As a keen obstacle racer I have met some fantastic people during events and while networking online. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Sharenow (Brian) who is one of the creators of the BADASS Dash. His company has been associated with sporting events for over 15 years and became more focused on OCR in the last 10. Brian has been the Race Director for the last 2 years and works with a crew of talented people who are all passionate about building a fun and safe event for everyone to enjoy. Brian states “we do not shock, freeze or put in place an unsafe situation for our racers, we do not want anyone to have a bad experience at this event.”
For any event to take place, it is interesting to note that a team of 12 travel to various locations to assess the layout, distance and any local by-laws or restrictions that may be in place. Mr. Sharenow does run the course himself to ensure flow and distance and adjusts the course accordingly (each race is different –no two are alike). He attends the location 2 weeks in advance and spends up to 10 hours mapping it out. The detailed map includes markings, merchant layout, sponsor tenting, access issues and any challenges to design based on local terrain. He does one last run through the day before for final approval.
During the initial planning stages he felt that most races that were 5K were too short and those that were 10K were too long with too much distance between obstacles. I had to agree with him on that point as most OC racers don’t want to run; they want to crawl, climb, swim and jump. To add to the appeal of this event Brian has added more categories such as Elite, Recreational, K9 and Kids courses. And, of course, costumes are always welcome.
To date, their largest event was held in Las Vegas, Nevada with 3500 participants they hope to continue to grow in the Canadian market. Expected numbers for the July 19th race in Ottawa, Ontario are 1500 and it looks as though this number will continue to increase annually. There are plans to expand one day internationally but Brian states “we need to walk before we run…and we want to be in this for the long haul… and not have to cash out from growing too quickly”.
Normally, my interview ends here with a quick thank you and a brief note about the upcoming details of the event, however, this race is different, and it is personal to Brian. During our conversation it was mentioned that the charity is Autism Speaks and Brian shared with me the story of his autistic son. Proceeds of these events go to the Autism Speaks foundation which was selected by Brian based on the synergy of the company and the work they are doing to help autistic children in Canada and the USA.
Before the start of each race Brian gives a speech thanking everyone for participating and helping support their cause. He states “have a great time, make it to the finish line, have a drink and celebrate with your friends –it’s a great achievement. We are here to support those with autism who struggle with obstacles every day with no end in sight. Through awareness and funding, we can one day give them a finish line”.
Race review to follow