Rebel Race 12.04.15 – Reliving the WEAKday


Rebel Race oilThe world of OCR is widely variegated with respect to the quality of events out there. While there are a few “majors” where we throw down some hard-earned coin and have a pretty good idea of what we’re getting ahead of time, other times we roll the dice and sign up for something because of a cool website, a coupon code, a convenient location etc. and hope for the best. Rebel Race was one such event for me. I looked at my calendar and saw a major event looming at the end of April, so I tried to fill in some smaller, more local events to prep for it.

First, let me give you a description of this event from their FAQ page:
What in the blue hell is Rebel Race?
“Rebel Race is a weekend get-away for athletes that want to run a military style 5k or 15k and then party like there’s no tomorrow! — it’s the most bad-ass, adrenaline rushing, hardcore run ever!
The Rebel Race Series is designed for extreme athletes feeling the urge to tackle intense obstacles. From start to finish, Rebel Race’s military style obstacles will have you dashing, barricade-climbing, mud-crawling, rope-swinging and fire-jumping. Ourgrueling course forces each rebel to test their physical toughness and mental endurance. Cross the finish line and bask in the glory with tons of beer, food, live entertainment, and thousands of new friends covered in mud. Earn the bragging rights!”

“The most bad-ass, adrenaline rushing, hardcore run ever!” Got that? Because the biggest adrenaline rush I got from this lame course was the anger I felt at being ripped off.

The race was held at Cousins Paintball Park in Manchester, NJ and the cost varied depending on when you signed up. They offered a 5k for $55-$75 or a 15k for $75-$105. The 15k option simply allowed you to run three laps of the same course. A week before the race we got an email informing us it would be $10 to park. Because this was so close to my house I refused to pay, so I parked a few miles from the site and biked in and out, figuring the extra 10 miles of biking would be good exercise. I felt good saving the money and I would recommend doing this again.

Rebel Race vegetable oil

The course was flat, being nestled in the Pine Barrens, and consisted of mostly single track trails. Single track means that there is no room for passing so the fast runners were held up by the slower runners. I don’t really care about my time, in fact when they handed me a timing chip at registration and told me there was a $25 non-return fee I handed it right back. So when I found myself approaching walkers or slower joggers I waited politely, and most of them were kind enough to step to the side so I could pass. When I had people behind me I did the same. Just plain courtesy, and as you know I just love the camaraderie and fellowship of being around other mud runners. If you are out on the course with me we are a team whether I know you or not, and it is this supportive environment of mutual respect that makes me love being around you al!
So what did we get for our $55-$105? Well, you got a t-shirt, a duffel bag, a little dog tag that they called a finisher’s medal and a beer. But what about the course, you say? Well, here is the list of obstacles from their website:

Rebel Race Obstacle List

The first two were just a fancy way of saying “Begin the race”, not really obstacles at all. Ditto for stop, drop and roll, run sideways, run backwards (I’m not making this up) and do 10 pushups, 10 situps and 10 leg lifts. All of these were indicated by yard signs stuck in the ground and marshaled by volunteers or some of the local National Guard soldiers who were working the event. I like the idea of running through the woods and stopping frequently to do calisthenics, in the Marine Corps this was called a Fartlek run. It is a great way to TRAIN for an obstacle race, but a slap in the face for anyone who paid almost a hundred bucks to “Escape The WEAKday” (their slogan), only to find that the “obstacles” could be done at home, for free, and without waiting in line. Weak, indeed.

Rebel Race vegetable oil slide into dry mudpit

And because of the single track there were plenty of lines. At each obstacle we waited. Waited to crawl under orange construction netting.

Rebel Race single track

Waited to run through a “mud pit” that consisted of a tarp and a few little puddles. Waited to go down a slide that was really just a tarp covered in vegetable oil (I saw the gallon jug of it waiting to be used for periodic relubrication.) Waited to go over the balance beam, described on their website as a “teeter todder over death” where I guess “death” meant the ground and “over” meant 6 inches over. Yes, it was that bad. Towards the end the field had spread out as the track widened and there was no waiting going over the 6 foot walls, traversing the cargo net or crawling under logs which appeared to have just been laying there anyway.

Rebel Race teter todder over death

Towards the end the race built to a finish with the following three obstacles. First, we sloshed through another “mud pit” (tarp with a little water in it) and had to crawl under more orange construction netting. One of the volunteers threw a bucket of water at us for good measure, reminded me of that old Nickelodeon show You Can’t Do That on Television.


Possibly the most exciting moment of the whole race
Possibly the most exciting moment of the whole race


Then we jumped over a little tiny fire. I could have given my five year old a magnifying glass and a few leaves and he could’ve made a bigger fire. By the way this is listed on the map as “Flaming Fury.” The last thing standing between us and the finish line was “The Great Wall of Rebel Race” which was a 12 foot tall wall with spacing between the boards for footholds and handholds. Really, this is the best obstacle? The grand finale?


