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Top 11 things a Warrior Dash virgin should know

Here I am finishing the 2011 Warrior Dash in Manchester, Tenn.

You’ve seen the pictures on Facebook.  You’ve heard the stories from your buddies.  You may have even seen reports from local news stations.
Enough is enough.  You’re ready to tackle the Warrior Dash.
“Mud runs” like the Warrior Dash and its tougher, more-demanding older brother, the Tough Mudder, are gaining in popularity in the U.S. at a rampant pace, and it’s no surprise.  They contain all the key ingredients that you need to attract health and fitness people, especially those in their 20s-30s:  live, loud music; insane costumes; cold beer; free, fluffy Viking hats; and enormous turkey legs to gnaw upon after you’ve conquered the course.
And, oh yeah — for the Warrior Dash, you get to run 3.1 miles and navigate some 15 obstacles, including a leap over a fire pit and a swim through a trench of gooey mud with barbed wire strung overhead.
What more could you ask out of a Saturday morning?
So before you set out for your appointed Warrior Dash location at your scheduled heat (race) time, here are the top 11 things to keep in mind:
  1. You don’t have to be Tarzan or Roger Bannister.  If you can handle a traditional 5K, you can probably handle this.  Take your time.  If you encounter an obstacle you’re uncomfortable with, just go around it.  You’re not going there to win.  You’re going there to have fun.
  2. It’s gonna get ugly.  You’re going to get muddy and whatever you’re wearing will quite possibly be ruined, especially if it’s white.  Dress accordingly.
  3. Got young children?  Leave ‘em with the babysitter.  It’s not what I would call a little kid-friendly environment. 
  4. Don’t wear your favorite running shoes.  In fact, wear whatever running shoes you are OK with immediately throwing away.
  5. It’s not only running and climbing.  You will probably be on your knees at some point, so if you have issues in that area, consider wearing kneepads.
  6. Get there early.  There will be lines to park, sign in, and all that stuff.  If you are squeamish about Porta-Johns, pee before you get there. 
  7. Prepare for the drive home.  Bring a plastic garbage bag for your muddy stuff, and towels to sit on.  Consider bringing a backpack with a change of clothes.  There are usually free, secure cubbies where you can keep your things during your heat.
  8. There are high climbing obstacles.  If you’re apprehensive about this, run with a buddy who can help spot you on the obstacles and provide moral support.
  9. Bring some extra jack.  Arrange to stay for a while after your heat.  There’s some fun stuff going on and neat souvenirs to buy.
  10. Please, please remember this one — DON’T DIVE INTO THE MUD PIT!  People have been paralyzed because they tried to show off for the crowd.  Fight this temptation!  Enter the mud pit under control.
  11. And finally…  Don’t worry about your 5K or any other race time.  This is all about having fun!  Check your ego at the door and let yourself be a little kid again.

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2 Responses to “Top 11 things a Warrior Dash virgin should know”

  1. Wait, wait, WAIT A COTTON-PICKIN’ MINUTE AND HOOOOOLDTHEPRESSES!!!
    Are you actually saying that they give you fluffy Viking hats – for FREEEEEEEEEE???

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