Warrior Dash is an easier mid-level mud run that is a staple in the OCR circuit. I put it at mid-level because the obstacles are actually made out of boards and mud, and not bubbles and inflatables. But, it’s still a relatively accessible race, especially since there are no penalties for passing on an obstacle — actually, this year the race wasn’t even timed.
This race is the race that got me started three years ago when I ran with a small group from one of my gyms. I have always loved Warrior Dash. I like the venue, it always has had the best mud, and some creative challenges. Except this year, I was a little disappointed. If I had never been to a Warrior Dash before, I would have thought it was great. Unfortunately, it was not up to it’s usual standards.
One of the things I loved about this race were the unique obstacles. The first year, we were climbing over cars, sliding down poles, jumping from one purposfully wobbly platform to the next. And the mud, was excellent. Lots of thick, clay mud that would never come out of your clothes! It was the best mud.
This year, most every obstacle was some rendition of climbing over or under something. Mostly walls and nets.
As opposed to say, last year’s lateral cargo net crossing, or maybe a balance beam or previously mentioned obstacles from earlier years. The exception was Alcatraz and the Pipeline — which was a new unique challenge that I really enjoyed.
There was only mud in two spots. The aptly named Mud Mounds and the Muddy Mayhem mudpit at the end. There were some more interesting looking obstacles on the course map that didn’t show up in the actual race. The Mud Mounds are actually quite fun. The technique this year was to try to jump from one mound to the next, missing the thick sticky mud at the bottom completely. Because if you landed in it, you were doomed. And, you probably lost a shoe.
The mud at the end however, was disgusting. Previously, this was always my favorite. If you hadn’t gotten muddy enough, you were guaranteed to come out coated in it after wading through the chest-high trough of icky sticky mud. Until this year. It was black, it was gritty, and it was smelly. It looked and smelled like potting soil. No one wanted to put their hands in it, most people were lamenting over the texture and the smell as they were gingerly making their way through it. This picture says it all.
That being said, I do want to compliment them on going the extra mile to ensure the fire jump happened even though there was a burn ban in place. They had sprinklers going all around the area to make sure it safe — and I very much appreciate that. The fire jump is a quintessential ending to any good mud run.
The race unfortunately seemed to be suffering from a lack of funding and volunteers. Many of the obstacles had a sponsor and were branded, including the rinsing pond. It was well organized for the most part, though the flow of registration left a little to be desired, requiring you to push back through the lines of registrants to get to gear check. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a fun, solid, race and you should go if you get the chance. I will definitely go again. It just used to be a little bit better. But, if you’ve never been, you wouldn’t know the difference.
Overall though, Warrior Dash has well-built obstacles with the perfect amount of challenge for the adequately in-shape, adventurous beginner. A fun atmosphere with a big stage for the live band, that can be viewed from the grassy hill while enjoying your gigantic turkey leg after visiting the beer garden. On the way out be sure the visit the very fairly priced merch tent for some quality take-homes. Just be sure to pay close attention to where you parked. And, if you’re directionally challenged, like me, recruit your friends to help.
*Photos By: Katrina Blackwell and Warrior Dash.