Featured Obstacle Course Race (OCR): Rugged Maniac

Rob Dickens and Brad Scudder, held the first-ever Rugged Maniac event in 2010. The 5k course features at least 25 obstacles, including a fan-favorite 50-foot water slide.

Over the years, this leading developer has continued to grow, building upon the success of each prior year. In 2014, Rugged Maniac secured a $1.75 million investment from billionaire and Dallas Mavericks’ owner, Mark Cuban. In 2015, Rugged Maniac held 25 events, which attracted roughly 130,000 participants total. Participation is expected to increase in 2016 along with the number of events.

My personal thanks to Rob Dickens, COO of Rugged Maniac, for the following interview!

Rob Dickens, Rugged Maniac COO

Rob Dickens, Rugged Maniac COO

ORW: Who started Rugged Maniac?

Dickens: Rugged Maniac was founded by Brad Scudder and Rob Dickens, two former attorneys who gave up the practice of law to pursue a more adventurous career in extreme events.

ORW: Based on your event listings, Rugged Maniac has expanded to Canada. How many events did Rugged Maniac hold in Canada in 2015? How many are planned in Canada for 2016?

Dickens: We held three in Canada in 2015 (Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary) and we’ll return to those same cities in 2016. We’ll likely add another Canadian event in 2017.

ORW: Are there any other countries your team is considering expanding to?

Dickens: We don’t have any further international expansion plans at this time.

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ORW: It’s clear that obstacle sports have grown rapidly, developing an almost cult-like following among the most avid participants. Have you noticed any distinctions in the interest and enthusiasm participants in Canada have in comparison to participants in the U.S.?

Dickens: Obstacle racing is relatively new to Canada so the environment is similar to what it was like in the US back in 2013. There’s a lot of enthusiasm and excitement surrounding the sport with hundreds of thousands of people eager to try it out. Unfortunately, this has led to an explosion of small local OCR companies producing low-quality events that fail to impress participants. Our goal here at Rugged Maniac is to set the standard for what an obstacle race should be with no less than 25 large and challenging obstacles and a fun and entertaining festival that lasts all day.

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ORW: What company achievements and milestones Rugged Maniac achieved in 2015 that you are most proud of?

Dickens: We’ve had phenomenal growth since our inception in 2010 and 2015 was no different. We grew 32% from 2014 and we’re on pace to beat that number in 2016. We’re also proud of the fact that we produced our first events internationally in Canada with fantastic reviews for each one!

ORW: Any predictions for obstacle racing in 2016?

Dickens: We expect the industry to continue growing with the major players like Rugged Maniac gaining more market share while the smaller low-quality events quietly shut down.

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ORW: Is there anything else about Rugged Maniac you would like to share?

Dickens: We have the highest female participation of any co-ed obstacle race at 52%. This isn’t because our obstacles are easy; after all, women love a challenge just as much as men. It’s due to the fact that, unlike other OCR companies, we don’t alienate women by branding ourselves as an event that only the manliest of men should even consider trying. We welcome participants of all genders, all fitness levels, all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t matter if you’re the strongest or the fastest. We just want to get people off their couches and having fun outdoors!

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