I never have run a marathon or competitive race in my life and really just started running for fun a few months ago. So, when I saw the Warrior Dash on the side of Facebook and read about its 11 “extreme obstacles,” I knew this was meant to be my first.

Jumping the Junker Jump
Jumping the Junker Jump

I mean, how could I say no to a 5K race with challenges from jumping through a wall of fire to climbing over trucks, leaping bales of hay and scrambling through a mud pit under a ceiling of barbed wire. Even the decision to race hundreds of miles away in Los Angels, California, in April instead of running the Fall Warrior Dash a few towns over couldn’t dissuade me.

At the dash itself, the environment was similar to that of Halloween or a music festival. People wore every type of costume imaginable including Vikings, Where’s Waldo, Mario & Luigi, cheerleaders, super heroes and even prom kings and queens.

Needless to say, my group was underdressed in shorts and teeshirts. Silly us! When the race finally began, we found ourselves surrounded in a swarm of characters and colors all with completely different goals for the afternoon.

Some of the more hard-core sprinted ahead, determined to get the best time possible. The rest of us realized the race for being what it was: a great social and eye-candy experience with a mini-marathon hidden inside.


Jumping over the Warrior Roast
Jumping over the Warrior Roast

Overcoming the Obstacles

The demographics were also quite different from any race I’ve ever witnessed. I would say at least 50% of the people were in the same boat as me: having never run any sort of formal event in their lives. Dashers came in all shapes, sizes and physical conditions, making me feel that I had chosen wisely for my first race.

For those reasons, it’s probably a good thing that the actual obstacles were tamer than what I envisioned in my head going in. A breakdown of the 11 stops are as follows:

warrior_race-california-greg_goodman-adventuresofagoodman-2-minHay Fever: Hustle up over giant bales of hay
Reality: The bales were small and in a step-like formation, though they were pretty high

Junker Jump: Clamber over the rusted wreckage
Reality: Climb over a few gutted cars and be careful of the slick hoods

Warrior Wall: Conquer the wooden barricade
Reality: Jump over a 3-4 foot wall of wooden boards. I hurdled the last ones

Tunnels of Terror: Burrow through the black tunnels
Reality: Crawl through wide pvc pipes

Walk the Plank: Traverse the gully on wooden planks
Reality: Climb over a stream on narrow wooden boards

Tumbleweed Tickler: Plow through a tumbleweed filled ravine
Reality: Climb down a little ditch and walk over some weeds with one tumbleweed placed in there for effect.


Breathless Bog: Trudge through the waist-deep water and over the logs
Reality: Pretty much as advertised. There is no jumping the logs, there is only getting wet.

Knee High Hell: Speed step through hundreds of tires
Reality: Run up a steep hill over lots of tires, boot-camp style

Cargo Climb: Maneuver over the cargo nets
Reality: Probably the most warrior part of the race, you wait in a long line to climb up a cargo net, stand atop a rickety wooden structure and wait to climb down the other side.

Warrior Roast: Leap over the warrior fires
Reality: Leap over a row of Duralogs

Muddy Mayhem: Scramble beneath barbed wire as you near the finish
Reality: Crawl through manure-smelling mud under barbed wire four feet above you. Many people opted to not crawl and to just walk and duck.


Running the Warrior Race
Running the Warrior Race

The Finish Line

After the race ended, there was a live band, lots of beer and $8 turkey legs to keep people occupied and having fun until the winners were announced. Wet and cold from the Breathless Bog and Muddy Mayhem, we opted to call it a day there and head home to change. Still, the experience was one of a kind and I would highly recommend Warrior Dash to people of all fitness levels and to all lovers of costumes and a good time!

To learn more about Warrior Dash, check out their Web site