The event was held at the Portland International Raceway, just 10 minutes from downtown Portland, OR. With amazing scenery and a raceway that had me itching to come back to watch a car race, I was ready to compete in my 3rd obstacle race this year. The Rugged Maniac events are one of the more popular race organizers (behind only Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, and Warrior Dash).
The weather couldn't have been any better; sunny skies, 70 degree temps and no wind. By the looks of things at the start, I would guess there were about 2,000 participants all together. In the competitive category there were a total of 175 (broken into 2 separate heat waves). One of my clients/friends from Anytime Fitness - Bend, Dave Forbes, also came along to compete in his first obstacle race. He is a strong runner and I have been training him to prepare for this event. I think he has a slight addiction to these already.
My strategy was to start fast but still conserve some energy in the beginning. The first 3/4 miles were all running (through a grassy area and 2 muddy ditches filled with water). Dave and I were quickly in the lead and by the first obstacle - 2 big walls to climb - had a comfortable lead. More running for the next 3/4 miles on gravel road led us to a 30' water crossing (named their "surprise obstacle"). At first it was shallow, but by the last 5 feet it dropped significantly and I found myself completely submerged underwater. I knew something like this was coming, just didn't know when. I guess I got "surprised".
Dave and I in the lead heading to the "surprise obstacle"
Another racer had slowly started to catch up to us and after more running, jumping over 3 foot-wide ditches, and a couple dirt mounds to run up we were all together. Then we arrived at the balance beam crossing. There were 5 beams (each 4 feet apart from each other) that were 20 feet long above water. The beams were only about 6" wide. I started across the beam and began to lose my balance and a foot came off. However, I quickly regained my balance and continued forward not long before losing my balance again, and again saving myself from falling into the water. I finally made it across to the other side but now had to chase to catch up to the leader. Dave got a little stuck behind a woman on the balance beam but he too shortly caught back up.
Just finished a mud crawl under barbed wire and heading to more walls to climb
3rd to last obstacle, The Rings
The three of us stayed together most of the race changing leads periodically through different obstacles. I noticed that on the tall wall climbs that both Dave and I lost a little time to the other guy, but on the running and water obstacles that we both gained a little time. Dave started to fade back a little as we neared the finish. With only about 1/2 mile to go to the finish there were six 6-foot walls to go over, a ring crossing over water, a cargo net to climb and a 50' water slide to go down. I lost a little time through the 6' walls even though I felt like I was going fast through them.
In the end, I finished with a time of 29:43 and was 2nd in my heat wave. Dave finished in 3rd with a time of 30:14. Overall I finished 7th out of the 175 competitive racers and Dave finished 9th.