Description: The Warrior Dash is a 5K race with 10 or more obstacles. Obstacles and terrain change depending on where the event is held. At the Mt. Seymour race, there were a lot relatively steep, rocky hills and, of course, lots of mud. Some courses are flatter, depending on the location. Obstacles on the course we ran included:
- A climbing wall with ropes (the wall was slightly slanted, which made the climb pretty easy).
- A climbing structure with wooden slats around 3 feet apart (the only part that some people seemed to find tricky on this one was reversing at the top to get down, but the obstacle was not as difficult as it looked).
- Two climbing apparatuses made from cargo netting – one that required climbing upward and a horizontal one to cross (if you find the horizontal one too strenuous, you can simply walk across the beams supporting the net, as many people did).
- A smooth wall that required teamwork to climb, as there were no handholds (people tend to be very friendly on the course, and there was always someone willing to provide a hand up as needed).
- A wooden structure shaped like a V – participants could make their way along a narrow wooden beam attached to one side of the slanting wall or walk down the center of the V for an easier crossing.
- Two stretches that required crawling under barbed wire, one on dry ground and the other through a shallow mud pit (a couple of participants who tried to duck rather than crawl had their shirts ripped by the barbed wire, so I don’t recommend this strategy).
- Fires to jump over (these weren’t very tall – in fact, they were low enough to step over in some places).
Some courses have different obstacles, though most seem to have a mud pit and various climbing structures. If you find an obstacle too scary, you can always go around it. There’s no pressure, but conquering fears is part of the fun, and the obstacles really are not bad at all. Most people found trying to run up rocky mountain hills in the baking heat far more challenging than overcoming the obstacles (the majority ended up walking the hills rather than running).
Cost: Prices vary based on both the location of the event and how early you sign up (there are usually discounts for advance booking). The price range is typically $40 to $90, depending on these factors, and this does not include parking, food, or drink other than one free beer.
Time: Runners leave the start line in waves of 500 every hour from 8 pm until 2 pm. The course takes 30 to 90 minutes for most people, though a few top runners do it in under 30 minutes, and there are always some stragglers who require more than 90 minutes. You have to arrive at least an hour early to register and sign the standard death-and-dismemberment release form (despite the ambulances everywhere, the worst injury I saw was a sprained ankle and most of those who were injured suffered at most a bruise or scrape). Allow time afterward to have a beer and some barbecued food, watch the band play, and check out the costumes.
Difficulty: Fitness is an asset, but not mandatory. You can walk the course and do the obstacles slowly if you need to. Although there were plenty of very fit people there, lots of people who were not exceptionally fit were participating as well.
What to Bring:
- Photo ID is required to register.
- Bring cash for parking, food, merchandise, and beer. Parking is $20 unless you don’t mind walking some distant to the event. There is more parking available if you sign up for one of the later waves.
- Bring a plastic bag for your muddy clothing and a change of clothes. It’s also a good idea to bring some garbage bags to protect the seats of your car from mud.
- Gloves are beneficial, given that you’ll be climbing ropes and crawling on the ground. I wore a pair of cycle gloves and I was really happy to have them.
- Bring water! There was plenty of beer available but no water outside of the actual racetrack (one volunteer said that if I had any water, I could have sold it for a fortune).
- If it’s hot and sunny, bring sunscreen.
- The event was really fun – everyone seemed to be having a fantastic time, both during the race and at the after-party.
- The volunteers running the event were fantastic.
- There was live music, a costume contest, and a best warrior beard award ceremony.
- Participants get free stuff, including a decent-sized beer, a Warrior Dash T-shirt, a finisher medal, and a horned fuzzy helmet.
- The event raises money for charity
- You don’t need an extreme level of fitness to complete the course (if you’re looking for a greater physical challenge, you’d probably be better off doing one of the tougher Spartan Races, though Warrior Dash can be challenging if you run the course really fast).
Cons: The main con was that there were a number of event management problems with this particular race that may not occur with other races:
- They had screwed up the registration for everyone who booked in the week prior to the event, so many of us had to wait in a long line at the information booth to get our registration packages (waiting in a long line on a scorching hot day before a race is a real buzz-kill).
- There was absolutely no water available outside the race course, either free or for purchase. You could buy all the beer you wanted, but people who have exerted themselves need water more than beer.
- There were only three water stations on the course. It was hot and people had been running up steep hills and climbing over things. We needed a lot more water than we got. The lack of water impaired the performance of many participants. A couple of people had to sit down in the shade for a bit before they could go on because they were so dehydrated.
- Wear comfortable clothing that you don’t mind drenching in mud. The best options are tight, fitted items that won’t come off easily when dragged down by heavy mud (otherwise, you may end up showing more than you want to when you come out of the mud pit).
- Tie your shoes tightly so that they don’t come off.
- Wear a tightly tied bandana if the weather is hot – you can soak it with cold water at one of the water stations on the course to stay cooler.
- Bring water for post-race consumption in a thermos-type water bottle to keep it cold.
- Unless the event in your city has added more water stations, if it’s really hot, wearing a Camelbak or runner’s waist-pouch with one or more soft plastic water bottles is a good idea (don’t carry a hard water bottle – you could get injured if you fall on it).
For descriptions of more fun races and hikes, see the main Activities page.