Apr 12, 2010

Race Report: Warrior Dash Southern California

Update
Official results are in! I finished in 1971th place out of 5339 on Saturday - In the top half of the field!! And by a big margin - 37th percentile!! This is the first time I've ever come in the top half of any race.
Age group: M/30-34
Place in age group: 297 out of 633 - 47th percentile.
Chip Time: 37:03.75
Gun Time: 5:37:43.60
Average Pace: 12:02

If I subtract 5 minutes for the time I waited in line for that cargo net obstacle, I finished in 32 minutes. Yay!

Original Post
Ok, as suspected, it's just a 5K with some obstacles thrown in. But it was still fun, because 5Ks are fun.

Warrior Shwag

For obvious reasons, I didn't bring my camera on the course with me. This is unfortunate because, perhaps more than any other post in the history of this blog, this post is worthless without pictures. I'll do my best to describe the obstacles, then show you the pics that were taken by my wife at the finish line.

Update: Here is an image of the fire pit, courtesy Warrior Dash's twitter feed:



Going over the obstacles:

Hustle up and over giant straw bales
There was a mile of running before the first obstacle, presumably to thin out the crowd. Good idea. These hay bales were stacked in staircase formation about eight feet high.
Clamber over rusted wreckage in a junk yard
Five junked cars, that looked a little like what they put on the lawn of your high school during "don't drink and drive" week. We had to climb over them. Probably the most dangerous obstacle of the course. You could cut your leg!
Climb over a wooden wall
As I stepped over the three walls, each only three feet high, I wondered, "why bother?"
Crawl through a pipe, called "Tunnels of Terror"
About what I expected. 20 feet long, 3 or 4 feet in diameter. Hands and knees, crawl.
Traverse a Gully on Wooden Planks
the planks were about 6" wide and maybe 20 feet long.
Run through a ravine filled with tumbleweeds
The "ravine" is the same as the "gully" I just walked over on wooden planks. The "tumbleweeds" were actually "bales of hay" that were the same as the first obstacle, only not stacked.
Trudge through waist-deep water and over logs
It wasn't super hot, but warm. And it was definitely dry. Jumping in the lake and wading for 50 feet while climbing over the four 18" diameter logs was kind of refreshing.
Speed-step through hundreds of tires
I found that stepping on the tires, rather than in the tires, was faster.
Climb over cargo nets
"Three at a time" is what I kept hearing the volunteer shout at people as I waited three to five minutes for my turn at this obstacle.
Run through fire
The "warrior roast" was duraflame logs lined up, side by side, for about 15 feet. I felt the heat as I jumped over them. Neat.
Crawl through mud underneath barbed wire
Plenty of room under the barbed wire for hands-and-knees, belly crawl not necessary. Some people even stayed on their feet, ducking under the wire. I didn't feel that fit the spirit of the event, so it was hands-and-knees for me. (:
The field, about a quarter-mile in. I'm apparently visible somewhere in this photo.

Joey running up to meet me at the finish line.


Mud!

Mud!

Ok, I know it's hard to see, but this is a picture of the actual course. Starting from the right, runners are going up the hill, speedstepping through tires. Then, there is the cargo net, which is the big block on the near horizon. Right before running down the hill again is the "warrior roast", or fire obstacle. Then we actually go into the lake for some wading and log hopping, Then we run back up the hill. Not visible in this picture, to the left, is the mud pit with barbed wire and finish line.

Want to clean up? Go jump in the lake!

The very clean and disease-free lake.
A staff member told me that there were 9000 people signed up for this race, which took place in 30 minute waves over two days. Tons of people.

As far as time, I forgot to stop my watch at the finish line and I can't find results on the web site anywhere. I was probably somewhere around 35 minutes. Not counting the 3-5 minutes of waiting my turn for the cargo net obstacle, that puts me at 31 minutes, give or take, which is fine for this race. I was really very surprised at how many people I passed after a mile, but I guess I shouldn't be; this isn't your typical race and it didn't have typical racers. So there were a ton of people who apparently unable to run more than a mile or two, and who walked the last half of the course.

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