I Survived the Warrior Dash!


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  158 comments   :  39,664 Views

Trek up steep trails. Wade through neck-deep water. Crawl under barbwire through two feet of thick mud. Jump over fire-burning coals. Climb a 30-foot cargo net. Cross over creeks. Roll down hills. Scrape up your hands and knees in the dirt. Walk the plank. Scale a rope wall. Run through tires. Puzzle through a junkyard of cars. And when you're finished? Get sprayed down by a fire hose.

Yeah, I did that all. Before lunch. And I jumped at the chance to pay $60 to be a part of it. Why? I suppose because it sounded fun.

Last weekend, I drove 2.5 hours to compete in the Warrior Dash, a Viking-themed 3.1-mile race through steep trails, peppered with obstacles along the way.

You see, as much as I still do enjoy running, I'm getting a little bored with the actual races. Each one blends into the next, and even though the courses and the crowds are all different, I need something more to get excited about. That's why every race I've signed up for this year has been something special. (Remember my Krispy Kreme Challenge?) And it doesn't get more "special" than the Warrior Dash, which takes place across the country (and even has events in Canada and Australia)!

As crazy as it sounds, what looked like a bunch of torture was actually a rolling good time. People come from far and wide to take part in these adventures—people of all sizes, shapes and fitness levels, too. They dress up in crazy costumes: I saw multiple superheroes, men in kilts, a man running in nothing but tighty whities, women in pink tutus, and young kids dressed as cavemen! Then we all get dirty (and I have the photos to prove it).

Although each Warrior Dash is a little different based on its location, and all of them do include quite of bit of running (you can also walk), the obstacles are the fun part. You have no choice but to get muddy, wet, completely dirty and soaked by the race's end. But oh the fun of it! Here are a few pics I snapped after the race was over. I didn't dare bring my camera or phone with me—and that's a good thing. Wait till you see how every single person crosses the finish line below.

Every participant gets an "I Survived the Warrior Dash" T-shirt, and this awesome Viking helmet! I took this pre-race but didn't wear it during, although many people did.

About halfway through the race, you're only wet from having crossed a large man-made pond of neck-deep water when you come to a cargo net that's at least 20 feet high (this one scared me a little at the top!), followed by a balancing series of board planks that you have to walk up and down.

I remember seeing photos and info on the Warrior Dash website about jumping over fire and thinking, "yeah, right." But there were not one, but two fire jumps! I was honestly scared of this one, but I got up the guts to do it and made sure to jump as high as I could. My husband had already finished by this point and I saw him on the sidelines cheering for me. A lot of people opted out of this obstacle (you can actually choose to walk past any of the obstacles in the race), but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it—just like these guys did!

Just when you think you're home free, you have to crawl through the thickest pit of mud ever and under barbwire before you make it to the finish line. What a way to finish!

No joke: Every single person who finishes the Warrior Dash looks like this when crossing the finish line. You may THINK you're going to stay dry or clean or somewhat clean, but no. Sorry, that is impossible. But that is why it's so crazy fun!

Needless to say, I was completely covered in mud from neck to toe when crossing the finish line, so I headed straight to the fire hoses to get cleaned off before I grabbed my camera to take a post-race picture (that's the one you saw way up top). Luckily, I brought extra shoes, towels, and a change of clothes with me!

Most people end up tossing their shoes in one of many piles of muddy sneakers that will take your muddy shoes for you and recycle them. I signed up months in advance for the race, so once one of my pairs of running shoes wore out, I stashed them in the basement to specifically wear to this so that I wouldn’t ruin a good pair of shoes. They sure came in handy!

When it's all over, racers get a free beer (it must be the official drink of warriors), bananas and water. Then a big party lasts all day long and into the night with live music, roasted turkey legs (they also had veggie burgers!), roasted ears of corn, and plenty of fun people-watching.

Overall, the Warrior Dash is a fun race for people of all fitness levels. Although I don't say this about many races, it's one I would definitely do again in the future. In fact, I can't wait for next year! It proves that fitness can be fun and that there are many reasons to get fit and be healthy. It's not always about running faster or farther or competing with others. Completing a marathon might not get you excited about running before work each day, but reaching a fun (or crazy) goal like this one just might!

If this type of race sounds fun or motivational to you, check out the Mudathlon, the Original Mud Run, or the Tough Mudder. Or the RunAmuck.

Have you heard of--or perhaps tried--the Warrior Dash? Would you like to try it?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
See More: fitness, trends, party,
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
NEXT ENTRY >   How Do You Live in the Moment?


