Warrior Dash is the OCR series that started it all for me and for many others in the sport. Therefore, when they are in my area, I always give them a visit to see what has been going on with their series. Here’s what I thought of their Kansas City event:
Due to heavy rains parking was at a nearby school and athletes were bused over to the race area. The messages put out on Facebook instructed participants to arrive around 1 hour 15 min before their wave time. I showed up a little earlier than that and then proceeded to wait for the buses. The first bus showed up 45 minutes before the start of the race and the bus driver didn’t have clear directions on where he was supposed to go. With ongoing rain, I’m pretty sure they didn’t have all their volunteers show up, which complicated things behind the scenes. I applaud them for being flexible but expect them to have their plan a little tighter as an experienced race company.
Check in was super-fast with no lines. Despite feeling a bit rushed I still had time to check in, use the bathroom and do a quick warm up before the start of the event. The late buses ended up causing some anxiety but no real problems as far as I could see.
Warrior Dash is advertised as a 5k that now has a 10k option and, in some locations, even a 1-mile option. The KC course only had the 5k and 10k option. The 10k is two loops of the 5k course minus the last two obstacles. I thought they did a good job clearly labeling the turn-off to the 10k and did not feel like there was any confusion even while running full speed with a maxed out heart rate. I was a little disappointed that my GPS clocked the 5k race at around 2.5 miles.
Warrior Dash is known for their more introductory obstacles and I knew that going into the event. Still, I kind of felt let down by this race. Honestly, it felt like all I did was low crawl obstacles until the final set, which were all within a ½ mile of the finish line. While I personally didn’t like this for racing, it was cool for spectators that they could see most of the fun obstacles. Plus, if you wanted to go back and play on some of the obstacles, they were all right there and it didn’t require you to do a lot of running.
Towards the end of the race, I encountered obstacles like the Damn Dam, Splitsville, Fo Shizzle My Drizzle, and El Capitan. The Damn Dam was a nice take on a warped wall with the outside lanes having steps which helped prevent backups later in the day while giving people an option to challenge themselves in the middle. Splitsville and Fo Shizzle My Drizzle were both takes on balance obstacles that were made more fun through the addition of water spraying around you. El Capitan was very visually appealing with its stacked cargo containers, net high above the ground that ended with a slide. It was a fun obstacle for people to test their fear of heights as well as enjoy the massive slide.
While I thought the final set of obstacles were great, the rest of the race just seemed like running and low crawls. Missing were some of the great obstacles they’ve had in the past including Fisherman’s Catch (their rig), Upslide Down (dragging yourself across a slide via net) and what was supposed to be a new 2019 obstacle Super Fly (their zip line obstacle). They aren’t advertising for Fisherman’s Catch anymore, so if I would have checked the website ahead of time I would have known that one wouldn’t be there. However, they do advertise Get a Grip (a rig like structure), which they list as an obstacle but has historically been in the festival area only. Get a Grip wasn’t in the festival or on the course.
Personally, I would have enjoyed if some of the more fun obstacles were out on the course instead of all crammed in at the end. This obstacle gauntlet at the end really made me feel like the rest of the course didn’t have much else to offer.
Warrior Dash remains a staple of the industry provided a fun course for beginners or those looking to race OCR that is more speed based with less technical obstacles. It is also a great race to bring first timers to whether that be a friend or a family member. There was heavy rain the week of the event and it was raining on/off the day of the event so I’m sure that caused lots of unforeseen problems on the back end that I couldn’t see. As an established race brand that is on their 10th year of racing, I hold them to a higher standard though.
I was a little disappointed, but I do have one more Warrior Dash on my schedule later this year. With two in a calendar year, it means I’ll earn the Epic Warrior medal (also available for registering for two different distances at the same race). Hopefully, the weather will be nicer and it will be a better representation of the brand. Looking forward to one more weekend of “Mud, Sweat and Beers” in 2019.
Want to read more about Warrior Dash and 100+ other OCR events? Pick up a copy of Mud Run Guide’s Ultimate OCR Bucket List, now available from Strength & Speed. You can read about them in the chapters on races with a great post-event party, races where you can earn medals for completing several of their events and you can hear about when they used to hold a world championship in the final chapter.
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This author is part of the Mud Run Crew and received a free race entry in return for an independent review. All opinions are those of the author and were not influenced by the race sponsor or Mud Run Guide.