Warrior Dash is one of the oldest companies putting on obstacle course races in the US and have been running events in Washington State since 2011! With all of those years under their belt, a certain level of polish can be expected and Warrior Dash delivered on those expectations.
Taking place about a 1-hour drive south of downtown Seattle, the Kelley Farm venue provided a mostly flat, wide open area for everything to be set up. Unlike some other races, both parking and the bag drop were included in the price of admission which made for a smooth experience from beginning to end.
Parking was very close to the check-in and festival area, so no shuttle was required. Waiver signing and packet pickup were quick, but it certainly didn’t hurt that I showed up early to run in the first heat of the day. After picking up the participant shirt and fuzzy helmet before the race, everything was loaded into a bag and dropped off at Bag Drop before heading over to the starting line.
The Competitive Heat
Warrior Dash marks their first wave of the day as the Competitive Heat and it acts as a qualifier for the OCR World Championships taking place in Canada this year. While there is no official timing of the race, someone was actively monitoring the finish line to record the top 10 finishers of each gender.
Top 3 qualifies you for the Pro Heat, while Top 10 qualifies you for the Age Group competition at the OCR World Championships.
This opening wave was an interesting mix of people containing some determined (very fit looking) people vying for those top spots and several others just excited to get out on the open course and push themselves to their own limits.
The top 3 male and female runners were announced and invited on stage to receive OCRWC Qualifier t-shirts.
After a brief delay to get word from the medical team that everyone was in place and ready to go, the start line was counted down and we were sent off as flame shot into the air above us.
The very beginning of the course took advantage of a small hill off to our right which we climbed up right off the bat. After zig-zagging back and forth a few times over small rolling hills, we returned to the level surface that the rest of the race was run on and our first obstacle, a small set of tall, spaced out wooden stairs.
After that was a fun obstacle called Upslide Down where we laid on our backs and pulled ourselves along using acargoe net above us. Next was a short balance beam before we crawled down into some very long, muddy trenches.
A water station was located at the half-way point of the 5k distance and soon afterwards the course turned into a winding single-track run through a large set of trees that led us to a rather tall barb wire crawl.
Next we ascended a steep wall with the assistance of a rope, navigated through a pipeline made of cargo nets, and balanced our way across a set of pallets suspended over water. The finish line was within sight, but we still had to navigate through a tricky obstacle where you could balance your way across a cargo net, with or without using a variety of hand holds suspended above you.
After a quick fire jump, we conquered the largest obstacle on the course, Goliath, which consisted of of ~2 story cargo net climb followed by a steep slide down into a deep pool of water. Despite the water mostly cleaning us off, the final obstacle made sure everyone finished with a thick layer of mud on them.
This final obstacle took place in a deep pit of thick mud that also had barb wire suspended above. Impossible to move through quickly or with any grace meant everyone came across the finish line ready for an epic post-race picture of their muddy adventure.
After crossing the finish line, we were given a very unique finishers “medal” consisting of a cube with a something different on each of the six sides. It’s even numbered if you want to use it at your next board game night!
Overall, Warrior Dash remains the perfect gateway event into the world of obstacle course racing. The 5k distance combined with a modest number of non-intimidating obstacles makes for a very fun time that doesn’t require a strict regimen of training leading up to the event.
The Competitive Wave was handled very professionally for everyone seeking to challenge themselves and others during the run and the festival grounds made for a great place to relax after the event and sip on the free post-race beer (even if it was 9 in the morning!).
Whether you are a seasoned OCR pro or someone thinking about trying their first ever OCR race, it’s worth checking out the next Warrior Dash near you.