Eric and Yours Truly, begrimed and besplattered, after surviving the Tennessee Warrior Dash.
Every once in a while, something impels me to do something completely ridiculous.
You, my Esteemed Readers, already know this. How else to describe the act of wearing a colander upon one’s head... or of planking... or of wearing matzoh-patterned underwear... and then posting photographs of said activities on the Internet for all and sundry to see?
For that matter, anyone who writes over 4,400 posts on personal Online Journals over the course of seven years, purely for the purpose of self aggrandizement and time-wastage, is more than capable of Teh Silly.
All of which goes a long way toward explaining why I elected to journey to Manchester, Tennessee this past weekend, there to participate in what can best be described as a gathering of Masochistic Whackos. I speak, of course, of the Warrior Dash.
The organizers of the Dash advertise it as “The Craziest Frickin’ Day of Your Life!” Well, I dunno. I’ve had quite a few crazy frickin’ days in my life... but I will concede that I’ve never before had one that involved running a five-kilometer obstacle course, a course that culminated in leaping over burning coals and then slithering through a trough of mud, head kept low in order to avoid strategically placed strands of barbed wire.
It’s quite a business, this Warrior Dash. The Tennessee event had over 10,900 participants. Given that it has already been held in twenty-seven locations (including Australia) this year with six more left to go, you’re looking at roughly 360,000 Warriors, which at $50 a pop translates to a cool $1.8 million. That pays for a lot of mud, beer, and propane.
It was, of course, Eric that first broached the idea of doing the Warrior Dash. I’m not quite sure what attracted him in the first place. Was it the sweet Warrior swag - the über-cool hornèd chapeau, the T-shirt, the “I Survived Warrior Dash” medal? Was it the free beer after the race? The thrash-metal concert? The fireworks? Or was it simply the notion of doing something both ridiculous and messy, something that would also pose a certain physical challenge? I know not. All I know is that the Tennessee Renaissance Man asked me to go along in order to provide moral support... and to participate if I cared to. How could I resist?
As it turns out, Eric sprained his ankle a scant ten days before the Dash. Iron-willed, stout-hearted
Hey - this is even more fun than Chocolate Pudding Wrestling!
The obstacles? None of them were too difficult for a veteran of Marine boot camp... or even for me, for that matter. Heights do not bother me, nor does fire, darkness, or piles of junked cars. The only real physical challenge - aside from the fact that me running the entire 3.2 miles flat out is simply never going to happen - involved crawling over a long horizontal skein of cargo netting, and even that wasn’t at all unmanageable.
This is not to say that some people didn’t have problems.
One person failed to successfully negotiate the Warrior Roast, which required leaping over a couple of troughs of fiery burning coals, landing in said coals. Toasty. Another leaped into the mud pit - the final obstacle - and suffered a spinal injury, necessitating an evacuation by helicopter. (There is, in fact, a line on the participant waiver that states, “I agree to not dive into or enter the mud pit head first.”)
These shoes have run their last: A pile of mud-encrusted running shoes awaits cleanup and eventual donation to charity.
I will state right up front that I have never been as filthy in my life as I was after the Dash. But I would do it again in a heartbeat.
She Who Must Be Obeyed may have other thoughts on the matter.