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How rugged are you? Muddy, obstacle-filled race coming to Minnesota

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Over 4,000 adventure-seeking maniacs are expected to climb, slide, jump and crawl their way through a muddy, obstacle-filled 5K race this September.

Rugged Maniac, one of the oldest and largest obstacle course race companies in the country, will be holding its third Twin Cities race Sept. 6 at the Wild Mountain Ski Area in Taylors Falls, Minnesota. Registration is still open (information below).

Participants have to make their way through 25 obstacles, which include climbing shipping containers, sliding down a 60-foot slide, jumping over fire, bouncing on trampolines and making their way over a pool of water by grabbing hanging rings – think monkey bars, but harder (pictured below).

They'll also have to run up and down the ski hill, which makes the Twin Cities course one of the more physically difficult Rugged Maniac races, Rugged Maniac COO Rob Dickens told BringMeTheNews in a phone interview Wednesday.

Dickens says the number of Rugged Maniac's high quality obstacles sets it apart from other obstacle races, including smaller operations and the other big names in the industry (such as Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash and the Spartan race). He also says participation in Rugged Maniac is more diverse than others with 50 percent female participation, which is higher than other events.

Dickens says the race is meant to be challenging, and the most challenging obstacles depend on people's abilities. If a maniac fails to complete a challenge, or skips a challenge, they can move on to the next one and finish the race. However, if an obstacle is skipped, the runner will be disqualified from officially placing in the race.

Because the course involves running up the ski mountain, which makes it a more intense run and will likely add time to the race, Dickens predicts the winner will finish the race in a little over 30 minutes, saying the fastest male will likely finish around the 32-minute mark.

Coinciding with the race is a daylong festival filled with live music, dancing, adult bounce houses, a foam pit, a mechanical bull, vendors, food and beer. Gates to the event open at 8 a.m., with runs going off every 15 minutes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and as people wait to run or finish throughout the day, the party is going on, Dickens says.

The festival is free for runners and spectators to attend.

Here's a look at the event:

Shark Tank

Rugged Maniac is put on by the same people who brought the Bull Run to the Twin Cities earlier this year. The company is also backed by businessman and billionaire Mark Cuban after Dickens and CEO Brad Scudder were asked to appear on ABC's Shark Tank.

Cuban invested $1.75 million for a 25 percent stake in Rugged Maniac.

“I’m super excited to be part of the Rugged Events team,” said Cuban, according to a news release. “I'm anticipating the explosion of experiential entertainment and very few people execute this as well as Rob and Brad. I have every intention of helping them grow into a force in the industry.”

Dickens says Cuban is a great adviser and mentor who they communicate with weekly, if not daily, and he's also been an asset to them as Rugged Maniac gets set to begin its expansion into Canada next year.

Registration and race information

Participation in the race requires a $90 entry fee at the event (or $79 plus tax until Sept. 1), which includes a T-shirt and one Harpoon Brewery beer. Harpoon Brewery is a Boston-based beer company that doesn't distribute in Minnesota, but is sponsoring the event.

Students and military get $10 off the registration fee and spectators are free.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 6 at Wild Mountain Ski Area in Taylors Falls, Minnesota.

Rugged Maniac has a free training schedule to help participants prepare for the race, suggesting you focus on a total-body workout regimen with an emphasis on long-distance running.

A course map won't be available until the Tuesday of the race as part of the race information packet.

Here's a first-person look at the 2012 Rugged Maniac race in the Twin Cities:

Run Mud Fun, an online forum involving obstacle races like Rugged Maniac, has several community written reviews for the maniac races from around the country. Most users rated it four or five stars.

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