Warrior Dash – Budd’s Creek Motocross Park – Mechanicsville, MD
May 19th 2012 3:00pm Wave
By Joel Getty
This was my first ever mud/obstacle run, so I’m basing a lot of my review on the race experience as compared to years of triathlon and 5k type races and overall organization. If you skip ahead and just look at the numbers you might think I’m being a little harsh, but first and foremost, I had lots of fun! I raced with a friend and that made the whole experience exciting, challenging, and cool. My total impression of this Warrior Dash was fun, way cooler than a road 5k, and as physically challenging as a triathlon. I will definitely keep trying Mud/Obstacle challenges, but now that I’ve done a Warrior Dash, I think I will probably stick to more local venues and try out the different races including the smaller brands, not just Spartan and Tough Mudder.
The Warrior Dash seemed well done overall, with great swag, and at 5k, with easy obstacles; pretty much anyone could conquer this course with enough time. Going into this I had ear and chest infections, but I felt well enough to run anyway. I was not about to waste that $65 entry fee! Volunteers seemed a little sparse, but helpful, which was needed because there seemed to be few signs telling you where to go. The vibe was pretty low key and the crowds seemed to keep to themselves. At over 16,000 participants in two days, it was definitely a little crowded at times. A major bummer was the lack of a live band, but at least the music wafting over the sound system made me want to groove.
The opening start was anti-climactic and the narrow trail covering the first mile made the race feel cramped at first. Luckily, once the obstacles started, the course opened up into the motocross park and people spread out. The obstacles were pretty easy, just mostly climbing up and down a combination of wood and cargo nets. As a sick person, it was incredibly tiring and I found the biggest challenges to be the hills, which had me walking between most obstacles. I loved the super waterslide and the mud pit at the end was exhausting. In the end, everyone had a muddy smile for the cameras.
The fun stopped there for me as the inability to get properly clean and poorly marked tents made it hard for me to get my free beer. There really was no reason to stay and party, because of the expensive food and beverages, plus the complete lack of live bands. We left shortly after meeting up with my friend’s wife and went out to eat instead. In the end, I was challenged and had lots of fun with my friend, but was it the “Craziest freakin’ day of my life”? Sorry, but no.
Below is my scoring for the Warrior Dash. Continue on past the final score for the breakdown of my scoring opinions…..
All Ratings are out of 10. 10 being the most Mudtastic and Obstaclerific (Take that, Spellchecker!)
|Venue and Course:||7|
|Traffic and Parking:||6|
|Food and Beverages:||4|
Pros: Fun, First-timer friendly race, Super Waterslide, Cool Swag
Cons: Unable to Clean-up, Over Priced Food and Beverages, Lack of Live Bands, Poorly Marked Tents
Venue and Course: 7
Budd’s Creek Motocross Park was very cool. Offering some deep-woods, muddy trail running with plenty of parking, and challenging terrain, but ultimately the trail portion of the race was crowded, narrow and lacking obstacles for the first mile. Coming to the halfway point so quickly as a result, was a little bit of a let-down, but otherwise the course out on the motocross park itself, was very hilly, fun, challenging and well-marked.
Traffic and Parking: 6
Getting into the park was easy and parking was plentiful at 2pm when we arrived. I carpooled with a friend to save on the $10 fee, which was a downside because I’m never, ever paid for parking before. Another downside was getting out of the park after the race on a tiny dirt track with bumper to bumper traffic.
Registration and Tent City: 6
While the registration process was fairly quick and easy, I found the entire tent city to be poorly marked with irregular crowd flow and had to ask several volunteers where the starting line was. Also it took us several tries and multiple questions to get our free beers after the race. A couple of large signs could have easily fixed this and aided crowd flow.
