It was pouring rain with rolling thunder when we got to Windham Mountain last weekend, and it couldn't have been more perfect for an event whose tag-line is Mud. Sweat. Beer.!
The Warrior Dash is a 5k obstacle run that specializes in mud. Over 1 million people participate annually, many of them in costume. Anything warrior is fair game – I saw everything from Xena to Han Solo to Civil War soldiers! A new cadre of runners lines up every half hour to take to the course under a burst of flame. Up hill, through troughs of mud, over walls, across ropes and through tunnels they run, laugh, slide... and get filthy.
They cross the finish line to steins of beer (or Gatorade), music, Ren Faire style turkey legs and assorted high-adrenaline rides. By the time my husband and his friend crossed the finish line the sun had come out and it was gorgeous. We've already got the event on the calendar for next year... and next time I'll be running instead of watching.
Interested? Here are couple things to know before you go that don't show up on the website:
- Dogs are allowed. The website says they're not, but there were a ton of dogs there. Be forewarned, however that they too will be crazy mudballs before you leave.
- Don't bring your kids. There were plenty of kids there, but I pretty much thought the parents were nuts. There were people wearing some pretty skimpy things to run in, and the food choices were geared towards adults. There were rides for kids, but they were $20 a pop. There also wasn't a lot of shade, and kids don't handle hot or wet nearly as well as adults. Get a sitter – it will be worth every penny.
- Wear sufficient clothing. Costumes are fun and welcome, but you'll be slogging through mud and sliding over rocks – wear something that can offer protection!
- Get there early. You have to use tickets to buy food, and tickets have to be purchased in cash at the exchange counter. So bring plenty of cash and then stop at the counter when you arrive to stock up on tickets – otherwise you wind up spending a lot of time waiting in line later, just to wait in line again at the food tent!
- Get there early (seriously)! You need time to park, turn in your waiver, get your shirt (and free hat!) and then either drop your gear at the gear check or run it back out to your car. Line-up for each wave starts as soon as the last wave is out of the gate (a new wave goes every half hour). Give yourself lots of time!
- Bring a change of clothes. You do not want to be driving home in the same clothes you raced in. (Trust me.) Also, bring plastic bags to transport the muddy clothes you'll be taking off.
- Sign up for an early time slot. With new waves of runners every half hour, you can have three or even four different waves of people on the course at a time, depending on participants' speed and capabilities. That can mean backlogs at some obstacles. The later in the day you run, the more people there are hanging around from earlier runs at the food tents and rides as well. If you love a crowd, come late. If you're not a fan of waiting around, come early.
Are you a Warrior?