You might well ask yourself why anyone would pay good money to be abused, muddied, potentially bloodied, thrown in cold water, exposed to a gauntlet of flame and squished between dirt and barbed wire.
Yet that’s precisely what hundreds of people willingly did on Saturday during the second annual running of the Vancouver Rugged Maniac Obstacle Race at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds.
There was mud, there was some blood, and there most definitely was pain – if not from sheer exertion, then from the minor injuries that are bound to occur in such an environment.
Yet in just about every case, the smiles inevitably outnumbered the grimaces. Seems there’s a certain fearlessness to the folks who enter such an event – no matter what their fitness level appears to be.
That’s the thing about Rugged Maniac – as far as obstacle course events go, it’s entry level. It isn’t particularly long at just 5K, and it’s chock full of volunteers ready to assist competitors through the tougher spots. And it’s set up so that failure at a particular obstacle won’t end someone’s day.
Essentially, its bark is worse than its bite.
The gang from Guildford’s Impulse Chiropractic and Massage Therapy were upbeat Saturday morning as they moved from “Tipping Point” (a sadistic teeter totter) to Pack Mule (an obstacle involving sandbags and stairs). All dressed as Superman, they called the day a “team building exercise” and said they’d encountered “a few scrapes” along the way.
Would they do it again?
“Maybe,” they laughed.
Later, another group flashed by, wearing nondescript black shirts. They called themselves “God Help Us,” a name they created to illustrate their rookie status. Mostly family and friends from “Surrey and Abbotsford,” they hooted and hollered like, well, rugged maniacs as they trundled off to the next challenge.
Local race director Dave Cannon said last year’s event drew 3,500 participants. This year, there were 4,500 registered.
With entry fees ranging from $39 (early-bird) all the way to a cool $100 (day of), the stakes are big, as are the organizational duties. Cannon says the course takes eight days to set up, and that he has 20 people on staff and an additional 150 volunteers. This year, the Canucks for Kids Fund got a dollar from every entry fee.