Vibe/Starting Line/Entertainment: 5
Near the starting line there was some cool Dance music and an MC was trying to get us pumped up, but the crowd wasn’t really feeling it. The biggest letdown was when the gun went off, everyone simply walked under the banner and carefully navigated a stream on the other side. If I had seeded myself toward the front I could have started running right away, but having a wider trail would have also fixed this. They’re lucky to get a 5 here only because the music on the PA system was bumpin’, but the complete lack of live bands was a major lapse here, and I thought Warrior Dash was all about the live entertainment. I was there on site from 2pm to about 4:30 and would have figured that with the last waves going out at 6pm, it would be prime time for some bands to tear the roof off the place. Nope.
The Obstacles: 6
Considering that I really have no basis for comparison, I still found most of the obstacles to be a little too easy and unimaginative. Most consisted of wooden structures with various combinations of 2×4’s and cargo nets, to climb up one side and down the other. My favorite obstacle by far was the super waterslide which had a little bit of a backup, but provided a cooling adrenaline rush that brought me back to my childhood. The weakest obstacle was definitely the balance beam that didn’t even require putting my hands out for balance, just ran up an over. To their credit, the Warrior Dash had plenty of tough hills. At the end of the race I did a sweet mid-air 360 over the flaming logs, much to the delight of the crowd and the photographers, but just when I thought I had hit the finish line, I was crushed by the mud pit. The most difficult obstacle of all was definitely the 30 yard mud-pit just before the tape. With barbwire over my head, slogging through oatmeal-thick goop, the mud sucked out every last bit of my strength. I crossed the timing mats sucking wind and grabbed my knees completely covered in the soppy mess of awesomeness.
Clean – up: 4
Maybe I’m missing the point of mud running, but I like to get cleaned off afterward, and there was no way of accomplishing cleanliness after the Warrior Dash. I felt bad mostly because of my friend’s brand new car, but also because I had a four hour drive home. The clean-up area was hundreds of yards away from the finish line and the mud in my eyes began to really hurt. Before you call me a cry-baby, keep in mind that I’m an eye-doctor and keeping my eyes healthy is a little more than an obsession for me. The “showers” consisted of three chauvinistic males on top of giant water trucks, who were more interested in spraying down women’s boobs, than actually getting anyone clean. After standing in front of two different guys and having them spray everyone else around me I gave up, and on my way out of the cleaning area some d-bag purposely kicked mud up at me, so I was basically back to square one. Having a line of showers where people get in, get clean and move out, would be much more efficient and less discriminatory.
Food and Beverages: 4
The free Miller Lite was to be expected, but I’ve had a lot better free beer after triathlons. Also, I’m used to getting some pretty good post-race recovery food including bagels, various fruits, hoagies, and sports drink. Besides the free beer Warrior Dash provided only water on course and at the finish line, plus a table full of muddy bananas. No Thanks. I can’t review the rest of the paid food and beer because it was based on Disney/Movie Theater Pricing and I didn’t feel like paying $6 for a hotdog.
The post-race medal and Viking hat were pretty cool and the t-shirt was comfortable and stylin’. I would have given a 10 here if the shirt had been 100% poly (moisture wicking) or made in the USA OR a little thicker (you can see right through it, so it seems cheap and thin).
Other racers mostly kept to themselves and their groups, so there was little socializing outside of that, but maybe no one wanted to talk to me because I was wearing a speedo. Also, I was a little ticked by the guy that kicked mud at me and a drunken dude who cut the line in the clean-up area by shoving girls out of his way. Most other racers at 5ks and triathlons I’ve been to have been very talkative and friendly, at least until it was go-time. I get the sense that other “Tough” challenges cultivate a sense of camaraderie within “Mudders” that I did not sense at Warrior Dash, but again, I have no other mud/obstacle experience so I could be wrong.
Over-all Race Organization: 8
While I didn’t see a lot of volunteers, there must have been a lot of work going into setting up this Warrior Dash, because it seemed to run itself. The race was contained well in properly fenced-in areas and participants moved freely throughout the venue without any major lapses in security or crowd control.
Total Score: 62