Rob Dickens Rugged Maniac Interview

Rob Dickens Rugged Maniac Interview

rob-dickens-300x300We had such a great day at The Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Race on July 13th I decided to looking into sponsoring a tent at next years event. This led me to speak with Rob Dickens the COO of Rugged Races.

I reached out to him and told him about our post on the race and that we were interested in sponsoring a tent. He saw the post and was thankful for it and we talked on the phone more about how it went.

I thought it was pretty awesome for this guy to listen to some feedback and just chat!

I decided to ask him if he would be up for an interview and he agreed. With the popularity of obstacle racing I figured it would be a fun interview. So here it goes…

What is your background? Have you always been into fitness and have you participated in other Obstacle races?

  • I’ve always been an active guy. I grew up surfing and playing in the woods in rural NC. I later got into rock climbing, skiing and other extreme sports, so obstacle racing was a natural progression for me. I haven’t actually participated in any of our competitors’ events, but I have been as a spectator to simply observe and learn from their mistakes and innovations.

Why was the Rugged Maniac created?

  • Rugged Maniac was created to push running beyond the street, beyond the trails, to evolve the sport into more of a total body challenge. Pretty much everyone agrees that running down the street is boring. Running on a treadmill is boring. Rugged Maniac puts people outdoors and forces them to confront obstacles that they never face in their everyday routines. Our runners get closer to experiencing the primal thrill of running wild through the great outdoors, conquering anything in their path. But beyond the physical challenge is a massive festival that celebrates that achievement with music, food and beer. Simply put, it’s the perfect mix of fun and physicality.

rocket-slide-300x193What Obstacle do people love/hate the most in the Rugged Maniac?

  • Everyone loves the Rocket Slide, our epic water slide. We were the first in the industry to build one and we took it to the extreme to make it tall, long and fast. People usually hate the Normandy Crawl, which begins with tubes going down into a long mud pit covered with barbed wire and then up through slick, muddy tubes out the other side.

When people say I can’t do one of those, what do you tell them? Also what kind of training do you recommend for this race?

  • Unlike some other races, we welcome people of all shapes, sizes, genders and ages at our events. That’s why you’ll see a wide variety of people running our courses. We encourage our less-than-active runners to simply get out there and do it, even if you have to walk the whole way and skip a few obstacles. The point is that you’re out there pushing yourself to do things that you’ve never done, thereby improving yourself along the way. As for training, we’re a strong believer in total-body workouts like Crossfit, Insanity, P90X and pretty much any boot camp-style class. You also get much better results when you work out in a group setting due to the support and motivation from your fellow trainers. We currently have a training program called the Rugged Regimen that’s designed for people who are already in great shape, but we’ll also be adding a novice-level training program in the coming weeks. Check out the training here…

How many Rugged Maniac events have you participated in?

  • I’ve probably participated in around 15 of our events. I do it for two reasons: (1) It’s fun and (2) I want to make sure the event meets our high standards of quality. After all, if a race organizer doesn’t run his own races, how can he know what needs to be improved?

What if there is not a Rugged Maniac event in somebodies area? How can they get in touch to request one?

  • We’re very happy with our growth and current size so we’re not looking to expand into new areas at this time. When we do expand, it will be to locations near relatively large metropolitan areas. As much as we’d like to hold an event in every town in the US, we need large population areas for our events to be successful.

What does the future hold for the Rugged Maniac? Do you think there will be longer events?

  • We don’t currently have any plans to put on longer-distance runs. Our 5k obstacle race is so successful, why mess with a good thing?

If somebody is on the fence about participating in one, what is the one thing you would tell them?

  • Just read the comments on our Facebook page and check out our photo albums. Everyone has a blast, regardless of their fitness level. Just grab a few friends, make some costumes and get ready for adventure!

About the Author


Jack of all trades... master of none! Father of 3 awesome boys, husband to 1 amazing wife! Obstacle racer, procrastinator, computer nerd, trying not to follow the herd!

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