* From: Amy Lillis
* Event Details
Parking: in a field about 5 minutes down the road. Since it had rained all week, I was expecting it to be a mess. There were a few muddy spots, and some people slowed down too much and got stuck, but it was actually not too bad. We were bussed to and from the venue and there were plenty of buses. The only downside here was that it was a fairly long walk down and up a muddy road from the buses to the festival once you arrived at the venue.
Facilities: there were lots of porta-johns. Sadly, when I went (and took my daughters) around noon, they all seemed to be out of tissue. Also, since there were no changing tents (seriously?), people were changing in the porta-johns, so they were getting pretty filthy.
Vendors: There was definitely a good choice of food, with the traditional turkey legs and beer, and the farm had a stand selling mediocre sandwiches and ice cream. I hear there was barbeque available near the entrance. Monster Energy Drinks was giving away free samples.
Schwag: Warrior Dash gets this right. The tee shirts are good quality, although they have a weird picture on the front, and the warrior hat is always a hit. The medals are different each year, which is really a nice touch.
Festival: Warrior Dash always does a great job with the festival.
* Race Details
I ran this course twice. The first lap was on my own and I did well. I placed in the top 17% overall and the top 4% for my age group. The second lap was with my husband as his first obstacle course race. I think he liked it and I’m hoping he’ll be back for other OCRs after this.
I have run Warrior Dash twice before this year. It was the first obstacle course race I ever did and it got me hooked on the sport. I thought last year’s race at Thomson Speedway in CT was easier than the one at Amesbury Sports Park in 2011, but it was still a lot of fun. This year, I was disappointed. The venue was fine. There was mud galore — with all the rain we’ve had in the last week, the trails through the woods were just completely muddy. It was knee deep in some places!
The obstacles were boring. A full recap isn’t necessary, but here are the basics: the first was a short incline wall. There was no rope, but it simply required a short jog to it and two steps up to reach the top. Tall people only needed one step. On the other side were 3 or 4 short walls to hop over. There was a tire obstacle that was completely lackluster; there were just a few small tires piled up. There was a net to go under, but it was so high that you could just bend down. There was an A-frame cargo net; it might have been the shortest one I’ve seen. The first time I went through (I got to it around 9:00 am), there was a big hole in the middle of it. It was repaired by the time I came back through, but I went a different way.
They had a cargo net strung between a couple of poles, so you had to traverse it; it was mildly challenging if you went low. The Warrior Roast was fine and the final mud pit was deep and muddy, as always.
The most notable obstacle was their Great Warrior Wall. This is a good one because it’s about 20 feet high with ropes coming down the front. They nailed a few 1X2s to it for steps, but it did give a lot of people trouble, especially when the ropes got muddy.
If having boring obstacles wasn’t bad enough, there was also way too much running between obstacles. It really felt like they must have left some of them on the truck. There had to be a way to spread out the obstacles, or to bring more of them.
If it hadn’t been for this being my husband’s first OCR, I would have been really angry with myself for choosing this race over CMC. In the end, I don’t know if I’ll go back to Warrior Dash next year, and that makes me sad.
* From: Mary
* Event Details
Travel in was very easy. My fellow Warriors and I utilized parking at an antique store right down the road for $10. Parking through WD was also $10. I’m not exactly sure where it was, but it involved getting bused in. It seems like buses were going in and out fairly readily, but I can’t speak to how convenient it was.
Vendors & Registration:
We were in the 8:30 wave, so we were there pretty early, but when we were walking up the path, some vendors were still setting up shop. It looked a little haphazard that everything wasn’t prepared by the time racers were arriving. Registration was in an obvious place and was split up by gender, and then alphabetically. The process went smooth for me, but I did see quite a few people who got up to check in only to find out they were a boy in the girl line, or vice versa, and then get pointed in the other direction. There could have been better signage, but nonetheless lines were moving smoothly. I did find it odd that they had a separate station for “ID Check” to get your 21+ wristband. It seemed waiting in a line a second could have been avoided since they already checked our IDs at registration, but again, it was still moving pretty quickly, so it wasn’t too much of a hassle.
Short of the start and a few obstacles leading up to the finish line, there wasn’t much left for spectators. There was no spectator path, or even spectator check points, which was too bad. We had a friend along for photos, and there wasn’t much opportunity given. Whether it’s for photos, or support, it’s nice to see your loved ones as you move throughout the course, but this set up didn’t allow for that. On the bright side, spectators weren’t charged. Honestly it would have been ridiculous if they had been, given they weren’t given a chance to spectate too much of anything.
