting dirty, crawling in the mud, dirt trenches, under barb wire, over tall obstacles, big teeter totters, rings, jumping over fire and running up the metal wall.  (And that barb wire thing – 3 times!) In addition to sliding down a giant slide into a cold pool of water — just crazy!
  2. You must be a maniac to do it time and time again – which I have seen many of my friends do and hopefully what the happy finishers will do, and continue to enjoy the outdoor \”adult\” obstacle course like the one I experienced in Southwick, Massachusetts.

This was my first obstacle course race that I have run…. watching my friends Vanessa, Sasha and Tiffany through Facebook sharing their medals and smiling faces didn\’t give the race much of an introduction, but it looked like a tough —  but fun time.  Then this spring my friend Wendy (VP, Corporate and Distinguished Events at the American Cancer Society) asked me to join her team \”Killin\’ Cancer\” for the Rugged Maniac — I said \”Sure!\” thinking it would be nothing for me….  after all the marathons, Ironman triathlons, ultra 50 milers and mountain runs – this should be a piece of cake (or so I thought).

I showed up a little early to check out the course and take some photos of some of the obstacles — it was funny watching people run with determination up the wall to be caught by their team mates. Then I searched for the American Cancer Society booth to say hi to folks, and then off to get registered.  Picked up my number and got the wrist bracelet for my free Harpoon beer as a reward once I finish! 🙂   Alexis, Angel, Michelle and Wendy arrived and we got some great pre-race pics (prior to the mud!)  We were ready to go!

Here is a quick recap to share my experience:

  1. WHEN & WHERE: Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 2:45 PM in  Southwick Mass on the motocross course was our \”heat\”.. the track was dry dirt, mixed with mud, trenches and there were a few hills with woods mixed in among the obstacles.   We were one of many teams to start and it was a mass start — All were cheering as we run off to the first obstacles!

  2. WHY?:  My friend/colleagues Wendy Matthews & Holly Grant put together a New England based team, so I signed up to join in on the fun and encouraged Angel Davis from the Volunteer Care Team to join too! Rugged Maniac generously chose the American Cancer Society as a charity to benefit from participants raising funds and joining in on the fun so why not join in!  Although I didn\’t fund raise for this event I support my friend Wendy — our Team Captain!

  3. THE TOUGHEST PART? – I have to say the toughest part was the metal wall at the end of the course.  I ran up it so fast, I probably could have made it over the top without help — which is what my team mates thought, so I fell to the ground and scraped my body on the wall.  It hurt so bad!  But I got up and did it again and made it to the finish cut up and bleeding, but I finished!

  4. FAVORITE PART?:  Being with my active and fun colleagues, talking the whole way and encouraging others along the way.  I helped a boy get up and over one wall and truly enjoyed cheering others out there having a great time and working hard to get through each obstacle.

  5. PREP?:  I am an avid trail and mountain runner, so that was my physical prep.  AND I got on my own backyard Monkey bars to train for the rings!  I felt like a kid out there doing those obstacles, it was a lot of fun!

  6. DO IT AGAIN?  Hmmm  – you may have to ask me that again next year…  My body hurt for a while after that fall, but I would consider it just because it was so much fun.  I love seeing the families out there – my step son Stephen ran it with his buddy Eric and if my son Schuyler was interested, I might give it another go!

  7. TIPS?   Wear long sleeves and capri tights (so not to scratch up your arms and legs).  Plug your nose going down the slide unless you want a massive head ache from the water….  and when you decide to sign up  – get together a \”rugged\” group of family and friends and make it a fun adventure for everyone!  Truly a fun event!

    8. FINISH PARTY?    Harpoon is a local favorite ale and after getting our free beer,  we all gathered around the stage where they had ongoing entertainment and high energy announcers engaging the crowd.  They do a finish party RIGHT! Great food and water post race and a fantastic medal.  As many t shirts as I own, I must admit I love this one with the race summary on the back and the girl with a flexed muscle on the front.  Super proud to have done this race despite any of the challenges, it just makes it sweeter crossing that finish line with your whole entire team!

Next up is 2 more USTAF NE Cross Country races for me!  Getting faster on the trails!  What is your favorite race to do?  Ultras? Marathons? Half marathons, 10k, 5k, Triathlons?  Leave a comment below and thank you  for stopping by!


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Nancy Cook 2021

About Nancy

Nancy Peck Cook is a trainer and speaker who has presented in front of large and small audiences for the past 25 years.  Her work as an executive and volunteer trainer for the American Cancer Society during the growth of the signature activity Relay For Life trained professionals to be more confident and successful in their roles. 

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