  • 108
    I'd never heard of it. It looks like you had a great time. - 6/9/2011   3:06:03 PM
    That looks like a blast! They have one here but it is next month and I am out of town. Already signed up for emails on when they add dates for next year! - 6/9/2011   2:44:49 PM
  • 106
    Looks like it was a blast! I had a friend to a similar 'mud run' here but they didn't have any fire jumps! - 6/9/2011   1:43:21 PM
    Yes! I too survived the Warrior Dash! It was totally AWESOME and I am already signed up for next year! Woo hoo! - 6/9/2011   10:39:32 AM
  • 104
    Yay! So happy to see this. Congratulations on finishing!

    I've been registered for months for the one in our state. It's not until July, but I can't wait. I ran and biked the Muddy Buddy last year. I'm doing that one again this year, too. It's another great race that mixed up the workout with fun. Look into it. It's nationwide, too! - 6/9/2011   10:11:51 AM
  • 103
    I think that looks like a blast. Never done a race like that, but many years ago I played in a mud volleyball tournament that was a blast! Once you fall down the first time, you quit worrying about it and play hard. Exhausting, killer workout for the calves, and a blast! - 6/9/2011   10:03:13 AM
  • 102
    Looks like a blast, Coach! Power to the Warriors!! - 6/9/2011   9:57:59 AM
  • 101
    I'm ridiculously excited that they have a race in Whistler. It's a bit of a distance from here, but I think this race looks amazing. - 6/9/2011   9:51:36 AM
  • 100
    I have not participated in the Warrior Dash, yet. I have, however, participated in USMC Mud Run here in SC. I have to agree, doing something as challanging as one of these types of races is very rewarding and lots of fun! I encourage everyone to experience at least once, and then you will be hooked to do another. - 6/9/2011   9:31:37 AM
    I've never heard of the Warrior Dash, probably because I'm not a runner. That is so crazy! Looks like fun. Might check it out where my daughter in law lives because she's the only one I can think of who would be crazy enought to do this with me! Thanks for the article. - 6/9/2011   9:23:57 AM
  • 98
    I am SO EXCITED! Two months exactly until I take part in The Warrior Dash in Barrie, Ontario! Really great to know about recycling the shoes! Its going to be a filthy good time! - 6/9/2011   9:19:21 AM
  • 97
    Oh THANK YOU for sharing this - I'm signed up for the one in September, and have been SUPER nervous about the obstacles, so knowing you *can* walk by any that you know you can't do makes me feel better (though I *intend* to do them all, to prove to myself that I can)! - 6/9/2011   9:11:10 AM
    Sounds and looks like you had a blast! I'll have to see whats coming up in my area. - 6/9/2011   9:10:11 AM
  • MELX13
    I signed up for the NY Warrior Dash in August- I am just hoping it's not so hot that the heat kills me. - 6/9/2011   8:11:11 AM
  • 94
    Oooh, I have always wanted to do the Warrior Dash! I have done their other race, The Great Urban Race, twice now. That's a lot of fun, too, and you don't get so dirty. :) - 6/9/2011   8:00:49 AM
  • ALGEE8
    I did the 2011 Warrior Dash in Maryland with my two sons and some friends. It was awesome! The obstacles were fun and it was an overall good time! - 6/9/2011   7:57:51 AM
  • 92
    I gotta' admit, that looks like fun -- certainly more fun than the Krispy Kreme challenge!! - 6/9/2011   6:44:06 AM
  • 91
    Nothing like pushing yourself to the limit and loving the trip Congrats ~ Donna - 6/9/2011   6:26:14 AM
  • 90
    You look fabulous - a bit filthy, but fabulous! - 6/9/2011   5:53:18 AM
  • 89
    Running is not my thing, but this looks like my kind of fun. Thanks for sharing. - 6/9/2011   5:36:50 AM
  • 88
    I just signed up for the "suicide mud plunge" at suicide hill in Ishpeming MI! Supposed to be the same kind of race! Im stoked! - 6/9/2011   3:34:35 AM
    I saw this in my Runner's World mag but thought it too intense. But you've changed my mind. Looks like a goal for the next one. - 6/9/2011   2:58:50 AM
  • SUJUX1
    That is awesome!! - 6/9/2011   12:38:20 AM
  • 85
    Wow! Congrats on the challenge. Better you than me. - 6/9/2011   12:00:24 AM
    I heard of the warrior dash but thought it might be too much for me. A friend of mine did it this past weekend though (she was probably at the same one you were at!) and she said it was awesome. I think I might make it a goal of mine to do one. - 6/8/2011   10:08:27 PM
  • 83
    I had heard of this race but dismissed it as being too intense for me. But reading your blog makes me reconsider that - or at least to change my assessment to "intense but fun-looking"! Thanks for sharing your pictures too! - 6/8/2011   9:59:38 PM
  • 82
