I’ve felt more accomplished after other races – like the triathlon and the half marathon that I ran – but the Warrior Dash was probably the most fun race I’ve ever done! The hubby felt the same way.
We started to get an idea for how big this thing was going to be when the hubby and I arrived at the Comfort Inn in Joliet, IL and three other people were checking in who were also doing the Dash the next day. In fact, our hotel was full of Warriors. I’m not surprised, because when we arrived at the parking lot Saturday morning and hopped on one of the 67 busses circulating from the parking lot to the race area, we learned that 13,000 people would be doing the race over the course of the next two days. It was seriously a giant, muddy party with music, beer, food and an obstacle race. Awesome!
"Team Awesome" (me) and "Team Not So Awesome" (hubby) before the race with Dark Wing Duck
We arrived with plenty of time to get ready for our 10:00 wave (they ran waves every half hour all day for two days!). As our start time approached, we joined one to two hundred other runners in the start area. Many people wore costumes or shirts that they had made, like ours. One couple ran as Calvin and Hobbs. We met a girl dressed as Dark Wing Duck. And we had a lot of fun with a group of seven women from Ann Arbor, MI who dressed in their best 80’s garb – with side ponytails and everything. It was fabulous!
And finally, we counted down the last 10 seconds and were signaled to start by blasts of flame shooting from the top of the starting arch!
The entire course was full of slick mud and grass – through the woods, out in fields, everywhere. Over the first half mile, the field of runners began to spread out. Then the obstacles began. We ran down slick hills, on planks across a pit, over junkyard cars and wooden spools, we crawled through tunnels, sloshed through a swamp, clawed up a muddy hill. We climbed hay bales and a cargo net. We ran up and down a field of dirt mounds. We jumped over burning logs, walls, giant pipes. And finally, we crawled through a mud pit under barbed wire. At the finish line, volunteers were waiting to put our finisher medals over our heads.
The reward for finishing this awesome 3 mile race coated head to toe in thick grey mud? Free beer! The first beer, that is. After rinsing off under fire hoses, we dried quickly in the sun talking with our new friends, eating turkey legs and BBQ sandwiches and dancing to the music.
Soon, we joined in a massive tug of war game in the mud. (Are you seeing a theme here?) We won!
And finally, we learned how to throw axes like real warriors. I hit the target with more axes than the hubby. Go me!
At this point, we decided we were ready to head back to the hotel to clean up and rest up before going out on the town with the 80’s girls for the evening.
Unfortunately, we had to cut our trip short when we received word that the hubby’s grandpa was in critical condition. We packed the car and headed home hoping to see him one last time in the hospital. Sadly, we got a call on the road that Grandpa was gone.
Despite the sad end to the weekend, the Warrior Dash itself was one of the most fun events the hubby and I have been to! It was truly a blast, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.