Rugged Maniac

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Rugged Maniac
Rugged Maniac Logo
Location30 Locations United States / Canada
Event typeObstacle Racing, Mud Run
Distance5K (3.1 miles)
Primary sponsorMen's Health
Women's Health (magazine)
Harpoon Brewery
American Cancer Society
BeneficiaryAmerican Cancer Society
EstablishedSeptember 2010
Course recordsRugged Maniac Results
Participants150,000 in 2015

Rugged Maniac is an annual obstacle course race, otherwise known as a mud run, hosted in multiple cities across the United States and Canada. Participants run a 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) course with obstacles ranging from muddy water slides, crawling through tunnels, jumping over logs set on fire, and scaling large, curved walls.[1] Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban is an investment partner with Rugged Maniac, after their appearance on season 5 of the hit ABC reality show Shark Tank.[2]


Rugged Maniac, Warped Wall Obstacle, 2014

Rugged Maniac was first established in June 2010 by founder and CEO, Brad Scudder, a former attorney. Rob Dickens, the co-founder and COO, was previously a corporate lawyer on Wall Street at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.[3][4]

2010: Inaugural Rugged Maniac event in New England[edit]

In October 2010, the very first Rugged Maniac event was held in Southwick, Massachusetts, where they hosted over 2,000 race participants.[5] Scudder used his savings from the past two years as a lawyer to fund the event, which featured race waves of 330 people every half hour and a festival with music, food and beer for the racers.[6]

The event has since expanded to 30 event days in the United States and Canada. The largest event, held in the inaugural New England location Southwick, MA, boasted approximately 12,000 total race participants in the fall of 2015. [7]

2013: Shark Tank appearance and investment from Mark Cuban[edit]

Rugged Maniac (under company name Rugged Races LLC) experienced steady growth and in 2013, caught the attention of Shark Tank, a reality television series in which entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to a panel of investors. In September 2013, the producers of Shark Tank contacted Scudder and Dickens to compete in the show. The initial investment they asked for from the Sharks was $1 million for 10% of the company. Eventually they reached a deal with Mark Cuban and settled on a $1.75 million investment for 25% of the business.[8]

On January 16, 2016, Rugged Maniac, appeared again on Shark Tank in an update video.[9] Since first appearing on the show, the Rugged Maniac event has expanded to Canada, increased in sales from $4.2 million to $10.5 million before and after Shark Tank, expanded to 28 cities, and created a second race called "The Costume Dash 5K", which debuted in Boston in October 2015.[10][11]

Rugged Races LLC has been consistently listed as one of the most successful Shark Tank investment deals in terms of growth and profit margin since airing on the show.[12][13]

2016: partnerships with Men's Health, American Cancer Society, NASCAR[edit]

In May 2016, American Cancer Society announced an official charity partnership with Rugged Maniac. As an extension of traditional walk or run for cancer events, American Cancer Society and Rugged Maniac have created a fundraising platform in which participants can raise funds exclusively for the society.[14][15]

In June 2016, Rodale, Inc., the publisher of Men's Health and Women's Health (magazine) announced its partnership with Rugged Races LLC. Specifically, Men's Health magazine would be working to bring in advertising partners for Rugged Maniac, in the form of branded obstacles, such as the 12-foot-tall warped wall.[16] Men's Health had a previous partnership with Urbanathlon, but cited their motivation to work with a "bigger and better" brand in running events for their new partnership with Rugged Maniac.[17]

In July 2016, Rugged Maniac was the title sponsor for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY series at Daytona International Speedway. David Ragan was the driver of the #18 Rugged Maniac Toyota Camry, in place of Matt Tifft, who had been scheduled for brain surgery.[18][19]

2016: hurricane hits North Carolina event[edit]

In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew threatened to close down a Rugged Maniac event in North Carolina. Originally scheduled for October 8, 2016, race directors decided to move the event date from Saturday to Sunday instead of canceling the event.[20][21] In an official statement from the company to participants, they stated "This is Rugged Maniac, not a tea party at the retirement home." [22]

Race event locations[edit]

Rugged Races is hosting 30 races in the United States and Canada in 2017.[23]

