The Warrior Dash: A participants’ view

Warrior Dash, a 5K that tests participants mentally and physically, is a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. It took place June 6 in Huntersville. / James David Hayes, Special to the Times-News

Commentary by Briona Kiser
Times-News correspondent
teens20@thetimesnews.com

   HUNTERSVILLE — Mud. Sweat. Beer. — that’s the motto for the Warrior Dash, a brutal 5K that tests participants mentally and physically as they face a dozen obstacles among their 3.2-mile run. This year’s dash took place just outside of Charlotte on June 6.
Upon arrival, runners and guests were treated to live music, food stations and mud — lots and lots of mud. Each participant visited the check-in station then waited until their wave time. Once their wave hit, the rest was up to them and their training.
After one mile was the first obstacle, a barbed wire crawl. This was hard on the knees and elbows and, if you’re unlucky, the back, too. Immediately following was the Diesel Dome, a dome made out of plywood that forced runners to climb up, on top of, and back down. But there’s a catch: The dome is 8 feet high and the wood used to keep one’s footing and hands, was a foot and a half apart, a nightmare for anyone afraid of heights (like myself).
Next was Shocktop Unfiltered, a series of pipe tunnel crawls and short wall jumps to reach the other side, where a mud pit is then in sight. After running roughly 1.25 miles with no shade on an 85-degree day, this cool mud bath was everyone’s best friend for a while.
Shortly after began the trek through the woods, where runners encountered a few more obstacles including numerous rope climbs and wall climbs, not to mention a vertical wall requiring participants to pull themselves up using the rope then propelling back down, pairing the two. Though these were not physically the toughest obstacles to overcome in this race, I will say that the walls were not designed for short people like me.
Upon exiting the woods and nearing the end of the run were the most exciting obstacles. Beginning with the Warrior Roast, participants were tested against all four forces of nature. The Warrior Roast is a jump across flames and hot coals — and the heat given off definitely acted as a natural motivator. Following the fire was Goliath, a wall one must climb up to reach the balance beams on top where participants walk across the beam with only two rope railings for support. This does not sound all that challenging, but considering the beam was over a water pit and water was spraying toward us while being flung by the wind, well, that made a difference.
After reaching the top of Goliath, there was an overwhelming feeling of victory as the finish line was in sight which could only be achieved after sliding down a 20-foot slide into a mud pit and crawling through the mud under barbed wire, of course.
All fun and pain aside, the Warrior Dash is for a great cause, as its proceeds go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital to fund further research for childhood cancers. Participants have the option to leave their muddy shoes and clothing after the race, which is then collected by USAgain and washed and donated to those in need in the community and worldwide.

 More information about the race can be found at warriordash.com or www.facebook.com/WarriorDash.

Briona Kiser is a rising sophomore at UNC-Charlotte and a Teens & Twenties writer.

 

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