Warrior Races – What is the big deal?

When I hear the words “Warrior Race” my heart goes cold. I have visions of running through swamps, being chased by angry bootcamp trainers whilst battling fervent A-types in their quest, to be the best at everything.


I was recently invited to attend a race with a new friend who did her best to try and sell it to me by saying “Ag man, it’ll be fun, it’s a 5km obstacle course, you don’t have to run and if you can’t get over an obstacle, we just move on. It’s basically just to have fun, get muddy and laugh at other people battling the same obstacles we are.”

Warrior races started as a “Warrior Dash” in America  (where else?) by a company called Red Frog events and was meant to be a “fun obstacle course race that anyone can start and everyone can finish.” Within the Warrior Dash brand, they boast over two and a half million participants worldwide since 2009, and brag that they have reinvented the concept of a 5km run and created a revolution: The Warrior Nation.”

Their website continues, “Whether you’re an elite athlete or just beginning the challenge, you’ll conquer 12 world-class obstacles, wade across wooded lakes, and venture through mud-caked back roads as you make your loop to the finish line. You’ll be rewarded with a finisher medal, a sweet t-shirt, fuzzy Warrior helmet, and ice-cold beer. Head to the post-race party to relive the course with friends, dance to music, and celebrate your decision to leave your normal weekend in the mud.”  So no money or fame, just a beer, dirty clothes, a party and the feeling of primal joy you get when you reconnect with your inner-warrior.

The Warrior Dash pioneered all the Warrior Races we have in South Africa today and it has become a favourite way for families, athletes and people who like to have a laugh to spend a weekend.

If it weren’t for the mud, I would have probably said yes to my friend’s invitation, in fact, I still might. But in the meantime, I take my hat off to all the fine men and women who sacrifice their dignity and weekends, for a spot of fun and a whole lot of warrior.

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