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I Survived the Warrior Dash!

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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?

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Wow, this sounds crazy but fun--might try it sometime! Report
Awesome!!! Looks like a whole lot of fun. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week. Report
That looked like fun. Report
I so want to do one! There's one in Logan Ohio that I may have to do! That looks so fun! Report
My friends and I completed our first Warrior Dash a week and a half ago. We drove 10 hours (which turned into 12 with stops) to run in the Missouri Warrior Dash near Old Monroe. We had a blast and plan on doing this again. Thanks for the motivation - you were the original spark that led us to release our inner warriors and dash!

Thanks, Lynnette Report
Started training for a tough mudder in 2012. WANT!! But will check out Warrior Dash as well. Totally fun and for good causes! Report
awesome! i so want to do the one in tennessee in september. it looks like it'd be a blast! Report
Congratulations--that does look like fun!! Friends have me almost convinced to register next year for the Tough Mudder--very similar to the Warrior Dash. Report
I sprained my foot on one of the obstacles in the beginning. I kept going. I finished (in a little bit of pain), but it was pretty awesome! I felt like a beast going through the tires and jumping over the cars! I'm hobbling now, but totally worth it. Report
OMG! This totally inspires me. I was looking for a 5K to set as a fitness goal, but none have really appealed to me. This looks crazy fun! Plus, I'd love to make it a healthy vacation. I could go home to Ohio to visit AND run this really fun race. I also noticed there are some in other states I'd love to visit--what a great way to have a vacation. Thanks Coach Nicole! Report
That was the one in Logan, yeah? DH and I did it on Saturday and loved it! So much fun! We're definitely making it an annual event! Report
I'm looking forward to tryingbthis next year in the NY area. looks like a lot of fun and dirty. Report
This looks like so much fun and I am not a runner. I may have to check into doing this. Report
What a hoot! You are a warrior for sure!! Report
One of the Spark Warriors was telling me about the Warrior Dash. He loves it, and is doing it again this year. Who knows, he might have been there with all of you. I bet you slept real well lol. Report
Oh, I am doing this! Thank you for sharing! Report
I love it....I am going to try the one in ATL next year. I have done the Muddy Buddy two years and I love it. Report
I was actually planning on doing this this year, but I don't think I will be able to afford it- so I am thinking next year. I am seeing a lot more "obstacle" based races coming out too. Report
I'd die to do something like this. This looks like a blast! Report
I would Love to do one of these warrior dash,love the competion, but I don't like the fire. Report
that looks amazing
looks like a whole heap of fun Report
This is cool! There is one in my area at the end of June. I'm going to email some friends now and see if they want to join me! Report
This sounds awesome! I remember doing something like this when I was a kid visiting my aunt in Phoenix in 1990. We ran (just a short distance though) through an obstacle course, waded through a chest-deep mud pit, and got hosed off by the fire dept. at the ended. I loved it! It's neat to know they still do it for adults. Report
This reminds me of my matriculation orientation where the seniors gave us juniors challenges such as sliding on belly like a snake underneath a row of chairs (they had to make do with what they can use nearby like from cafe, hehe) and walk in the huge drain like The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I really, really hated the seniors during that time that when one was laughing looking at me covered in mud, I grab some and throw to him, haha. Anyhow, this Warrior Dash event sounds fun and I love it that you tried everything, even that jumping over the fire! Report
I'm so glad to have seen this blog. I'm signed up to do the one here in Colorado, and as we get closer I get a little more *scared* as I think about it. Seeing your pictures and reading your blog has given me more confidence to go do it and come out stronger. Looking at the fire jump, guess I'll have to practice some so I don't miss. After doing almost 50 half marathons I, like you needed something different. Thanks for making it sound more fun than scary. Report
I would LOVE to do one of these (if only I had enough $$$) Report
I wouldn't even put on a old pair to do this race..It's a great way to get a new injury that won't heal.. Jump in the fire or land wrong from the board walk, there are safer ways to union over exercise.. Report
ok so totally not the point of the blog but nicole looks amazing for having just endured all that, very country. Report
I am doing the one in Massachusetts June 26th. Cant wait - totally sold out there must be a lot of us crazies out there!

And look at the cool hat....That's worth it alone! Report
I just did the same Warrior Dash with some friends last Sunday night. We were late signing up so ran in the last wave of the weekend. We loved it! My favorite obstacle was the pond with the floating logs, although the junk car field made me laugh.

My favorite races too are ones with obstacles (we've done the Muddy Buddy three times) or some other fun factor. This was my first race this year after not running for most of last year and it really reminded me how much fun I have running in the woods.

Glad you enjoyed it too. Report
Looks like fun! May have to try it someday. Report
That looks like the Logan, OH Dash! My daughter and I just did that, too! It was great! So proud of ourselves for making it over those walls! Report
...different strokes for different folks. Not for me! Report
My husband and I and another couple are doing this in July! I'm so excited! A little hesitant on some of the obstacles, but planning on having a great time!

BTW, has anyone checked the times of the people who win? The race is usually about 3 miles long, give or take, and then you have all of the obstacles. The people who are winning are doing it in under 18 minutes! Holy cow! Report
Thanks for all the pics!! I am doing the Warrior Dash in California in October with a bunch of girlfriends. I did a Marines Mud Run several years ago, which was similar, and it was a blast! I agree, it's a great change from everyday running and it does challenge you to get other parts of your body in shape. Otherwise, this is a tough challenge! Congrats to you. Love the Warrior hat!!! Report
In our area we have the Muddy Buddy race. I've never done it, but friends have. They love it too! I think races like these bring out the kids in each of us - glad you had such a great time and it was really fun reading your blog. Report
this sounds like SO much fun! Report
I will be doing a Warrior Dash in July!!!! So very excited about it...and happy to hear you had a great time! Report
That does look like a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing the information and pictures.
You go, girl...that sounds like a lot of fun... Report
You go, girl! Not my cup of tea, but I enjoyed your blog about this. It was vicarious fun for me to read it! Report
This sounds like a load of fun. Report
i was supposed to do this by me last year, bought the ticket and everything, but stuff came up and i couldn't go =( so when it came to this years, it was already booked by christmas time!! my bf is doing it though through his work, so i will be there to watch. but next year i am DEF participating! Report
Awesome job! I'm getting excited for the one in Minnesota next month. I signed up for it in January and it's definitely helped me stay motivated!! Report
One of the few in Canada is actually 30 minutes from where I live. I toyed with the thought of doing it this year, but chickened out. I think I might do it in 2013, the year I turn 50. What an affirmation of life! Report
Never heard of it, would love to try it! Checked out ALL of the links and there isn't anything even close to where I live :( You always find the cool things to do :) Report
So cool Nicole! This looks so awesome! Some day Bobby and I will join you (and Deej apparently) and do one! Congrats on a great job! Anne Report
Wow! That looks like a lot of fun. And just looked and there is one a couple of hours from my house. Now to just convince my sister and bil to join me. Off to sign up. Report