I just did Warrior Dash this past weekend for the first time. And I thought I’d share my experience and what I learned about myself and others.
What is Warrior Dash?
If you’re not familiar with Warrior Dash, it’s basically a 3 mile run, with a group of about 600 people going through obstacles like barbed wire, fire, waste high mud pits climbing walls, and even (in Michigan, at least) a pond that smelled like cow shit. In 90 degree heat, at that.
Don’t believe me or simply want some good humor? Check out the Warrior Dash waiver. It includes the following gems:
“I understand, agree, and accept that some of the obstacles may go through water that has not been tested for chemicals, disease, or any contamination whatsoever.”
“I understand that Warrior Dash presents extreme obstacles including, but not limited to: fire, mud pits with barbed wire, cargo climbs, junk cars, and steep hills.”
or, to elegantly and simply summarize:
“I understand that entering Warrior Dash is a Hazardous activity.
What Does Warrior Dash Cost & What do you Get?
Warrior Dash costs $40 – $60. The registration price goes up the closer you get to the actual day of the event.
What do you get for your registration fee?
A t-shirt, a plush warrior helmet, and about 24 ounces of Bud Light in a plastic cup.
You also get a little medallion that says “I survived Warrior Dash”, race results, and in-race photos. Oh, and running through 3 miles of hell. Let’s not forget that. Finally, there’s the kick to the genitals on the way to your car (I kid).
Yeah, this wasn’t a financial move of brilliance.
What I Learned at Warrior Dash
I learned a few things about myself and others during this event – some have a personal finance twist…. others do not. But all should be at least moderately entertaining.
1. People are Willing to Pay a Lot to Physically Challenge Themselves and Have a Day Away from the Monotony
24,912 entrants signed up for the Michigan Warrior Dash. That’s right, 24,912 people actually CHOSE to pay for this at just one location. Speaking for other white collar desk jockeys (I’m guessing the large majority of participators) – we want to be physically challenged and relieved of the boredom and monotony that makes up 40-60 hours a week for us. We are willing to drive from all over and pay up to $60 to run through fire, barbed wire, and shit.
It’s also the reason that Red Frog Events, the creator of Warrior Dash, has grown its business from 1 event a couple years ago to 33 events nationwide and $50 million gross. They are on to something.
2. Now, there are Two Days in the Year when it’s OK to Dress Like the Ultimate Warrior
If you didn’t grow up idolizing the Ultimate Warrior, you’ve missed out. This event gives you a legit excuse to relive your glory days.
3. The Physical Downfalls of Being a Desk Jockey were Painfully Apparent
First Warrior Dash mistake: I didn’t train for this. At all. I thought that riding a bike to work 4 miles daily, working out a few times a week, and recreational activity on the weekend would be all I needed to get through the course without much suffering.
One day later, with every muscle in my body hurting, I am willing to admit that I was wrong.
I had always heard the advice that biking does not work out the same leg muscles as running. I chose to ignore it. Now I believe it.
Adding insult to injury, I ran with two guys who deliver UPS boxes for a living. They didn’t train for the event, yet they finished well ahead of me. It just goes to show that a sedentary work environment of sitting at a desk for 9 hours a day is horrible for your body. And I need to start considering the long-term impact of doing so on my health.
This event was a wake-up call for me.
4. Don’t Skimp on the Details & Your Customers Might Just Come Back
$40-60 sounds like a lot, but in all honesty, I did not feel cheated. This was a huge operation and many companies would have decided to pinch every last penny out of people. It was well organized, the obstacles were well put together, the free beer was huge, they handed out bananas and water at the finish line, they send you photos after based on your bib number, and there was even gigantic water trucks spraying water over people to shower off the mud after. Definitely a better value than a day at the ballpark. It was a fun day.
5. Don’t Eat a Footlong an Hour Before Running Over 3 Miles in 90 Degree Heat
No matter how tempting it is – this one is just common sense.
6. Awful Beer Tastes Really Good After Running through 3 Miles of Mud, Barbed Wire, and Cow Shit in 90 Degree Heat
I’m a bit of a beer snob and even homebrew when I can, but one of the world’s most awful beers – Bud Light – never tasted so good.
Would you participate in Warrior Dash if you had the chance? If you already have, what did you think?