The Raging Inferno and Great Wall
The Raging Inferno and Great Wall

The finish was right after the “great” wall, marked by those little tiny orange cones they use for shuttle runs in gym class and a banner strung between two trees that said “Finish.” I got my “medal”, a hunk of banana and a cup of water. The shower situation was atrocious, and the after party had no organization to it, though the band was decent. To say some positive things about this race I will say that this is the first race where I was offered my choice of free beer: Shock Top, Bud Light, or Land Shark. They were supposed to be giving out little souvenir boots to drink out of but they were out of them. A lot of the volunteers, both civilian and National Guard were great except for the handful of pineys smoking cigarettes at the obstacles. Pro-tip, nobody at an athletic event should have to choke on second-hand smoke, so if you want to burn one kindly step away from the course.

Rebel Race finish line

To provide full disclosure you should know that New Jersey was experiencing drought-like conditions when this event occurred, though that is no excuse for having no mud at a mud run. If you are a race organizer you rent a water tanker and pump water in as needed. A quick look at the course description has the word mud in every other obstacle and the pictures show people covered in, you guessed it….MUD. The sad reality is the lack of mud ranks BELOW the dangerous obstacles, the horrible bottlenecking, the lack of organization and planning, or the refusal of the race organizers to address any of these complaints despite repeated attempts to contact them. Several irate participants contacted the Better Business Bureau as well as the Attorney General’s Office, in this state as well other states where this travelling train wreck of a run has been. But don’t take my word for it, there is even a Facebook group devoted to warning people about this dud, found here:

Mystery Obstacle Perhaps?
Mystery Obstacle Perhaps?


Obstacle #5- The description reads "Make it across in one piece."  Indeed.
Obstacle #5- The description reads “Make it across in one piece.” Indeed.

A little research on my part revealed that other Rebel Race events have received similarly bad reviews, yet somehow Rebel Race is still in business, while a reputable event like Hero Rush just declared bankruptcy. Doesn’t seem right, does it? And for the same money they are charging you could run a Rugged Maniac, Superhero Scramble, or other comparable event and get triple the value based on what I experienced out there in the Pines that day. So to anyone who has run a Rebel Race, I’d like to know what your experience was like. Did I just have the bad luck of running a dud event, or is this the way they do business? Have they improved since that debacle in Jersey a year ago or are they still duping people with a website and a slick video? Comments are open, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ll leave you with the thoughts of veteran OCR fanatic Ken Jacobus who summarized this event accordingly:

Final Verdict: Avoid this one at all cost!
Final Verdict: Avoid this one at all cost!
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Dan Staples

Hi folks, I’m Dan and I represent the average weekend warrior type of mud runner. I don’t have six pack abs and I’m around a 10 minute miler but I love playing in the mud and I’ve found that obstacles, mud, beer and good old fashioned suffering tend to bring out the best in people. I did my first mud run in 2000 and had to wait a decade before the idea caught on with the rest of the country so I could enjoy the luxury we now have of having several great events to choose from on any given weekend. As the sport continues to grow it is vital that the word gets out on the good, the bad and the ugly because here in the infancy of obstacle racing there are plenty of all three out there. This site is a great resource for sorting it all out.


  1. Your account of this fiasco is completely accurate, though by the time my wave went through, many “obstacles” we’re either closed or broken. My daughter was fortunate enough to somehow get her money back, the rest of us not so lucky. I do not understand, with all the complaints to the PA attorney generals office, how this clown is still in business, thank you for posting this!

  2. Heard you were banned from the Rebel Race page, Dan. A smarter marketing move would have been to take it constructively and improve. Maybe apologize or offer a refund to you. Or out of good faith, they should have planned a future event more carefully and offered you a free registration to come and write an article on how much they’ve improved.

  3. I signed up for Rebel Race in PA in April for the May 18 run. Got an email in the beginning of May stating the event was cancelled, do you want to run any or all other Rebel Races this year for free or do you want your money back. I chose to have my money returned. For months I waited and watched comments posted and then deleted from their page questioning were the money was. I posted on their page and the Zombie Run page ( which is also run by the same group). Finally I got irritated waiting for my money. I had paid through paypal and they have a 45 day limit. They refunded me $40 good faith payment because of my trouble but would not do the whole amount. I researched Rebel Race and found their headquarters were less than 20 minutes from my house. Now I was really mad because this was a local company screwing people. I called TV stations, newspapers, even their office and got nothing. One newspaper wanted to do an article but it is our local one a month paper. I stalked their FB pages as soon as someone would post I would message them. We have a group of about 6 people some of whom got refunds and some who didn’t. I spent hours and hours researching this company and found many horrible things out. One blog had written quoting the owner as saying ” f them they should bring their own water” in regards to complaints about the lack of drinking water. I finally decided to write the Attorney General’s office. With in days I got my money refunded. My friend who wanted me to do the run with her still hasn’t. They just postponed last week’s race in MA. My guess is that race will never take place and they will have the same hard time getting their money back also. Different running websites that have Rebel Race listed, I contact them and tell them all about their bad business practices. Overall my impression is that due to the location of the business, the owners name, and their lack of professionalism I am guessing it is some foreign guy from NYC who likes to see hot girls in very little clothes and has money that he has to “lose”.

  4. Tiffany I agree 100%. Other races have gotten bad reviews and used them to improve their business. Rebel Race has been invited to respond here but has opted not to, leading me to believe that they don’t dispute what I am saying or what the people in the comments are saying. Here is a link to the New England Spahtens’ account of the MA race as well as other reader reviews.
    Friends don’t let friends run Rebel Race.


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