3.23 miles. Thirteen obstacles. Infinite potential for funny costumes. This is Warrior Dash.
If you’re like me you remember TV shows from your youth with obstacle courses and crazy physical challenges that kept the network lawyers in business. Warrior Dash is the adult version, if you add beer, body paint, and a complete disregard for personal safety. There are fifteen Dashes held nationwide, but I think we here in the northeast do these things bigger and better. When you have five months of winter you squeeze everything you can out of the rest of the year, and here the result is hundreds of people going flat out, pushing their bodies to the limit, and smiling as wide as they can at the end.
The 2010 Northeast Warrior Dash was held on the ski slopes of Windham Mountain. Participants were sent out in large waves to conquer, in order:
– Knee High Hell: Like football training camp, in hell.
– Warrior Wall: Oo-rah!
– Tunnels of Terror: It’s the sewer, you’re the rat.
– Black Forest: Trees hurt, trust.
– Slithering Swamp: The first, but not last, encounter with mud.
– Walk the Plank: Your timbers should be shivering by now.
– Rip Van Winkle Bridge: Not the time for a nap.
– Rio Run: Just a quick rinse.
– Cargo Climb: You know how they catch fish? A lot like that.
– Flagstone Stack: There are rocks on a mountain, who knew?
– Catskill Skid: Think slip-n-slide. Now think bigger. No, bigger than that.
– Warrior Roast: A literal trial by fire.
– Muddy Mayhem: The best for last. Bellycrawl though what you hope is just mud.
If that’s not enough, this is all while running up and back down a mountain. The official FAQ sums it up pretty nicely, “Warrior Dash is not most races. Warrior Dash does what Warrior Dash wants to do.”
Unfortunately, as spectators we only had access to the start line and the last few obstacles. I would love to have seen people tangled in nets and scrambling over walls. What we could see said it all, anyone who runs this race is hardcore to the hilt in my book, witness that the leap through fire is not a joke:
And, Elvis is in the building.
There was plenty to see, and the energy at the start and finish was amazing, everyone was happy to have a beautiful day for the run and really excited about getting really dirty. Costumes were in abundance, there’s really no way to show how many people were dressed up to one degree or another, from wine box robots to more basic facepaint.
Centurions, characters from Avatar, ballerinas, Ninja Turtles, they were all there. The event is more than just an exucse to relive your youth on an adult-sized playground though, the sense of camaraderie was impressive, and in the parking lot a huge pile of shoes were being collected for GreenSneakers. A little bit of New York dirt spread around the world for a good cause.
I have to admit, I went to this event feeling less than enthused. I figured I would take a few photos for fun and get some sun on a gorgeous early fall day. Turns out the excitement is infectious, and after only a few minutes I was swept up and couldn’t help smiling too. I brought a solid roster of gear but left everything except for the standard 50mm lens in the car, forcing me to get up close and personal, and I ended up having many short but great conversations with Dashers before and after they ran. Sebastien went in a bit more determined and prepared, you can read his report too. Definitely check out all of his awesome photos of the Muddy Mayhem at the end.
Can’t really stress enough how fun this was and how great of an atmopshere surrounded the place. The ski lifts were also running and we were able to head away from the crowd and enjoy the view, before the snow starts to fall. The only unfortunate thing I have to report is that there were a few injuries, as should be expected; thankfully, emergency medical help was on the scene and quick to the rescue. I do have a slight complaint about the parking situation; with a $65 fee per participant and $10 per car for parking, you’d expect things to be more organized, but it was mostly a free for all. Still, it all worked out. As always, there’s a slideshow for more photos.
Diana’s Daily Dish
Times Union Runners Blog
Bumbling KT Bee
Jen Is Green
Someday We’ll Put Down Roots (bonus injury footage)
We Tri Like Girlz
Knit Teach Ride
Very Merry Seamstress
Misadventures in Procrastination with video of the Catskill Skid