Warrior Splash

Race #5 for 2011 is finished: the Warrior Dash at Copper Mountain, CO.  For sheer enjoyment, silliness and amount of mud, this race could not be beat.

(A bit of an aside – when I registered for this race in December of 2010, I studiously perused the website, read the descriptions, consulted the map and did some private fretting regarding the environmental soundness of this endeavor.  I am, after all, a wildlife biologist and destruction of habitat is an issue I wrangle with daily.  Well, happily, the course was laid out on a ski resort which has already impacted the habitat and is designed to handle large numbers of people.  The first part took place on concrete/asphalt, the remainder was on the bottom edges of the ski slopes.)

Parking was at Copper Mountain Resort parking area and buses took the runners up to the resort village.  My sister-in-law, best buddy, and I arrived with an hour before our wave and had time but another 20 or 30 minutes would not have been unwelcome.  The village had the registration tent, food, entertainment, vendors, bathroom facilities, the start, the finish and… a very long line of communal showers crowded with bathers.  Hmmm…

We breezed through packet pick up: bib number, t-shirt and fuzzy Warrior hat – which put me in mind of the top of a bison’s head more than an actual Viking.  (However, a helmet made of hard materials and sporting a set of foot long horns would likely cause hazards on the course.) 

As we wandered toward the start corral and perused the Warrior gear on display, we became aware of a prevailing… silliness in the air.  This race encourages costumes and, of course, I’d seen people in costumes at other races I’ve run.  But this was… different.  The theme, after all, was ‘warrior’ and people took that to mean many things.  I saw super heroes – from actual full body costumes to a pair of adult size Underoos with cape and mask.  No shirt.  I saw Vikings and Indians and… fairies.  Kilts, yes, I saw a few.  Braids and wigs and Mohawks… body paint and plastic weapons.  And mud.  I realized I was seeing a lot of mud.  Runners who had finished mingled freely with those who had not and the prevalence of mud was starting to add up.  From the village you could see small parts of the course but none of the obstacles.  You could see runners covered head to toe in mud as though they had been dipped.  Hmmm…

Both Sarah and I realized we felt no anxiety over this race.  We came here at this time for the fun of it.  We expected some challenging obstacles and we knew there would be a crowd but we weren’t worried about time or distance and were simply going to see what came up as we ran.  In keeping with our attitudes, the start was as laid back as I have ever seen.  The corral was packed and we waited behind it with many other runners.  When the ‘go’ was given, we set off at a brisk… walk.

The first part of the run was on the concrete sidewalk but it quickly veered off and climbed a short distance up a ski slope.  The first obstacle was a long ramp, then there was a forest of tires swinging from ropes to push through.  At any moment, I expected the tires would boot me off the course like a bumper in a pin ball machine.  Next came a series of walls to hurdle and then…

…the mud.  Oh yeah.   The mud.   Mud.  Mud.  Mud.  A shallow pool of VERY liquid mud through which we crawled under several barbed wire fences.  The splashing of the other crawlers quickly flipped mud in our hair, on our faces and necks and made us realize two things:

1)  Our bib numbers would now be completely obscured by mud and 2) we had at least a mile and a half to ‘run’ while covered in mud.  Hmmm…

When we emerged from the pit, Sarah slapped me on the back and we used the mud on our fingers to paint warrior stripes on our faces.  And so we ran, waddled, and trudged, past several other obstacles including a crab crawl through a wide tunnel, a narrow elevated balance beam and a series of climbing walls and nets that reached higher and higher and made my fear of heights prickle.  We surmounted them all with grins and high fives.  At the end, we ran down and leaped the fire lines in tandem. 

And then there was the communal shower… 😉  The water was warm, our 60 or 70 mud obscured male and female partners were congenial and, eventually, the mud did come off.

OMG – we had a great time!!  🙂


About wfig

Longtime horsewoman and hiker, occasional world traveler and professional biologist.
This entry was posted in Races, Review and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Warrior Splash

  1. robin says:

    Congratulations, Warrior! You guys looked GREAT out there. Not someone to be messed with, for sure! And as for the other participants…well, Walmartians from another planet would be my assesment. Me…. ? Not exactly my idea of an ideal place to spend the day, with all the craziness, but then I guess a hermit naturally feels out of place in a crowd – even a sane crowd, which this was not! And, I can get muddy in the creek without 10,000 bystanders. The communal shower reminded me of after high school football practice! But, a lot better looking! :>))
    You Two done good! Congratulations!


    • wfig says:

      Thanks! I’d rather get muddy in a creek without 10,000 bystanders, too. 😉 And thank you for guarding our stuff! And the ride back to town! 🙂

  2. Haha says:

    This sounds like way too much fun…and a nice escape. Great that the two of you did it together. It is the kind of experience you would want to share with someone else no one would believe you actually volunteered for it.

  3. Haha says:

    Well…come on down. If I do it, I will want company. Why go though all of that when there is no one around who knows you to report on how ridiculous you look…and to laugh with you about it a decade from now?

  4. Haha says:

    Wow! Talk about calling my bluff…and fast! I have to say the word, “hellish” applied to the course is a bit daunting. O.K., O.K., if this is going to get you down here, I’m in. I will register today…before I lose my nerve. (I think I have already lost my mind, even thinking I can live though this.) Do I get a fuzzy little hat with horns, to die in…uh…for, yeah, that’s it, to die FOR!?! Pappy will definitely demand a retina check when he hears about this. O, wow, Haha’s first bling:)

  5. Haha says:

    I bow to the master catcher:) I guess, sometimes, it takes a bit of a nudge to get me out of my comfort zone. I will consider myself nudged. I am registered and it is on my calendar; so, no going back. See you in April. This should fule many guffaws for all of us for a long time. Tell Sarah she and her sister have to come, too. We’ll make it a family affair:)

  6. Ben Mitchell says:

    I’m doing the Carolina Warrior Dash tomorrow……as an extra obstacle, I get to tangle with hurricane Irene!

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