More than 7,500 warriors converged for battle upon the grounds of Turkey Mountain in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, Sept. 24th, as Warrior Dash made its inaugural appearance in the Sooner state.
The ever popular extreme event had been previously held in surrounding states within the past year. Once announced, on the Warrior Dash website, that Oklahoma would be hosting the ‘mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run from hell’ thousands of locals and dozens from other states jumped at the opportunity to commit to this intense challenge.
The morning started a bit on the cool side, for those competing in the early morning waves, but come late afternoon the sun burned off any remnants of cloud cover and allowed for a beautiful afternoon of competition. The grounds were filled with vendors selling everything from giant turkey legs and nachos to warrior gear memorabilia and lots of beer.
Many of those in attendance were more reminiscent of Halloween than an extreme racing event, as men and women throughout the grounds sported everything from battle paint to full costumes to your typical running attire. Having costume-bearing warriors sporting turkey legs, and beer steins scattered throughout the grounds definitely added a nostalgic and creative flair to the event, but it didn’t assist in the hellish terrain and physical challenges that each participant would experience.
Just as the Scotsmen lined the fields of Bannockburn in the motion picture, Braveheart, these warrior poets eagerly awaited the signal for battle during their respected time slot. As blasts of fire billowed towards the heavens competitors scurried down unknown paths with only one thing on their minds’, survival.
Over the 3.3 mile course participants were forced to cross and climb through some of the most demanding and rugged trails only to be greeted by countless demanding challenges, ranging from climbing over barricades and under barbed wire to navigating through waist deep water and over logs. Just when competitors thought the battle was over and they could begin a victory celebration, a fearless descent through boulders and brush followed by mud pits, barbed wire and fire remained.
Each participant who finished received a medal and t-shirt for completing the course along with the sense of accomplishment, many memories and perhaps extreme soreness. For many, Warrior Dash was their first running experience; especially of the extreme kind.
The turnout for this event was well received and a great event for the city of Tulsa and the state of Oklahoma. In fact, so many Oklahomans were impressed by this opportunity that it has created a strong desire for it to return next season. While next year’s schedule is still under development and Oklahoma is not on the list, it wouldn’t be a shocker if a new challenge is presented to Oklahoma in 2012.