Rugged Maniac Makes Fire, Mud, Exhaustion and Claustrophobia "Fun"

Rugged Maniac
Rugged Maniac isn't your average obstacle race.
Calling all weekend warriors and “rugged maniacs”: It’s time to get down and dirty. For the sixth time in the event’s seven-year history, the Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Course is returning to the Denver metro area. More than 25 obstacles will be set up along a brand-new course in Lakewood this Saturday, August 12. Unlike similar obstacle-course races, however, the Rugged Maniac is designed so that everybody — runners and spectators — have a comfortable and participatory experience.

“The biggest difference [with] the Rugged Maniac is that we’re more of a fun run,” says Rugged Maniac race director Tim Torigian. “We believe there’s a fine line between having a challenging experience and something that becomes too extreme.”

Torigian adds that while on the Rugged Maniac course, participants won’t need to fear any sort of electrocution, tear gas chambers or anything else that might put them in “physical danger,” like some of the other endurance runs out there. “When we designed our course, we wanted it to be attainable for everyone, not just the elite athlete.”

Return Maniacs will find themselves climbing in, out and under familiar muddy obstacles, but they’ll also see a new course with a customized layout. “There’s a lot of new things that we’re excited to bring to Denver,” Torigian says, adding that the event is now sporting the largest inflatable slide it's ever created, and it's debuting fan favorite “The Crag” in Denver for the first time.

click to enlarge It's just a fire jump. - RUGGED MANIAC
It's just a fire jump.
Rugged Maniac
While the Rugged Maniac can, for the most part, be completed solo, Torigian says it’s a “fun run” because people often choose to run with a partner or a team and a “help-your-fellow-maniac” mentality. Getting over the “Pyromaniac” wall of fire and the underground dirt tunnels of the “Claustrophobia” obstacles can certainly be done alone, but conquering the “Warped Wall” requires a running start and some new friends pulling you over the top.

This fun run isn’t just for those actually making the trek through 3.1 miles of mud, rings and slides, though. There’s a schedule full of events for spectators to participate in free of charge, as well. “We encourage anyone and everyone to come out and enjoy contests, food trucks and music that we’ll have going on from eight in the morning until five,” says Torigian.

Among the activities are a pie-eating contest, two stein-hoisting contests (with beer provided by Sierra Nevada) and giveaways from both local and national partners taking place throughout the day. Spectators are welcome to watch the waves of races — which take place every thirty minutes — from the festival area, free of charge.

click to enlarge This "fun run" is for the racers and the spectators. - RUGGED MANIAC
This "fun run" is for the racers and the spectators.
Rugged Maniac
All runners who haven't signed up yet can expect to pay a $100 day-of registration fee since online registration is closed; that includes a T-shirt, race medal, bib, photos and one free beer. Bag check is free for both participants and spectators, though parking is $10 and cash only.

The Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Course takes place this Saturday, August 12, at Thunder Valley Motocross in Lakewood, 701 South Rooney Road. The check-in tent opens at 9 a.m., and the “Elite Heat” of runners — the only timed race of the day — kicks off at 9 a.m. for anyone competing for the top three men, women and over-50 categories. Waves of 300 runners will be released onto the course every thirty minutes until 2:30 p.m. the rest of the day. Visit for a full race-day schedule and other information.