Event 2017 event dates Current venue Men's defending champion Women's defending champion
United States South Carolina March 18 Boone Hall Plantation, Mt Pleasant, SC Matt Jones Michelle Marsar
United States Phoenix, AZ April 15 / November 4 Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Chandler, AZ David Robert Kashara King
United States Florida April 22 Little Everglades Ranch, Dade City, FL Seth Rinderknecht Jamie Styles
United States Oklahoma City April 29 Wake Zone Cable Park, OKC Brian Pinta Kaitlyn Bykowick
United States Virginia May 6 / Sept 23 Virginia Motorsports Park, Petersburg, VA Piotr Dybas Heather Ferguson
United States Los Angeles May 13 Castaic Lake Recreation Area, Castaic, CA Veejay Jones Sasha Souder
United States North Carolina May 20 / Oct 7 Rockingham Dragway, Rockingham, NC Tony Fleckenstein Brandy Martin
United States Northern California May 27 / Oct 14 Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, CA Jeff Huxhold Emma Overell
Canada Kitchener, ON June 3 Chicopee Ski Resort, Kitchener, Ontario Tyler Krishenske Bethany McChesney
United States Seattle June 10 Remlinger Farms, Carnation, WA Aaron Barquist Ricki Creger
United States Portland, OR June 17 Portland International Raceway, Portland, OR Josh Fry Tasha Overmiller
United States New York City June 24 Aviator Sports Complex, Brooklyn, NY Ben Whitbeck Elysia Cronheim
United States New Jersey July 8 & 9 Raceway Park, Englishtown, NJ Billy Allen / John Hirsch Jane Seo / Christine Mandela
United States Kansas City, MO September 9 Snow Creek Ski Area, Weston, MO Jim Kirtley Sonya Eudy
Canada Calgary, AB July 29 WinSport at Canada Olympic Park, Calgary, Alberta Kody O'Brien Nancy Loranger
United States Denver, CO August 12 Thunder Valley Motocross Park, Morrison, CO Tyler Veerman Leslie St. Louis
Canada Vancouver, BC July 15 Cloverdale Fairgrounds, Surrey, British Columbia Matt Petranic Chelsea Macklen
United States Pennsylvania August 5 Maple Grove Raceway, Mohnton, PA Justin Pavlick Dixie Bonner
United States Atlanta, GA August 19 Georgia Int’l Horse Park, Conyers, GA Yuri Force Cassandra Aslani
United States Chicago/Milwaukee August 26 Wilmot Mountain Ski Resort, WI Matt Hoover Margaret Cavenagh
United States Southern Indiana September 2 Paoli Peaks, IN Taylor Clark Jill Vance
United States Twin Cities, MN September 16 Wild Mountain Ski Area, Taylor Falls, MN Mike Ferguson Lacey Bourgois
United States Long Island, NY July 22 Long Island Sports Park, NY Billy Allen Samantha Gesuele
United States New England Sept 30 & Oct 1 Motocross 338, Southwick, MA Bronson Venable / John Hirsch Angela Peterson / Nicole Aleles
United States Austin, TX October 28 Reveille Peak Ranch, Austin, TX Aaron Brabson Camille McCue
United States Southern California November 11 Temecula Downs Events Ctr, CA Glenn Racz Faye Morgan / Michelle Starkey

Race details[edit]

Qualifying and placement[edit]

Rugged Maniac is open to participants aged 12 or older.

There are no qualifying standards to be met in order to be considered for placement. To be considered for the winning podium, runners must race in the "Elite Heat" wave of runners with timing chips.[24] As of January 2017, the timing chip system has been removed and replaced with a manual record of the top 10 finishers in each category. [25]

Skipping an obstacle results in the disqualification from placing in the top official results of Rugged Maniac.[26]


The Ringer
The Ringer
The Accelerator
The Accelerator
The Gauntlet
The Gauntlet
The Pyromaniac
The Pyromaniac
The Trenches
The Trenches
The Head Scratcher
The Head Scratcher
The Ninja Escape
The Ninja Escape