This is the most schwag I’ve gotten at a race. The WD viking hats were totally cheap, but funny and cute for photos. I really liked the light weight material of the shirts, although the volunteer at registration told me they ran small when I inquired, but when I got home, I was disappointed to find my large was definitely a true to size large. The shirts were also designed to be gender specific, which was an interesting touch. The ladies shirt had a silhouette of the helmet, with braids, while the mens had the helmet with a beard. Upon finishing the race, we got a WD medal. It was rectangular metal and read “I Survived Warrior Dash” I later noticed, it’s also a bottle opener! I thought that was an awesome add on, especially since it wasn’t noticeable right away. We were also awarded with the customary free beer. A 16 oz Miller Lite can. I think it’s always nice when races utilize local breweries, but you won’t often find me complaining about free beer.
* Race Details
This was really ankle rolling central. The path seemed as though it was recently cleared, and there were stumps, rocks, sticks and other uneven surfaces all over the place for a good portion of the course. I found it a bit disappointing I couldn’t move faster, but on that sort of running ground I always air on the side of caution. It was nearly incline free the whole race, short of a few small hills, but overall it was a pretty flat course. If you’re a mud lover, this course didn’t leave anything to be desired. There were LOTS of opportunities to get muddy, the brunt of that was in the last obstacle before the finish line, which was essentially crawling through a mud filled trench under barbed wire. My initial reaction was feeling a bit annoyed that we would be getting so muddy at the very end, but it made for great photos, and the saving grace was the plethora of rinsing stations right after the finish line.
Starting the race was amazingly lackluster. While this is only my third OCR, I had already become accustomed to the challenge of jumping over a wall to get corralled before the race. There is something motivating and exciting about doing that first “obstacle” before the race has even begun- to feel the energy of your fellow racers, as you’re all squeezed together, about to embark on the same journey. Instead, I saw a large group of people loitering near the start line and confirmed that was, in fact, it. We were all just standing around, waiting to hear “Go.” Once the bullhorn was blown- we were off! Sort of. There was a solid 5 minutes of bottle neck before the trail and an obstacle caused a natural separation of the crowd. The rest of the race followed suit with the start, as the obstacles to come really left something to be desired. The “Road Rage” obstacle featured on the website as a number of empty car frames along with rows and rows of tires, was a sad stack of about 5
0 tires, around 10 feet start to finish. “Storming Normandy” pictured as wood X’s holding up lines of barbed wire weaving back and forth, was just a net you could easily side step under. When we ran up to the trenches there was a sign reading “Danger Barbed Wire,” and I felt excited for some good old muddy army crawling, but then we stepped up to be greeted by a volunteer explaining “Don’t worry,” there wasn’t actually barbed wire (Side Note: Why is this good news? We ARE obstacle course runners, are we not?). The course map also indicated we would be doing “Capsized Catamaran,” as well as the “Chaotic Crossover” neither of which were included. Seemingly, the replacements were hay bails and something else unremarkable that I’m probably forgetting. The course map and website were absolutely a glorified version of the below average obstacles we actually encountered. If I were to pick, the “Great Warrior Wall” was the favorite for me, as walls tend to challenge me the most, ph
ysically and mentally, and this one (although with ropes and steps) was the highest I’ve encountered. The obstacles involving cargo nets were also fun. I could have easily run a second wave if I felt like the race was fun enough to bother. I was also disappointed there were no mileage signs throughout the race. Quite honestly, I’m not overly convinced the race was a full 5k, but it’s hard to know if that was just skewed perception because the obstacles were lacking difficulty. At one point I felt like we were probably about half way through, just as a fellow racer ran by proclaiming “Half a mile left!” Three races in, I certainly don’t consider myself a seasoned racer, but this course was really quite easy.
Post race I always enjoy sitting down and enjoying a beer, but we settled on standing as there were maybe half a dozen tables for seating, with only a handful of seats at each. I will say, the band was awesome! Really a highlight. It was an acoustic cover band, playing todays hits, and they were a lot of fun. They were playing consistently from when we finished to when we left about 40 minutes later. As another fun post race activity, the photo area they had set up was also nice, especially since there was little opportunity to take photos other wise. A big wooden “Warrior Dash” logo and viking hat set the scene to capture some pre and post race muddy moments. If seating had been better we likely would have hung out for a bit longer.
I’m rating this race an Average- just based on the fact that I don’t have a huge ground for comparison. Although, my instincts tell me this may have actually been a below average event.