There are 35 Warrior Dashes in North America but the Dash at Horseshoe Valley Resort in Barrie, Ontario, is the only one in Canada. Last weekend, 13,000 people attended the two day race series, making this 4th annual event the third largest and one of only three dashes held over two days to accommodate the participants.
Although the Warrior Dash is a for-profit obstacle race course, they partner with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the USA and Sick Kids in Canada. The Warrior Dash concept was started by Red Frog Events, a company that organized and managed its first race in Illinois in 2009.
Jordan Diehl, Red Frog’s Cultivator of Congeniality, explained that the events have raised 10 million to date for St. Jude’s Hospital and they have a commitment to raise 25 million by 2025. The St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center is slated to open in 2015.
Red Frog Event Director, Stephanie Schell, has been busy the past three months planning the Horseshoe Valley Warrior Dash in which Sick Kids Hospital is the charitable partner. Teams raise money for the hospital with a $400 minimum investment. Based on the level of donation, fundraisers receive benefits such as showers, catering, private bathrooms and swag items. Not waiting in line for a port-a-potty sounds wonderful!
Horseshoe Valley Resort is only one of three runs that take place on a ski hill. The terrain in many cases seemed just as challenging as the obstacles. Every year a new course is designed and 12 obstacles are chosen from a large collection to challenge participants.
This year many people wondered why there weren’t any official timers. It was explained that feedback suggested people preferred a more casual run by timing themselves. Groups started every 15 minutes and then volunteers were placed at the finish line to provide end times.
I nervously agreed to participate in the Warrior Dash and I’m so glad I did! Skill and fitness levels varied substantially from beginners to experts, and there were just as many people walking the course as running.
Thanks to OnStar for letting me driving their media vehicle there…. it was a relief knowing help was only a button push away and even more of a relief that I didn’t need it! I’ve been pretty sore since, next time I should probably do a little training beforehand… or attend a Warrior Dash on flat land!