A look at the Rugged Maniac mud run obstacle race in NC. Spoiler alert: I jumped over fire and survived.

When the forecast turns from 83 to 53 and the sunshine turns to dreary gray skies, suddenly jumping through mud puddles seems less appealing.

But still awesome.

Yesterday’s Rugged Maniac 5K was a race unlike any I’ve done before- and one I’d do again in a heartbeat.

More obstacle course than race, the 5K was ramped up a notch by swinging tires, fire pits, and mud slides.

fire pits

Not to mention at least 4 inch deep mud- sticky, clay-like North Carolina mud.

north carolina mud

The Rugged Maniac

The day didn’t start out completely fantastic when I made rookie mistake #1 by not re-checking the weather before getting dressed for the race. Oops. I figured it out when I got to the race site and there was a bit of a logistics nightmare. The off site parking lot was full and we got re-routed to another site, but no one told the bus driver. After waiting for 45 minutes for the 5 minute shuttle ride, I’d pretty much figured out it was cold. Really cold.

And I missed my start wave. As I walked up to registration to claim my race bib, I heard the next group of runners starting the course. Oops again.

Luckily, Anne and Tina missed their wave too.

{All mid & post race pictures courtesy of Tina, who’s both talented and brave enough to carry a camera mid-mud-run.}

anne and tina

Did I mention it was cold?

freezing cold at rugged maniac

Note: Add “check weather report” to morning-of-race-duties.

race entrance

Before long it was time for our wave to start.


rugged maniac start line

If you like races where you bolt off the starting line, the Rugged Maniac is not for you. We were instantly greeted by thick, sticky mud that sucked at your shoes and nearly held you in place.

muddy running shoes

{This was after maybe 6 minutes of running?}

It wasn’t long before it was time to get dirty. The first obstacles? Crawling through a mudpit {that reeked of manure} under barbed wire. Yes, barbed wire.

barbed wire mud pit

The course Rugged Maniac course continued on for 3.1 miles of mud, curves, and trees. Oh, and some skinny drain pipes you had to crawl through; tall, wet, slippery wooden walls; and lots of truck tires.

tire jungle

truck tire combine

Some cargo nets.

cargo nets

Up was easy…down was a little scary…

Then there were some walls to climb.

climbing walls on obstacle course

Hey that wall doesn’t look as big as it did online. I got this, no sweat.

muddy wall on obstacle course

Ok, that one’s big. Wanna give us a boost? {He gave us a boost and let us use his fists as a step. He also mentioned he wasn’t volunteering for this position next year. I wonder why? Winking smile}

adventure run



There was a little bit of running too.

trail running

And your typical jumping-over-fire-pits. Oh, that wasn’t in your last 5K?

jumping over fire pit at mugged maniac

And then the grand finale, the giant water mud slide.

climb to mudslide

mud slide

It looked pretty innocent until Anne and I watched Tina go down….and instantly submerge under muddy water.

Oh well, here goes nothing!

giant mud slide

Followed by a little swim…

water pit at mud run

And a steep climb up a muddy slope to the finish.


We were a little wet after our mud bath…

soaking wet after mud run

And that was surprisingly the cleanest we were the whole race.


The race was followed up by some log rolling and alleged hammer tossing.

log rolling contest

We missed our chance to log roll. Sad smile


Then it was time to clean up.

post run shower station


muddy clothes

And refuel.

post race beer


These pictures do nothing to imply how absolutely frigidly, freezing cold we were. Freeeeezing.



As for the knee, we’ll see. I’m cautiously whispering to the internet that it seems to feel ok right now. But I’m not making any grand statements until tomorrow…

The official Maniac pics are awesome, by the way.

All in all, I LOVED the Rugged Maniac. So when’s the next mud run? Sign me up!