It’s gonna be a long one!
The Warrior Dash is a race held in 10 different locations around the United States. Each one if relatively the same with a few obstacles being different for each event. No two Warrior Dash races are ever exactly the same. To find out if there is one near you, or to read more about it in general, go here.
The Warrior Dash I participated in was the Mid-Atlantic event. The race was held in the town of Quarryville which is right outside of Lancaster. Once we got to the race site we parked, packed a check bag and made our way to the bus shuttles. As we walked into packet pick-up the first heats of the day were on their way back and they were covered in mud! Once we had our whole group together and ready (many of them dressed up- the race was full of people in costumes) we headed down to the site. There were people everywhere! We took lots of photos and then before we knew it, it was time to get in line for our heat. We got a spot fairly close the front and it was packed! And then it was go-time!
The first part of the race was pure running; the run was on straight dry dirt which was really annoying because it was all in my eyes and throat. After what seemed like way too long, we finally got to the first obstacle.
First up was the Tunnel Of Terror. I won’t lie, I wasn’t scared. The tunnels were about 20 feet long and it required a hands/knees crawl. Unless you are me and then you can basically walk through 🙂 I was so small that I could have zipped right through, but of course people in front of me were not so zippy and held me up. Once we went through that, it was on to Tanker Trouble. This was one of the more difficult tasks for me and a place where I could see injuries happening. Basically you had to climb over a series of old junk trucks with only the help of a flimsy rope. Once over the truck you had to jump down onto uneven ground and then run to the next truck. I am fairly certain the majority of my bruises came from this obstacle!
Once we were off the trucks it was more running…mostly in an open field and I imagine to help spread out the crowd which was a good idea and much-needed. Next up was Hay Fever; basically this was a series of ladder stacked straw bales that we had to run up on one side and back down the other. I felt that of all the obstacles, this was the most lame and unnecessary. Following the hay, we hit the Cargo Climb. This was a large cargo net that we had to scale up, run over and then scale down the other side. I got up without any problems and quickly ran to the other side. Then my fear of heights sank in a little and it took me a few deep breaths to get back down the other side. Once down, it was more running…but at this point all the running was on trails. I was having a blast jumping over logs and running around sticks and small trees.
Halfway through the trail running we came up on the Plank Walk. This was a huge disappointment- each plank was about 6inches wide and only about a foot off the ground. As I went across, I thought “why bother” and felt myself getting a little frustrated that I was still so clean! I figured at least I was enjoying the trails and running with my friend Brian. (side note: once we had started we all kind of seperated, but Brian and I did the whole thing together- it was definitely more fun having him with me as opposed to being alone.)
As the trails opened up a bit we came up on Black Out- basically a lot like the tunnels, but more trench like and harder on the knees. Luckily, again because of my height I was able to almost walk through. Almost as soon as we were out of the trenches we were back on the trails and headed into the Mossy Maze. This was a series of ropes to climb over and under along with a lot of larger logs to jump over as we ran through the trails. It was one of the more technical aspects of the race and I loved it.
And then it got muddy!!!
As we rounded out of the Mossy Maze we saw the water ahead. My excitement level rose about 10 levels as we approached the Breathless Bog which could only be described as a swamp. It was dark, murky and smelled of cow poop…and I jumped right in. It was FREEZING and I had no desire to know what I was swimming in, but this is what it was all about for me. I could not wait to get wet, muddy and dirty! Wooo-hooo! The water was fairly shallow ar first but as we approached the series of logs floating in the water it got deeper and deeper. Getting over the logs was a project for me- the water was about chest high and I had to basically roll over each log. More bruises occurred here! Once out of the water we had to scale a few super muddy hills in order to get back onto the trail. It was so wet and muddy and people were falling and face planting left and right. I basically held onto small tree branches for dear life as I worked to pull myself up the hills. It was tough but so much fun!
Back onto the trail until we hit the Warrior Walls. Each wall was about four feet high and while it was a simple jump or leap for most people, I had a harder time because of how small I am. For me, I had to pull myself up with my arms (like I was getting out of a pool at the wall) and then lift one leg over, perch on the wall and jump down. The landings over each wall were sketchy as the mud was very slippery. There was no way to run through it or get a running start for the next wall. Yeah…more bruises! Pretty much as soon as the last wall was jumped we were back on muddy terrain and at another swamp. The Slithering Swamp was even grosser than the first swamp and even more difficult to climb out of. More falling and face planting by people…and hills were a lot steeper this go around. Again, I was holding onto small tree branches just slowly making my way back onto the trail. Towards the end of the trail we could hear all the finish line commotion and as we came out of the woods we were greeted with spectators, cameras and Muddy Mayhem. This obstacle is another mudpit but this time with barbed wire across, forcing runners to crawl into the mud. I thought I was being slick and just tried to sneak under the first wire but I got my shirt caught and learned my lesson. I got on my hands and knees and crawled through the rest. As soon as that ended we were at the Warrior Roast- a series of fire pits for us to jump over. I totally got a little freaked out and bombed the first jump! But then I was fine and hauled ass over the next jumps. As I went over them I could feel the heat and I have to say, it was really cool!
As soon as we were over the fire pit it was about a 50 foot sprint across the finish line. There was one guy, with one hose, that I guess was supposed to get us clean. Yeah right ahahaha…clean??!?! That was NOT going to happen! I had mud everywhere and i really didn’t mind it except for on my hands. I just wanted my hands clean! I finally decided it was a better idea to just find grass and try to wipe them off. It worked enough to make it okay until I could find some water. Met up with all my teammates, finally found some water and made my way up to the fire hoses to get washed up. I went through the hoses twice and it felt so good to get cleaned up. I didn’t mind the mud until I started to get all crusty and then I just wanted it off me! After I was washed up, I had to get changed, but…ready for this…they CHARGED for bathrooms! Good thing I am not modest- I got changed right on the field…held a towel around me and got dressed- ohhh lala!
Post-race we all went back to the cars; it was my friends Dee and Michelle’s birthday so we celebrated with some food and adult beverages!
Pros of the Race:
- Muddy obstacles were great- I had so much fun in the water and trying to get up the mudslides!
- Trail running is so much fun. I am so interested in trail running now- I have already looked into two trail races for next year!
- Huge water park area to get hosed down with firehoses post-race.
- I was with my team and we make everything fun 🙂
Con’s of the Race
- Too much of a back up at certain obstacles
- Some obstacles were downright lame.
- Disorganized set up- it was very confusing to get from place to place post-race.
- Everything cost money- parking, food, drinks…even the bathroom to get changed! There was only one small cup of water and a banana for racers at the finish- but I was so covered in mud I couldn’t open or eat my banana. I felt really nickeled and dimed at this race and wish they would have simply charged more to enter rather than charge for every little thing along the way.
And of course photos!!!
Overall, I am glad I did the Warrior Dash. It was a fun time despite some of the problems I had with the race in general. I am back and forth on recommending it to people because I think it depends. If you are in it with a group I think it would be fun no matter what- I don’t know how much fun I would have had if I did it solo. I think I would tell people who like this kind of stuff to go for it, but not to have too high expectations and to take it for what it is as a fun race. I mean, in the end you do get a really cool hat!