Warrior Dash. Almost anyone in the OCR community has heard of this race. I myself, being fairly new to obstacle course racing, had heard of the event and was excited to attempt it. I went into the day only knowing what I had heard through word of mouth. I was expecting a challenge. A struggle. A personal test. A memorable day.
Unfortunately, I left the event that day slightly disappointed. I feel that this disappointment may have arisen simply from the idea I had set beforehand. Maybe I had only listened to positive things participants had to say. Maybe I built up competitors views in my mind and was looking for so much more. Either way, I had established these expectations for Warrior Dash that it was not ready to fulfill.
I participated in the Florida event February 6, 2016. It was a chilly and rainy day, most would see this as ideal mud weather but as a Floridian I was hoping for warmer weather. The check in process went smooth and I was almost immediately headed to the starting line. The emcee was doing a great job building up the crowd, getting everyone excited, lifting the spirits of those who second-guessed signing up for this event. I can’t lie; he made me feel this sense of thrill and an eagerness to see what awaited me on the course. It is regrettable now to see that I was just getting more worked up to feel left unsatisfied.
The course was definitely a family friendly course. I now know that Warrior Dash is a great event to go to if you are going with children or if this is to be your first experience in the OCR community. This was not an event that excited me. I was expecting big structures and flashy obstacles and new things to try. Instead I was presented with an icy lake swim, a few balance beams, and an extra large slide. Prior to participating in Warrior Dash, I thought that I was going to have moments of struggle and pain. Now that I have seen what it has to offer, I wish I had brought my son with me, and he is almost four.
This is not to be an overall complaint or critique of the event, but instead I hope to change how it is viewed to newcomers. This is not the race for the adrenaline junkie. This is not for the person looking to scale numerous walls and jump from cliffs and feel like they have conquered the world. This is for someone who wants to enjoy the community around them. This is for people who are not only looking for a helping hand, but who are willing to lend one themselves. This is for those who do not care about race time but instead care about the experience. Warrior Dash is where you can arrive without a team and leave with one. It is impossible for you to not make friends on the course.
At the end of the day, I had completed an enjoyable 3.1 miles of a new course and ended up with some sweet gear. Finishers earned themselves a shirt, a furry red hat, and an awesome bottle-opener medal. I will say that the hat is a little tacky and cheap, but it does make for some silly finisher photos. I feel that the shirt could have been more original and I heard that it ran uncomfortably small for others, but I do not do events for the shirt so I didn’t mind. The medal is pretty neat though, I definitely liked hanging it on my wall with my others.
Overall, I can see why people have a love for this race. It is clear that it is more about the community than the event itself. People love making each other smile and building one another up. I would gladly bring my family on this course again if I was seeking a bonding experience with them. If I was looking to thrill seek and have an adventure with some of my friends, I will hunt down a different event. I have earned my horns, but one set is enough for me.