Last year’s Warrior Dash marked a lot of firsts for me… while it was my 4th ever race event, it was my first “trail run” and first obstacle/mud run. Looking back I remember being miserable and tired running “off pavement” for the first time. I kept having to stop and rest my legs because they hurt… granted I didn’t wear running shoes either as I only had one pair and didn’t want them ruined… but every step it seemed was agony! The obstacles themselves were fun and I remember vividly taking those first steps into the mud and then crawling through it… like a complete badass lol.
Fast forward one year: I have many many more races under my belt, several trail races, and have completed a Spartan Sprint OCR. My running shoes I didn’t want to dirty up last year are now my “mud shoes” and I can’t wait to jump in.
Warrior Dash Michigan, Saturday July 26th, Mt. Morris, 9am wave. – We signed up for the WD well before the normal release date through a holiday special can’t miss deal. Because of this we were assigned to the 8:30 competitive wave but opted to wait until 9 since we weren’t up for competing. The first thing we noticed is how different the packet pickup was run this year… you were assigned a number on the spot and the waiver was all electronic. Props for conserving all that paper! However, they took away race timing for whatever reason which got a lot of people upset. Instead, they gave you free race photos so I wasn’t going to complain. I’d rather have that photo than some time on a list somewhere.
The other big change you can’t help but see because… well it’s basically the only thing you can see. Goliath: the big giant, whopping, mammoth structure that takes up the entire spectator area. Not scary or intimidating but definitely cool looking! It would be kind of a bummer to come and watch because there almost nothing else to see from anywhere you have access. It also meant that I couldn’t get any photos for the blog so I held off until the official pictures were released.
In the starting corral we had a “guest hype-man” err woman to get us pumped up… I think they pulled her from the crowd… I don’t know the details on that exactly but she tried her best to get us hyped up. It really was a good try but in the world of mud runs, the hype-man sets the mood for the start… so I wasn’t exactly pumped.
Horns blew, flames shot, and we were off! The first mile is all open run. This year I was better prepared and we broke out well ahead of most of the people in our wave. The first couple obstacles were forgettable… under some tarp thing, over a wall… and then we got to the water. The object is to swim to a floating platform, climb out, then jump back in at the other side and swim to shore. The water level was higher this year for sure but that wasn’t the real problem… a girl got stuck because she couldn’t lift herself out of the water. There were people both in and out of the water trying to help her up causing a complete traffic jam. No one could pass on the platform so no one could get out of the water. People just kept piling up behind me in the water so I was basically being pushed towards the platform with nowhere to go. My shoes were starting to weigh me down and I’m trying like hell not to get kicked in the face by this girl. The GF is a weak swimmer and began to panic wanting my to keep her afloat …which would have drown me for sure. FINALLY they got this girl up after what seemed like ages (maybe a minute or 2 I’m sure but it was intense) I was able to get out and get to the other side but now I was exhausted and that last swim was a rough one!
A little winded, we didn’t quite have the pep we had at the start. The course had changed a little from last year, the obstacles definitely changed. The fire jump was on it’s own instead of at the end which I liked because we were able to get a clear shot for a photo. (I was totally looking at the wrong photographer though lol) Finally we made it to “Goliath” which was very easy for me to navigate, however, the GF was scared to death! The slide was pretty fun, and the mud crawl wasn’t very muddy (they were still adding dirt as we were in it trying to muck it up I think) but we crossed the finish in an estimated 50 mins.
In the end, the WD was a good time. It’s fun, easy, and you get good swag. I wouldn’t pay full price for it… $50 early bird is probably the max but they typically run flash sales at even better prices. (I think we paid $45 for our entry). I will most likely do it again next year but I think if I missed it there would be no love lost. I guess after doing a more intense OCR the WD has just lost it’s appeal.