Warrior Dash events are traditionally not as difficult in terms of obstacles as many of the other races, Instead Warrior Dash events are more of a running races with a few non-challenging obstacles thrown in along the way.
For the World Championships they kept to their tradition and the course was identical to the one myself and many others competed in to earn our qualifying entry. They used 12 of their most commonly used obstacles, and none of them were difficult. However, what the race lacked in in terms of obstacles, the terrain made up for.
With the largest cash prize being offered for a 5k running event, $!00,000, their were many of the sports' top athletes on hand vying for a shot at the top prize, $30,000. Because of the nature of the course, the clear favorites would include, Max King, Hobie Call, and Cody Moat. All three are extremely talented trail runners and each have earned numerous victories across the world. Other top guys included John Yastko, Hunter McIntyre, Ryan Atkins and Brakken Kraker. For me, I was hoping for a Top 20 finish.
post-race game face...exhaustion
I drove down Thursday morning and stayed with my friends Jason and AJ Snovel who live in Sacramento. On Friday we went to the venue to pick up my race packet and attend the course briefing and walk through. This was our opportunity to see the course and the obstacle locations. We were not allowed to touch any of the obstacles, but could ask questions about any of them. Jason and I walked most of the course and I knew the hills were going to be tough.
We left and went back home, chilled out on the porch drinking coffee and then Jason's girlfriend, Mary, made us an amazing chicken quinoa, rice, taco/burrito dinner. I hit the sack around 9:45pm because I was getting up early the next morning.
Alarm went off at 4:50am. Took a warm shower to warm up, ate breakfast with coffee, then left the house around 6am. Arrived at the parking lot at about 7am, which we then were shuttled to the start/finish area. Everyone as dressed in warm clothes as the temps were in the low 50's. As the sun began to rise so did the temps, and after warming up I knew I wouldn't need to wear much clothing other than my Anytime Fitness shorts during the race.
It's funny to watch everyone warm up a slightly different way. Each has it's routine, and all serve the same purpose; to warm up the body temp, loosen up the hips, and create some elasticity in the muscles.
At 7:50am were were instructed to go to the "corral" to get the final briefing, listen to the National Anthem and prepare for the start. They put us in a large open field and we were able to line up side by side so there would be no disadvantage to positioning. It was pretty cool to see 150 guys lined up preparing to do battle. At exactly 8am the gun went off and so were we.
We sprinted across the field for about 200 yards to an open gate that led us up the brutally steep first hill. This quickly split the field and set the tone for what was to come. I paced myself up the hill trying not to let the adrenaline get the best of me and burn up all my matches in the first mile. The lead guys were flying up this hill making it look easy, although I'm sure it didn't feel any easier to them.
After a short traverse, we quickly descended a steep hill on loose gravel before reaching the first obstacle, "Storming Normandy"; crawling or rolling under netting for 10 yards. We continued to descend and reached the "Road Rage" obstacle; climbing up and over several junk cars and then run through several tires. This was kind of fun but I could already feel the legs beginning to get heavy. More steep descending on a gravel road and then we reached the "wall", a straight up hill with tons of ruts. I, nor anyone around me, was able to run this, and I would love to know if any of the top guys could run it. It was probably 100 yards, but it was so steep it was like doing the Versa Climber machine.
Next up was the "Vicious Valleys" obstacle which consists of having to jump over 5 ft gap ditches. Each one is filled with water and is made of soft mud on each end. Normally I have no problem jumping over each of these, but this time, I couldn't quite make the final two. My shoes were now covered with mud, and it sure felt like the heavy kind, if there is such a thing. Each leg now felt like a 100 lbs and lifting my feet wasn't easy.
After a few more obstacles, I reached the half way point on the course and it was all downhill from here. As with most Warrior Dash events, they position almost half of their obstacles near the finish, so even though I was close I knew I still had lots to cover. Their infamous obstacle, "Goliath" was near the finish. Its a giant obstacle to look at. It consists of a cargo net climb, to a stair climb, to walking across a balance beam high above water (a loose rope on each side to hold onto), followed by a 20 ft. water slide into a pool of water.
playin' in the mud
is that a Lochness Monster
The final two obstacles included lots of mud, "Mud Mounds" and "Mud". By the time I crossed the finish line I was all mud. Check out the video...
Max King, also from Bend, posted the fastest time of just over 22 minutes to win not only the race but $30,000. Also making the podium were Hobie Call (2nd place), and John Yastko (3rd place), Cody Moat (4th place) and Brakken Kraker (5th place). I finished 34th overall. There were a total of 143 racers that competed in the race. Click here for complete results
It was great to be part of something special and now I am already looking forward to this weekend's race, the OCR World Championships in Oregonia, Ohio. With 9 miles to cover and nearly 30 obstacles it will be a completely different race than the Warrior Dash event. The obstacles in the OCR W.C race will require much more strength and if one cannot be completed a time penalty will be assessed. This will most likely be the toughest event of the season for most of us.