For Karen Renkel Engbert, Rugged Maniac wasn’t a final destination, but a giant muddy step into a lifestyle she consistently strived for. One year prior to the 2022 San Francisco event, she had weighed over 300 pounds, and knew she wanted to reach her healthiest potential, both mentally and physically. After choosing tools that helped change her mindset, she spent the year losing 110 pounds and crushing the Rugged Maniac course. And now, Karen knows, this is only the beginning.

How did your Rugged Maniac experience start?  

“I had actually done a few Rugged Maniacs in the past, but I wasn’t always in my healthiest mindset, or healthiest body. I would walk often, do a quick diet, and try to get my mindset ready for it. But, when race day came, I felt like I didn’t do enough. It never felt like my time. Inside, I was still struggling.”

What was your turning point when you knew you wanted to change?

“My turning point for the whole journey itself was when I was going for a walk around the block. It was just a simple walk – and my whole body hurt. My legs and my ankles were just in pain. And I was done. I thought “I can’t keep living like this.” That was actually the turning point I needed to motivate me for an active life. One where I could enjoy the little things, and not have to worry about my body giving out on me.”

Eventually, Karen decided that weight loss surgery would be a part of her journey. She knew the surgery was not for everyone, but she had been struggling with her weight her whole life. So, she used it as a personal tool, to not only help her lose weight, but as a catalyst to motivate her to continue to be active. She said, “It was a mindset shift, with this new tool I suddenly was able to be more active and start training harder. It was like, suddenly, the pieces were falling together. It finally just clicked.”

After working so hard for a whole year, how did you feel during the 2022 Rugged Maniac?

“I could cry because it was so fun. I didn’t have to hold my husband back. He didn’t have to wait for me. I kept up with him. I felt like I could do another one. I felt like I made it.”

If you could offer advice to anyone working toward their goals, what would it be?

“It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Every little bit counts, every day. Just know that it will not be perfect. If every day were supposed to be perfect, I would mess up – so what’s the point? Whatever you try that day – COUNTS. I feel like if I could do it – you can do it. Stay consistent.”

Karen is the perfect example of success, and the perfect spokeswoman for how success is created. It wasn’t done as a steady uphill climb to perfection. But, an ebb and flow of emotions with a strong foundation of motivation for a healthier mindset. Putting full faith in the process, she propelled forward and not only finished an epic Rugged Maniac but created a future of more goals – and more accomplishments.  We couldn’t be more proud to be a part of her journey!