Sport & Recreation

Warrior Dash

Yesterday marked day two of Warrior Dash at Lake Elsinore, which was held just behind The Lake Elsinore Storm Stadium. All told close to 15,000 warriors participated in this unique race.

“What the hell is Warrior Dash?
Warrior Dash is the ultimate event for thrill-seeking athletes. This running series is held on some of the nation’s most demanding and unique terrain. Participants will conquer extreme obstacles and celebrate their feat with music, beer, warrior helmets and muddy shorts.” from Warrior Dash

Photo by Crispin Courtenay

The race was open to all 14 years and up, and both days were 100% booked, an amazing turnout. Good humor, music, mud, fun times for all.

As you walked into the registration area the sweet, sticky smell of beer wafted through the air. Closing in on the huge ‘beer garden’ the smell became more pungent, with the aroma of sausages permeating everything. Young and old were in attendance, Viking and non-Viking. There were roughly 1,500 people present at any given time, bands were scheduled throughout the day and played three hours after the race on both days.

“There better be Gatorade at the end.”

The crowd was amazingly well-behaved, polite and above all happy. Smiling faces were everywhere, with laughter emanating from all corners. This is one awesome event, supremely planned and organized with a near military precision. Police and security were present in droves on land and sea, but not needed. They just milled around together telling their own jokes. I have never seen such a large crowd have such a fun time before, without someone getting bent out of shape. Maybe that is the magic behind Warrior Dash, sweat mud and beer.

The racers ran a three mile course and a bevy of obstacles such as the cargo net, fire pit, rolling logs and a mud crawl.

“Outa beer, I need more beer, give me more beer baby.”

The more timid racers approach the fire pit with trepidation. They cannot be blamed, the wind was gusting to 30 mph, fanning the flames up to five feet high, making this a real hazard indeed.

“Holy crap my ass is warm.”

The temperature during the day dropped from the high 70’s to the high 50’s with overcast sky. Perfect weather for racing, but it put a chill on the after-party of the cold, mud-covered contestants.

The strong runners finished the race a good ten minutes ahead of the main pack. Stragglers on the other hand were lapped, and finished when they damn-well pleased. Some walked, some beer-jogged, some sprinted, ran out of steam and ended up crawling towards the finish line.

Tables of bananas, sunflower seeds and water awaited the Warriors as they crossed the finish line to ward off muscle cramps, salt loss and dehydration. Queen’s ‘We are the Champions’, was blasting away in the background, and for once, seemed appropriate.

“Almost there”

All racers–of age–were given a mug of beer, Viking helmet, t-shirt and medallion if they completed the race, and most did.

Mud pit, filled with mud, manure covered overhead with barb wire (real, not fake). This is no race for wimps. Photo by Crispin Courtenay

The Warrior Dash was certainly a huge hit, and vendors started running low on food. Apparently Warriors eat hardily. Good thing they had massive amounts of Pyramid Beer, as running out libations would not have been a good thing.

Used shoes for Green Sneaker

Racers were encouraged to donate their old shoes, and there were several mountains of shoes present. They are recycled by Green Sneakers and provided as affordable footwear for people in need around the world. Photo by Crispin Courtenay

Visit www.greensneakers.org for more information.

The warrior dash is organized by Red Frog Events and currently has nine races across the United States. There are prizes for best costume, best mens and womens times, and overall. The organizers have another race called The Great Urban Race which looks less muddy, but no less crazed. It is currently held at 23 cities across the US and Canada. The San Diego event will take place October 23, 2010, register early as these races fill up fast.

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