    I looked at this quite a bit, but thought it was for more hard core athletes. Since you say all shapes, sizes and fitness levels... well, maybe I'll reconsider! - 6/8/2011   9:51:49 PM
  • 81
    I so want to do one & asked dh & running buddy. Buddy was interested but dh poopooed the idea. When DH was recently asked by his colleague to do the spartan dash he's all game. So I want to say no to punish him but I think I'm the only one who's getting hurt. - 6/8/2011   6:36:53 PM
  • 80
    Loved hearing about this. Looks fun ... but I'd have to walk around some of those things! - 6/8/2011   6:30:44 PM
  • 79
    Love this idea! Will have to find one near me to sign up for. - 6/8/2011   6:07:05 PM
  • 78
    that looks amazing!! - 6/8/2011   5:42:35 PM
  • 77
    I have heard about the Warrior Dash, and I have some friends doing it this summer. I may have to do sometime soon! - 6/8/2011   5:27:39 PM
    That looks AMAZING! I'm going to look it up in the UK and see if we have anything similar. - 6/8/2011   5:25:02 PM
  • 75
    I'm doing the Warrior Dash on June 26... can't wait!!! - 6/8/2011   4:54:50 PM
  • 74
    I enjoyed reading this story and definitely looks like fun. - 6/8/2011   4:50:04 PM
  • 73
    OMG....THAT looks like sooo much fun. I am not a runner, but I think this is the
    kick in the pants to get me moving to train for one of these. There is one in my
    area in September! I'm gonna order me some WARRIOR GEAR & get moving!!!! - 6/8/2011   4:29:39 PM
  • 72
    You are so cute Nicole! Thank you for the inspiration you provide. This definitely looks like a race you will always remember! You are right, having fun is so important for motivation. - 6/8/2011   3:31:48 PM
  • 71
    awesome nicole, i have been looking at them since last fall, i will do one or actually several someday. still nursing the knee injury so i am not sure i am ready to do the one here this month, maybe next month. - 6/8/2011   3:03:04 PM
  • 70
    looks like you had a ton of fun the fire pit not so much fun.. glad you got to go - 6/8/2011   2:32:34 PM
  • 69
    Seriously, jumping a fire pit! Now that takes guts! Sounds like the event was so much fun. Just a compliment . . . the viking hat looks awesome on you! - 6/8/2011   2:28:08 PM
    Thanks for the details Nicole. I wasn't looking forward to participating in one of these for the fact that I thought it would be too hard and I would look like an idiot trying to finish, but as you put it many people of all ages and sizes can do it. I am looking forward to actually getting the guts up and doing one that will be in my neighborhood this Sept. Thanks for opening my eyes and making me realize it's not about how fit or skinny you have to be, but finding something that will give you that spark you have when you are looking forward to something. - 6/8/2011   2:18:31 PM
  • 67
    Wow.. - 6/8/2011   1:41:11 PM
    This sounds so awesome!!! Thank you SO MUCH for the detailed description. I had no idea anything like this existed and I am definitely looking to see if there is still time to get into one! Thanks. - 6/8/2011   1:36:00 PM
  • 65
    That looks like so much fun. I will be looking for one in FL to run. Funny thing - I work for Hertz Equipment Rental and it was funny seeing the water truck in the one picture. - 6/8/2011   1:04:28 PM
  • 64
    Congrats....You have spunk! - 6/8/2011   12:57:36 PM
  • 63
    WayToGo Chick-a-Dee!!! You're da woman! I sooooo wanted to do this one when I 1st saw it but knew I couldn't manage both it AND Seattle in one month. Cpl of my nieces & a nephew are game too, so lookout next year kiddo!! Ya just may see Deej in your rear view mirror!! LOL

    What a FUN achievement & a cool challenge!! I'm proud as punch of your accomplishment!!!!

    See ya in a few :) ~Deej - 6/8/2011   12:55:36 PM
  • 62
    This looks like so much fun! I'm in the process right now of getting a team together to do a similar run this fall. We will be running in the Marine Mud Run, they sponsor it every year to help Toys for Tots. I'm super excited, if all goes well, the warrior dash may be my next goal! - 6/8/2011   12:52:33 PM
  • 61
    This sounds so fun! - 6/8/2011   12:35:39 PM
    I was there Sunday afternoon. I loved it all except for the pond. I had a run-in with a log and went totally underwater, gulping a huge swallow of the cow-poop-dead-fish-filled water. OMG, I was spitting all the way to the next obstacle!! Even after hosing down, my daughter and I smelled like dogs who had rolled in something rotten. LOL. We'll do it again. Next time I'll keep my mouth closed in the pond. - 6/8/2011   12:23:02 PM
    This looks like so much fun. But, I don't know about the fire & if there's any climbing, forget that. I'm scared of heights. - 6/8/2011   11:57:04 AM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›