Warrior Dash – North Plains, OR
Mud. Sweat. Beer. After participating in the Warrior Dash in North Plains, Oregon, I can tell you that the official slogan of the event comes up a bit short. Yes there was mud, and lots of it. And yes, I sure did sweat. Finally, there was indeed the promised beer. But let me propose a slogan that’s a bit more on the nose with what the entire experience really is:
Dirtiest. Ass-Kicking. Party.
Nearly 7 and a half hours, 2 showers, a sinus cleanse, 30 Q-Tips, and countless hand washes later, I still have dirt in my ears, nose, and under my nails.
It’s the second year that Horning’s Hideout has hosted this mud-run, and this weekend nearly 15,000 people participated over the 2-day event. The location, although beautiful and sprawling, proved a tough test for not only Couple of Sports, but also their trusted Highland Flinger. Narrow gravel roads descended into winding dirt paths with no barrier between the “road” and a steep, forested plunge. Deeper into the woods we crawled, leaving traffic cones demolished in our wake. We had to veer off course to let a flashing ambulance squeeze by us, a foreboding sign to say the least. Finally, we reached our parking spot, and walked through the already dirty human mass around us to the main village area.
Characters of all shapes, sizes, and costume were everywhere. Checking in, washing off, stretching, drinking, fine-tuning their wardrobe, gobbling turkey legs, or just plain reveling in their messiness. Viking/warrior/tribal themed costumes were the go-to look, but there was definitely no shortage of creative costumes either. Bridal parties, full suited men, fairies, ninja turtles, Waldo, police officers and plenty of cross-dressing. Each wave of dashers seemed more amped than the last group, jumping around like caged animals before a fiery explosion signaled their start. But in the end, none of that mattered as everyone emerged the same way: covered in brown from head to toe.
The course itself is the real star of the show. A 3.18 mile loop of forest dirt hiking trail that seemed to constantly be going uphill. If that weren’t enough, there were 12 obstacles along the way, including Deadweight Drifter, Road Rage, Great Warrior Wall, Rubber Ricochet, Deadman’s Drop, Chaotic Crossover, Barricade Breakdown, Satan’s Steps, Assassin’s Escape, Cargo Climb, Warrior Roast, and Muddy Mayhem. Most of which are fancy names for different ways to climb up and over varying-sized walls, roll over logs in a frozen pond, or under barbed wire in a pit of mud.
Oregon, abundant in forests, known for its outdoor activities, and home to Steve Prefontaine and Nike seemed a fitting place to participate in a timber-lined foot race. Combine this with an adventure-loving population near the city with the most breweries worldwide and you get one dirty ass-kicking party that seems to encapsulate all that Oregon is about.
Two local love-warriors appreciated the atmosphere Warrior Dash has to offer so much that they exchanged vows at the starting line! Jessica Wallers said “I do,” to Chris Mossman wearing a white spandex leotard with “Warrior Wedding,” printed on the backside. When asked why they chose the venue, they said, “We wanted something that felt like it represented us and that we can share with our kids in the future.” Leisurely runners, Jessica and Chris took to the course after their ceremony and had an on-site reception with 20 of their closest family members and friends, including their three children.
Last but not least, the day ended with a raucous party. Warriors made their way down to the stage/concert area and beer tents, where the night turned into one big outdoor festival with friends while dancing and listening to great live music.
Warrior Dash is held at over 25 locations nationwide and in 2012 will include London. Dates and more information can be found at the event website: www.warriordash.com. We had such a great time we’re looking to participate again down the road!