Rugged Manic has 25 obstacles over a 5 km (3.1-mile) course. While the type of obstacles may vary from location to location, each course has 25 obstacles. This includes:

  • Antigravity - Two rows of trampolines which bounce the participant up a padded cargo climbing wall.
  • Frog Hop - Floating wooden/plastic platforms, "lilypads", held together by rope and spanning a muddy river.
  • The Ringer - Rows of pull-up rings suspended over a large water pit.
  • Accelerator - A steep, 50-foot water slide into a deep pool of water.
  • The Gauntlet 2.0 - Massive swinging bags suspended over narrow paths made of foam pads. These paths slowly sink into the pool of water.
  • The Warped Wall - A tall wall (2.6 meters tall) curving backwards at the top.
  • Leap of Faith - A 4-foot deep pool of muddy water in which participants jump into and cross.
  • Pyromaniac - Rows of burning logs. Participants must jump over these logs.
  • Waterworks - Large floating pipes in waist-deep water in which participants must go under and over them.
  • Balance or Bust - Thin wooden walkways over water.
  • Tipping Point - A see-saw obstacle.
  • Let's Cargo - Cargo nets leading up a steep incline.
  • Pipe Dream - Large drainage pipes to crawl through, usually placed through mud tunnels.
  • Commando Crawl - A crawl through muddy waters under barbed wire. Usually found near "Pipe Dream".
  • Claustrophobia - Dark, narrow tunnels cut through the earth.
  • Speed Trap - Muddy water with randomly placed, steep drop-offs.
  • Napoleon Complex - 8-foot-tall wooden scaling walls.
  • The Trenches - Wide mud trenches dug in the ground, participants must leap over them.
  • Quad Burners - Tall dirt hills.
  • Jacob's Ladder - 12-foot-tall wooden ladder pyramids.
  • Head Scratcher - A low belly-crawl under barbed wire through a muddy, watery field.
  • Ninja Escape - Triangular wooden platforms placed in a zig-zag formation above a muddy field.
  • Beam Me Up - A slanted 14-foot ladder wall.
  • Pack Mule - Participants may select a 25- or 50-pound sandbag to carry over a short distance.
  • Shoe Catcher - Thick pool of mud that runners must run through.
  • Barricades - Short, 4-foot walls that are designed for participants to vault over.
  • Bang the Gong - Small trampolines placed in front of metal gongs suspended over a body of water. Participants must jump and hit the gong before falling into the water.
  • The Gauntlet (Discontinued) - Massive swinging bags over a narrow wooden path suspended over a body of water.



Prize Giveaway, Phoenix Rugged Maniac Festival, 2015

Rugged Maniac hosts an all-day festival during the event, which features live music, food, beer, and exhibits by their sponsor companies. Runners can participate all day and visit booths for free food and products from sponsors.

There is an awards ceremony following each race, which features a medal presentation to people in the following categories:

  • Top 3 male finishers
  • Top 3 female finishers
  • Top male aged 20 and below
  • Top female aged 20 and below
  • Top male aged 50 and above
  • Top female aged 50 and above[28]

Activities such as full-sized bounce houses and mechanical bull riding are also available for all participants.[29]

Progression of Rugged Maniac finisher medals. (from left to right: 2017 to 2014)
Progression of Rugged Maniac finisher medals. (from left to right: 2017 to 2014)

Sponsors and charity[edit]

Operation Enduring Warriors, Rugged Maniac Virginia 2015

Rugged Maniac has sponsor partnerships with some notable names: Harpoon Brewery,[30] the presenting sponsor, which will be hosting 12 races in 2016, the United Service Organizations,[31] and the Air Force Reserve.

