A Word From Our Rugged Ambassadors

We’ve asked our Maniac Mud Squad what makes this race so muddy great – and their responses are just as epic as the 25+ obstacles that we deliver. Take some advice from some of the biggest fans of the course. Whether you’re a seasoned maniac or a beginner, this one’s for you.


What prepared you the most for your first Rugged Maniac?  

“One of the best parts of Rugged Maniac is that you don’t need much to prepare! It’s accessible to everyone from a professional athlete to someone trying something exciting for the first time.”

  – Alyssa Hartranft 


“Running. People who do obstacle course races come from all walks of life. People looking for fun runs, gym rats, cross fitters, distance runners, etc. When I did my first rugged maniac, I was a washed-up athlete who just finished college. I hadn’t worked out in a while and never ran in a race before, just as part of a sport. Once I got addicted and started to train, I noticed how much easier the next race was after running a few miles a couple of weeks before race day.” 

  – Brandon Gilliam


What is the best advice you can share with beginner Rugged Maniacs?  

“Have fun!  Make your training fun, use your strengths, build on your weaknesses. Above all, celebrate your ability to use your body like a kid on the playground.”

– Kenny DeCoursey 

“Go with a group of friends if you can, play on the course, take pictures, be silly and enjoy the whole experience.”

– Heather Voorhis 


In your opinion, what is the HARDEST part about running the Rugged Maniac event? 

“My advice would be to at least try every obstacle and to remember to have fun. Not getting in your own head. Some get nervous the night before race day. Did I prepare enough? Will I embarrass myself? Will that lingering injury reappear? Don’t stress about it. Again, your main goal is to have fun. Finishing is an accomplishment. You are already ahead of everyone who never even signed up. Getting your finisher medal around your neck and walking right into that post race celebration will remind you that you’ve accomplished something. Once you’ve done one, then start setting bigger and better goals for the next one.”

 – Brandon Gilliam  

In your opinion, what is the BEST part about participating in the Rugged Maniac event? 

“Meeting people and getting to run with a great community!” – Ric Heiges 

“I love the mud and the challenge of the obstacles.” – Terrence Young 


How has being a part of Rugged Maniac impacted your view on fitness and races? 

“I myself have always been a big proponent of fitness, it’s something that’s a part of my life every day. Rugged Maniac gives me specific events to train for, while also putting a smile on my face not just during the run, but afterwards!” 

– Ric Heiges  


“I love it. In the aspect of races, it is my 4th one – and I’m excited about it. With fitness, I’m doing my best yearly. I fall off the wagon – but I train for the race and eat healthier to lose couple of pounds to be in better shape for it.”

– Yolanda G.  


What is your most memorable moment in a Rugged Maniac event?  

“I broke my foot in 2018 running too fast to keep up with the winners. I finished 4 laps total, not knowing about my injury, and had a blast all day. It wasn’t until the next day I realized I was in trouble!”

– Alyssa Hartranft 

“I have a fear of heights. My most memorable moment was going down the Accelerator for the first time. I just sat there, gathering myself, heart beating out of my chest from either the climb up or nerves (my money is on the nerves). 

I could see the whole festival area. I just let gravity take over and after what seemed like 42.5 years, there I was. Medal truly earned!!!”

– Thomas Cook 


How do you stay motivated?  

“I don’t, it’s more about consistency. Motivation sometimes isn’t there, it is consistency, consistency is the key. I have to push myself sometimes to go for my runs.”

– Yolanda G. 

I am part of an obstacle course racing team that meets up and races together. We keep each other challenged and motivated throughout the year.

– Kenny DeCoursey  



Our ambassadors certainly know how to test their limits and have a crazy good time doing it. Everyone on the Rugged Maniac team knows that, no matter how you show up, it will be one epic time! Can you taste the mud yet? Sign up for a Rugged Maniac event today! 

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