I don’t run. I hate jogging. Personally, I find it boring, and professionally I find it inefficient. You want a better workout? Go swing a kettlebell. You want something entertaining? Go play a game. It’s the perfect season to gather your friends and play flag football, pick-up basketball, ultimate frisbee, or golf. You can play anything, and you’ll have a blast while exercising. Except you’re not exercising, you’re playing.
Last Sunday, I played with some friends. What did we do? We dressed up in costumes, ran through the woods, played in the mud, and we were absolutely filthy when we were done. Except we weren’t playing tag or Man Hunt, we ran the Warrior Dash.
This description comes directly from the Warrior Dash website:
Warrior Dash is the ultimate event for thrill-seeking athletes. This 3-5 kilometer race is held on the most demanding and unique terrain the U.S. has to offer. Participants will take on intense obstacles, and celebrate their feat with music, beer, and muddy shorts!
To go into more detail, we ran the Mid-Atlantic Warrior Dash in Quarryville, PA. The course was set up on the grounds of Sure Shot Paintball, Inc., and covered 3.15 miles. Yes, the course was five thousand meters, but it was in no way a traditional 5k. From inception, the race has been different, because there have been obstacles. During the Mid-Atlantic race we encountered 13 obstacles. They were either very intelligent or very evil in their planning when they placed the obstacles that where the most difficult and fun at the end. Starting about mile from the end of the course, we encountered the Breathless Bog, which required racers to wade through very cold and murky water, climb over a series of floating logs, then climb out about 50 yards later. While October produces some of the best running weather, it makes for terrible jump-in-cold-water weather!
Shortly after the Bog was the Warrior Dash’s version of the steeple chase. A quick in and out of deep water, which I assume was designed to give brave souls a chance to dive in and complete the head-to-toe coverage of slime started in the bog. After this, we encountered an uphill and muddy trail, which required both steady footing and the ability to vault 4 foot walls. Normally this wouldn’t seem very difficult, but the sensation of running on pudding proves to slow you down far more than you think. By this point, you lose the idea of ‘running’, and it begins to seem like you’re ice skating. You’re also covered with mud from your waist down. If you weren’t, then the next obstacle changes that.
It wasn’t on the list of obstacles provided for us, but my favorite obstacle was Hell Hill. This hill sucked. Running up a normal hill sucks. Running up a hill that’s about a 40 degree incline, which is slick and covered in mud, after you’re been covered with mud, is not fun. Well, if this was a regular 5k, that is. At this point, you can do two things. You can stand around at the bottom of the hill and figure out where to run, or you can do what I did with the few people I found myself running with; you lay down, grab two handfulls of mud, and you crawl. This was the first time of the race that I took a mental step back and made the following three comments:
- How cool is this?!
- I feel like I’m in survival training.
- How long is this hill?
When I finally got to the top of the hill, I felt like I had gotten kicked in the stomach; it was the first part of the race that felt actually difficult. It was all fun and games until then, but crawling up a mud hill is pretty difficult. From the top, though, you could see the final two obstacles and the white ‘Finish’ banner. On we go!
100 yards from the top of the hill was the beginning of the mud crawl. You’re forced to crawl the 20 yards through mud, by the barbed wire strung 3 feet over the top! That may sound dangerous to you, and it was, as I saw more than one person finish with streaks of blood on their back, but it’s still really cool. I think it’s safe to say that you wouldn’t be doing this race if you weren’t worried about getting a little scratched up. Immediately following that obstacle was the Warrior Roast; a vault over two small wooden hurdles, which happen to be lit on fire. I’m using the picture that I think best describes the general mood of the event: Unbridled excitement and adventure!
When you cross the finish line, you’re handed a medal to commemorate your accomplishment, followed by cups of water and a banana. I made my way back down to the mud pit to cheer on my brothers who had chosen to brave the course with me. When everyone was finished, we grabbed our bags, then headed into the crowd to check our times and get food! I had my second Turkey Leg, and it was absolutely amazing! We weren’t able to check our times, but they were e-mailed out two days later. Yours truly finished in 27:47.05. I was 744 out of 5,111. While that’s obviously not a good 5k time, it was probably the most exciting and adventurous half-an-hour run I’ve ever been on. There are upcoming Warrior Dash events in Pennsylvania and New York, and I plan on doing both of them. This time, I’ll run in an earlier heat, so I can use the last heat as a ‘fun run’. This way I can let my competitive spirit live, and then spend the 2nd running getting as filthy as possible.
The only question I have for the next race is, “What costume will I wear?” So far, the team is thinking feety pajamas. I’m not sure if they’ll beat the costumes we used, as Sexy Lumberjacks. What do you think?
I don’t run. I hate jogging. Personally, I find it boring, and professionally I find it inefficient. However, if you’re looking to have one hell of a good time with some other crazy people, I’d recommend getting yourself involved in the Warrior Dash. It’ll be the craziest frickin’ day of your life!