If you’ve been a reader for a while you might remember a couple of years back when I went to the 2011 Warrior Dash.
It took a couple of years, but this year I finally made it back along with my mom and younger brother to tackle the 3 mile obstacle filled adventure run.
Adventure races have been popping up everywhere in the states especially in the past couple of years and range from short distance mud runs, to long distance endurance obstacle races. Not only that, but now there are races with colored powder being thrown on participants or glow in the dark 5k’s, even some that involve those who sign up to run from zombies flag football style.
Who and what began this adventure race craze?
After participating in the Warrior Dash I was able to sit down with Annie Volkerding, one of the four race directors at this year’s event at Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado and have a discussion about the history and future of Warrior Dash.
Everything began back in 2007 when owner Joe Reynolds was inspired to create an exciting adventure to bring to people. That year he successfully began the Great Urban Race in Chicago. After a couple of successful years, Joe Reynolds and his team renamed the business Red Frog Events which became an umbrella behind multiple adventure races.
At 28 years old he had created a business that acted as a catalyst that inspired and began the active entertainment industry. Red Frog Events branched out with different races, one of them being the adventure obstacle race along with festival known as Warrior Dash.
In the past five years Red Frog Events has skyrocketed and has been expanding not only to many places around the United States, but also to locations around the world in South America, Europe, Australia, Japan and more.
Warrior Dash licenses out to to companies in other countries and then sends employees to help market the event and cater to the local area and people. The events are similar all around the world as they want to keep their brand consistent. The difference will only reside in perhaps the food and beer served after.
When looking for race locations, Red Frog Events is constantly scouting for fun and great terrains. Copper Mountain happens to be a great venue that is open and willing to work with Warrior Dash and this has led to a successful relationship. The resort is in a beautiful area of Colorado with great facilities and provides a good location for the race.
When it comes to race day the events begin at 8am at the earliest and stop before the sun goes down to allow participants to run with enough sunlight and still enjoy the music, food and beer after.
The 2013 Colorado Warrior Dash
Taking place at Copper Mountain again, I found myself becoming reacquainted with the layout from a couple of years back.
Right before the start, the buzz of the participants begins to escalate. People run out from underneath the Warrior Dash start line that is accompanied by flames shooting up into the sky.
The adventure race takes you down a path where the first obstacles consist of running through tires, balancing on wooden beams, crawling under barbed wire and jumping over some wooden walls.
A short run up and down the nature trail leads to one of the prominent and signature obstacles, the mud pit. Here, barbed wire only a couple of feet above the mud, force contestants to get dirty and submerge in the mud to successfully cross the obstacle.
Now comes what I thought was the more difficult part of the race which wasn’t an obstacle, but making my way up a steeper slope while being caked with mud from head to toe. My shoes were completely filled and covered and felt like bricks at this point.
More obstacles line the trail leading up and down consisting of large wooden walls, rope challenges and tunnels to crawl through.
This brings the runners back towards the event center where a few rows of flames have to be jumped over before completing the final stretch to the finish line.
Crossing the finish, participants are greeted with a cheering crowd, Warrior Dash medal, water and the desperate need to shower. (Mud seriously gets EVERYWHERE)
After the Race
My brother and I ran one of the early morning legs. This allowed us to enjoy the day, take some pictures and really embrace the festival.
Right after the finish line I hopped in the shower, cleaned up (as best I could) and immediately traded in my token for a beer and grabbed myself a giant turkey leg to devour.
Aside from the event itself, Copper Mountain draws crowds to enjoy their great location in the mountains for hiking, trail running, mountain biking and just overall relaxing. For people who want to explore some more, they had a lift open to take you to the top of the mountain. It costs $10 but is a nice gentle ride up that provides great views and relaxation.
I grabbed a ticket, bought myself another beer and enjoyed the lift up and down while snagging some pics.
Warrior Dash is not only an adventure race but a fun festival where people can enjoy some time having fun with friends and family.
I recommend trying out the race and if you’re more of seriously athlete consider looking into their more rigorous events.
For anybody interested, check out the links below for more Red Frog Events. Also, not only are they fun, but Red Frog Events raises money towards St. Jude’s Children hospital and this year has committed 25 million dollars to their charity partner!
(Note: I did receive entry and press pass from Red Frog Events. All views and opinions are my own.)