Warrior Dash – Horseshoe Valley, ON

It’s Happening

I’ve had this dream before. It’s the apocalypse, and as a horde of people run for their lives, I am stuck there in place – my legs slowly locking up in wet cement. I even catch a glimpse of Batman and Spider-man and all their super friends zipping by, running from whatever

A nurse unapologetically bumps my shoulder, then continues to flee, never offering to help me and my newly diagnosed Jello Leg Syndrome.

Except, this time it’s not a dream. To be fair, it’s not the apocalypse either. It’s a Warrior Dash, a 5 km race through mud, cargo nets, ski hills and whatever else the event organizers want to throw at a handful of dressed-up weekend warriors and masochists. That Jello Leg Syndrome I’ve developed is a direct side-effect of the 3 feet of mud I am trying to wade backwards through to find the shoe it ate off my right foot.

The Dash

Run by Red Frog Events (the same folks who put on the Great Urban Race), the Dash is only a few years old, but they have sprung up all over North America and caught on quickly. Our event at Horseshoe Resort had flights of racers (about 300 or so) heading out every half hour from 8 am until 6:30 pm.

Because I seemingly refuse to allow early risers into my circle of friends, we didn’t arrive until around noon. The first thing to stand out to me was the 4 foot tall pile of muddy shoes located beside the finish line. Racers are invited to discard their inevitably mud soaked kicks into a pile to be cleaned and donated at a later date. It looked like a lot of people we’re taking up the option to ditch their runners, and getting hosed down by the friendly firemen, post-race.

The Folks

The variety of people you’ll encounter at the Warrior Dash is wide. From folks who’ve shown up to race their competitors and the clock, to those looking to get out in the sun, and those looking for an excuse to bust out their favourite Halloween costumes once again.

We saw everything from elderly men sprinting out of the gates wearing nothing but the fierce glimpse of determination, to hippie couples kumbayaing their way through the muddy rivers of Warriorville. If you don’t fit in here, then you’re probably hard to stereotype.

Safety Tips from Safety Jamie

Don’t be fooled! Despite its focus on post-race beverages, costumes and mud wrestling with a bunch of strangers – Warrior Dash is still a hilly 5+ kilometre run (where you get to drink, dress up, and mud-wrestle strangers).

Over this past weekend a number of my friends ran the event at Whistler, BC, and I am told that the organizers didn’t shy away from the hills there either (which are exactly the same size as Ontario’s, if my memory serves me right).

This warning certainly isn’t meant as a “don’t do the race” (You totally should do the race), but perhaps more as a “Don’t sprint the first 100 metres on a full stomach” kind of warning. Your adrenaline will be revving when those flame-throwers kick up and you countdown to the starting gun, but I urge you to consider the arduous road ahead.

We had a platoon of injured Warriors with us (injuries sustained from our reckless lives – not from the Dash), but the Dash will give you ample opportunity to throw your body into the line of fire – both literally, by allowing you to throw your body through a line of fire, and figuratively, by letting you climb over a bunch of things on a mountain.

We hit the course a little later in the day, and found a few of the obstacles were left pretty battered by the morning Warriors. In some instance – like mud puddles and hay stacks – this made the course even more awesome (The only thing more fun than mud is well-trampled mud). In others, like the Slip-and-Slide-and-Hit-Your-Ass-Off-The-Rocks obstacle, I honestly would have opted for a more pampered experience.

That said, if you’re looking for a realistic excuse to explain all those bruises on your ass, Warrior Dash welcomes you with open arms.

(Warning: Don’t wear your Sunday best to Warrior Dash. And don’t mud-wrestle anyone without prior written consent).