Thousands of warriors set to invade Huntersville
by Staff Writer
Covered in mud and sporting spiked helmets and old running shoes, a horde of nearly 13,500 warriors will invade Huntersville this coming weekend to take part in a new breed of 5-K that is sweeping the nation: the Warrior Dash.
Advertised as a “mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run from hell,” the Warrior Dash is a 3.08-mile course with a dozen obstacles to test the warriors, including a muddy crawl under barbed wire, a scorching run through a field of fiery trenches and a furious stampede through an old, rusty junkyard.
According to sponsor Red Frog Events, the Carolinas Warrior Dash is one of 33 locations in the world hosting the Warrior Dash in the 2011 season.
Many of the races have had thousands in attendance, with the one in Michigan reaching a staggering 25,000 people.
While becoming increasingly popular, the Warrior Dash isn’t necessarily becoming safer.
Two people died of heat exhaustion during the Kansas City Warrior Dash, which took place July 30 and 31. Organizers ended the race early on the second day after 57 people were treated on site for symptoms of heat exhaustion.
In Michigan, a 21-year-old competitor was paralyzed from the waist down after he dove head first into a mud pit.
Yet, race organizers say they are taking every precaution to avoid any such disasters in Huntersville.
“Participant safety is always our No. 1 concern,” said Alex Yount, director of media relations for Red Frog Events. “We will have medical personnel stationed throughout the course and at every obstacle.”
The race’s barbaric reputation hasn’t stopped some local residents from signing up.
Allison Bridges, 24, of Denver, signed up for the race in July and isn’t daunted by the incidents in Michigan and Kansas City.
“I’m not going into the race thinking that I am going to die,” Bridges said. “It seems like it is going be much more fun than just your average 5-K.”
Bridges has been running in 5-K races since high school and said she is looks forward to challenges.
Along with her normal regimen of running during the week, Bridges has been doing P90X video exercises to help her prepare for the obstacles.
Along with the 13,500 weekend warriors coming to Huntersville for the race, town officials also are expecting an increase in traffic for local businesses.
In a press release from Visit Lake Norman, Courtney Wolfrom said the race is expected to bring nearly $3.2 million in revenue to the Lake Norman area.
While Warrior Dash is no longer accepting registration for the upcoming race, all are welcome to come and watch and join in the festivities. Along with the entertainment of watching thousands risk life and limb, spectators can expect music and beer in the post-race celebration.
The Warrior Dash takes place at Rural Hill, 4431 Neck Road, Huntersville. The competitors race in waves of 500 over two days. The first wave leaves at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, and continues every 30 minutes, until 4:30 p.m. Then, waves of competitors begin running again at 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 28, until all the runners have finished the course.