Managing Time At Obstacle Course Races



Warrior Dash gives people from all walks of life that chance to do something extraordinary in their ordinary lives. There are no real battlefields, no sword-fighting, and no armies clashing against each other. But, there’s a lot of mud and physical toil, the possibility of blood, and a certainty of personal glory from running and finishing the race. Why? Because Warrior Dash is an obstacle course in its own right that allows people to experience the joy of running outdoors and the battle of elements ranging from rain to mud and water.

As an obstacle course participant, I wanted to try a different theme from Spartan Race and all the other events I’d done. While I’m not a competitor, I certainly know what it’s like to give it your all when you reach your limits. Since I’d been racing in different events for the fun, the experience, and the finisher medals, I wanted Warrior Dash to be on my resume of races completed. When I was registering for the Warrior Dash, location was a major factor in deciding where I wanted to go. I would’ve chosen Windham in NY, but that would’ve put extra mileage on my car. So, I chose Morristown in NJ. I’m sure there are a lot of reviews about the Warrior Dash that describe what it’s like. But, I won’t go into detail about my take on the course.

Suffice it to say that there were things that I thought I could’ve done better so I wouldn’t be late for my wave. First, I made the mistake of signing up for the 12:30 wave. Come race day on August 3rd, I arrived 45 minutes before my wave time only to learn that I wasn’t where I thought I was supposed to park. After getting to the designated parking spot, I got on the shuttle that took all the racers to and from the racing event. By the time I got there, it would only be a few minutes before the 12:30 wave (the one I was registered to run in) took off. Between getting my waiver signed and my bag checked, it would be another hour before I finally took off. The long lines at the bag check didn’t help, especially at that time of day. In order to avoid all that, I would recommend signing up for the earlier waves by deciding to register months ahead of time, only if you know for sure that you’re going to do the Warrior Dash. Furthermore, when the race organizers say to arrive an hour ahead of your wave time, they REALLY mean it.  

Another pattern I’ve noticed lately has been that at certain times of the day, people who are racing in their heats run into obstacles with long lines of people waiting for their turn to move on. Depending on the length of the wait, this can take a few minutes or a half-hour.  I first noticed this with Rugged Maniac in NJ during my 11:30 wave when I noticed there were people skipping the long lines and just moving on instead of attempting the obstacle, even though that would be considered cheating. I chose not to skip the obstacles because I knew it wouldn’t be fair for other racers or for myself. So, good sportsmanship is called for even if it takes up more time. Again, choosing the earlier waves can make the difference in time, because there are less lines in the morning. Lastly, whenever someone is driving all the way to an important racing event, it’s absolutely important to plan ahead by leaving earlier than usual to beat the traffic jams. Unforeseen circumstances can be a pain for many racers who travel far and near to an event that will define their lives and it’s unwise to leave anything up to chance. There can be traffic jams, traffic accidents, or even a police vehicle to pull you over for any number of reasons.

Time is really the most precious commodity that anybody on Earth can have, especially in obstacle course racing. It’s not a question of finding the time, but rather a question of making the time. Even with all the preparation and time management, there will be obstacles outside of races that can cause us to lose precious time. It’s only a matter of making sure that you give yourself enough of a head start. Manage your time well and you’ll come away from the race with a great racing time!


  1. Believe it or not they really stepped up their game with the bussing situation. Last year I waited over an hour to get on a bus just to the venue. I was a 1/2 hour late for my wave last year just because of the busses.


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