Mud. Sweat. Beer.
There has been a ton of hype heading into the Warrior Dash out here in Huntersville, North Carolina. There was a tremendous amount of excitement stemming from people in the local and surrounding communities; however, the threat of hurricane Irene made the potential postponement or all out cancellation of the Warrior Dash a realistic possibility. Fortunately, the hurricane changed course mid-week and the race went on as planned.
Per my usual routine, I indulged in some delicious r.a.w. sushi the night before the big event. For whatever reason on shorter races, sushi is my fuel. I relish in “filling up my fish tank” and then waking up the next morning and running, well, more like Superman on this day.
My close friends Adam & Michelle (who flew in from Cleveland for this race) decided to join for all the festivities. Our wave was at 2:00PM and we decided to scope out the event by heading to the grounds at high noon. As we were pulling into the lot, we could see people dressed up in a variety of costumes from Braveheart & samurai warriors to villains & superheroes. No matter what age or gender, everyone was here to have a good time and get dirty!
While waiting at the Start line, the energy was positive and brewing. The weather was a typical 90-degree Charlotte summer’s day (without humidity), partly cloudy skies and a slight breeze in the air. The countdown began and we raced through the coral as fire was going off above and headed down the winding path for about 3/4 of a mile before hitting our first couple of obstacles. We scaled over fences and crouched beneath barbed wire. We came around a short bend only to come up to a bunch of different dumpsters where we were hopping in & out, from one to the next. After this, we approached a bunch of uneven connected ladders and had to walk across maintaining our balance. Of course, off in the distance we could see a major roadblock ahead: a 30 foot wall.
As we approached the wall, there were 4 ropes dangling in front. We carefully pulled our way up to the top of the wall, and flung our bodies over the side to come back down. As a reward, we had a water station awaiting. Not much time to relax as the next challenge lead us through a trail path that weaved up & down throughout the forest another 3/4 of a mile. As we approached the end of the trail, we had to get down on our hands & knees in order to continue as there was an enclosed black tarp that we had to crawl underneath (about 100 feet). Inside was total darkness. There was a ton of dirt, dust and random arms and legs swaying to & fro. I kept my head down and my eyes wide shut until I spotted a glimpse of daylight.
We popped out and rounded the corner. In front of us, a muddy river! We jumped from land to water, straddled logs in the river and managed to come out soaked to the bone. One thought: keep moving!
As we headed up a hill, we reached our last mile of the Warrior Dash challenge. Obstacle after obstacle lay ahead: crawling like a spider over jagged cargo nets, hiking up stairs and sliding down fire poles, climbing more cargo nets and crossing over structures that had no safety nets below. It was an adrenaline rush to say the least.
With the finish line in sight, we could see smoke and fire in the distance. We ran towards the fire and hurdled two sets of burning logs only to run directly into a barbed-wired filled mud pit. It was deep and beyond muddy…fantastic! The mud pit spanned about 30 yards and we boot-camped it under the wire. Covered in mud from head-to-toe, we crossed the finish line and were given our rewards: a medal and a cold beer!
Before heading out we were hosed down by a water truck. This was both fun and necessary! As mud poured down our bodies, we headed towards the parking lot and stopped short of the massive pile of dirty shoes that warriors donated to charity. These shoes would be cleaned and given to those that needed them most in the local community.
All in all, this race was the craziest one so far! I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to partake in the future! As my fellow warriors would attest:
“It’s all about the Mud, Sweat & Beer!“
Next year, I look forward to sharing this experience with both fellow warriors and newbie competitors, and of course, compete for best warrior time and costume!
To see pictures from the race go to: Warrior Dash meets Run4Papa
To see video from the race go to: Live Commentary as a Warrior