Spartan Race

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Warrior Dash

I have to admit, I've developed an affinity for obstacle races.  Jumping over stuff and crawling under things appeals to me on some level I didn't realize I had.  I loved the Super Spartan, and was really looking forward to the Carolinas Warrior Dash I ran this weekend.

This one's run in stages 30 minutes apart over the course of 2 days. Mrs. RQ and I were signed up for the 10:30 Saturday heat, and I think that was probably ideal - not so early that we had to get up ridiculously early, but not so late that the parking lot was overcrowded, etc.  We had a little cloud cover and a bit of wind from one of the way, way outer bands of hurricane Irene, but other than that couldn't have had better weather.

    This one's effectively a 5k with about 10 obstacles thrown in in several clusters throughout the race.  The course itself was slightly rolling grass and dirt road with an occasional short hill thrown in - nothing too challenging. 

    We hit the first obstacle about a mile or so in - a series of four foot walls you had to hop over followed by barbed wite you had to crawl under. No issues. Immediately following that was a series of football-practice type tires to run through followed by a bunch of industrial, contractor-sized dumpsters you had to climb through (the type you throw sheet rock and  plywood in, rather than garbage).  They would have been fairly hard to traverse, but there was a piece of rebar welded to each one about four feet up the side, making a step that helped out a lot. After that, we hit the woods for a while - really pretty forested trail next to a pond.

   We emerged into a clearing just in time to see our next obstacle - a series of planks set at odd angles that you had to walk across.   Next up was a fifteen or so foot wall (with 1x4 ever 2 feet or so) you had to climb over with a rope.  Then it was back to the woods for a short time.

     Coming out of the woods this time, we hit what was apparently the hardest task of the day for a lot of people.  It simply consisted of a 50ish foot long tent of black plastic about 2 feet off the ground.  Your task? Get to the other side.  I ran up to it, dropped to all fours, a bear crawled straight through (well, I actually ran straight into somebody in the pitch black darkness under it, but promptly went around them) and popped out on the other side. And waited. And waited.  I realized at that point that their were people coming out who had been waaaayyy ahead of me.  Apparently, I was the only idiot who didn't mind blasting straight through. Everyone else was a good bit more cautious.  Mrs. RQ later said that was the worst obstacle of the day for her, and she wasn't alone. 

    In rapid succession after that, we hit a climb across a cargo net suspended about 8 feet off the ground and what the Warrior people refer to as an Assassin's Pole - kind of a series of platforms you climb up to reach a fire pole you then slide down.  We then hit a waist deep farm pond we had to slog through - hopping over 4 or 5 floating logs suspended in the muck at the same time. There's a clause in the Warrior Dash release that mentions you might go through water that hasn't been tested for parasites, bacteria, fungus, or anything else. This was, without question, that water. 

   In sight of the finish line, we had to climb the obligatory cargo net A-frame and the go over something reminiscent of a playground jungle gym.  We then got to jump over a few rows of burning hard wood.  I was very proud of Mrs. RQ - this really bothered her at the Spartan, but she sailed right on over this time.  Lastly, we hit the mud pit, which was filled with a very familiar Carolina red clay.  To quote Shakespeare, it was not as wide as a barn door, and not as deep as a well, but sufficed.

     I had a great time with this race, and I'll definitely do it again, but it was orders of magnitude easier than the Spartan.  Cool, enjoyable, and messy, but not hard.  It's one that can easily be done by folks who aren't in tremendous shape, which is part of it's charm. And oh yeah, everyone gets a fuzzy Viking hat.

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