In 2016, Rugged Maniac announced a partnership with the American Cancer Society, which includes a fundraising platform for the ACS on Crowdrise. Rugged Maniac participants who donate the most significant amounts of money are eligible for rewards and prizes.[32]

Operation Enduring Warriors, an organization that supports disabled veterans, participated in Rugged Maniac Virginia 2015.[33] They are a team of veterans or active-duty military personnel who wear masks to restrict their airflow by approximately 25%, to symbolize the hardship that wounded or disabled veterans have to endure. They participate in obstacle course races, running races from 5K's to marathons, and cycling events alongside wounded veterans, to assist them over obstacles.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nearly 5,000 'rugged maniacs' tackle obstacle course". Kenosha News. August 29, 2015.
  2. ^ Fischer, Ben (June 29, 2015). "Plugged In: Rob Dickens, Rugged Maniac". Sports Business Daily.
  3. ^ Barbuti, Angela (April 25, 2014). "Brad Scudder, CEO of Rugged Races: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know".
  4. ^ "Off the Beaten Path: Brad Scudder and Rob Dickens, Bull Running Entrepreneurs". djMission. December 2, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  5. ^ "Rugged Maniac 5k Southwick MA October 2, 2010 Results". Cool Running. October 2, 2010.
  6. ^ ""Rugged Maniac" race at Southwick Motocross track features extreme barriers". MassLive. September 28, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  7. ^ Gore, Frederick (September 27, 2015). "Day 2 of the 2015 New England Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Race". MassLive.
  8. ^ Ainsworth, Chip (April 28, 2014). "Extreme Business". The Recorder.
  9. ^ Huffman, Rex (January 15, 2016). "'MasterChef: Junior Edition,' 'Shark Tank' on tap tonight".
  10. ^ Burnett, Mark (January 15, 2016). "Shark Tank". television. Season 7. ABC.
  11. ^ Weaver, Alex (October 26, 2015). "1,500 Costumed Crazies Will Run the Streets of Boston This Halloween".
  12. ^ Adams, Susan (March 18, 2016). "Ten Of The Best Businesses To Come Out Of Shark Tank". Forbes.
  13. ^ Nykiel, Teddy (January 9, 2015). "'Shark Tank's' Biggest Deals and How They Panned Out". NerdWallet.
  14. ^ "American Cancer Society Joins Forces with Rugged Maniac in Fight to End Cancer". May 23, 2016.
  15. ^ "Rugged Maniac: Get Down and Dirty for a Good Cause". May 12, 2016.
  16. ^ Steigrad, Alexandra (June 30, 2016). "Men's Health Looks to Obstacle Courses and Races for Growth". WWD.
  17. ^ Gardiner, Ronan. "A Message from Men's Health VP/Publisher/Managing Director". Men's Health. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  18. ^ Menzer, Joe. "XFINITY Series driver Matt Tifft to undergo brain surgery". FoxSports. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  19. ^ Menzer, Joe. "RECAP - Friday's #NASCAR Action via Photos". NascarRaceMom. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  20. ^ "Rugged Maniac at the Rockingham Dragway moved to Sunday due to hurricane". Richmond County Daily Journal. October 6, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  21. ^ "Hurricane Matthew affects Richmond County events". Your Daily Journal. October 6, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  22. ^ "'Rugged' storm could cancel Maniac". Your Daily Journal. October 4, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  23. ^ "Locations". Rugged Maniac. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  24. ^ "Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Race". Runner's World. September 14, 2013.
  25. ^ "Rugged Maniac's Changes Its Timing Protocol". Obstacle Racing Media. January 10, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  26. ^ "FAQ". Rugged Maniac. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  27. ^ "Obstacles". Rugged Maniac. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  28. ^ "Obstacle Race FAQ". Rugged Maniac. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  29. ^ LeBlanc, Pam (August 26, 2015). "Giant water slides, tunnels, trampolines and more at Rugged Maniac obstacle race Sept. 5". Austin360.
  30. ^ Orth, Carolyn (January 31, 2015). "Get Rugged this Year with Harpoon and Rugged Maniac!". Harpoon Brewery.
  31. ^ Lee, Andrew (May 15, 2013). "Are You A Rugged Maniac? Series of Obstacle Races Support Team USO". USO.
  32. ^ Lyons, Jacob (April 5, 2016). "GET RUGGED & SAVE LIVES FROM CANCER". Rugged Maniac. Rugged Maniac. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  33. ^ "Donation Page of Team Member - Brian Ugalde". Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  34. ^ "The Masked Athlete Team". Retrieved January 28, 2016.

External links[edit]