Monday, August 13, 2012

All Hail Dashing Warriors

This past Saturday I participated in a Warrior Dash, a competitive obstacle course race held in various places throughout the country. ‘Raced’ or ‘Competed’ wouldn’t be the right word, since I had little chance of winning and couldn’t care less what my time was.

The steep uphill climb had lots of warriors but very little dashing. Much of the little level ground was taken up by either obstacles or large muddy puddles where the water went up to one’s waist. Obstacles included scaling walls, crawling under barbed wire and jumping over fire. Most of us just trudged along in the mud, trying not to fall down. I fell down more times than I can count. But, I made it over, under and across every single obstacle, which was my goal.

There are a number of these events of varying difficulty that are gaining in popularity. The Warrior Dash is perhaps the easiest of them all, designed more for people who would rather drink beer in the sun than prepare for any warfare. They encourage people to run the course in costumes and give out soft imitation Viking helmets to all participants. A man dressed as Richard Simmons won for best costume; I didn’t see who won for best beard as I was too busy trying in vain to wash mud from my clothing in the Warrior Wash sprinkler-like shower.

The Tough Mudder is increasingly popular, it has teams of competitors run a longer race and compete in more difficult obstacles and physical challenges. Toughest of them all may be the Spartan Race.

I believe the reason these events are becoming more popular is that people are thirsting for adventure and challenge, and because we want desperately to prove to ourselves that we're not one of the neutered marshmallows we see all around us.

Many of us spend our days behind a desk or counter, hoping to get just a little taste of the life of a warrior, conscious of the fact that the life of a real warrior means sleeping in a ditch and praying you don’t get killed.

We’ll take our little taste of the warrior’s life, though I suspect that some of us are doing this because we want to toughen up for potentially tough and violent days ahead. That people are paying for the privilege of being put to the test is a sign of hope that some of us are trying to claw our way out of the hole we've found ourselves in as a people.

One of the signs posted along the Warrior Dash course was: ‘To Make Up For The Other 364 Days.’ See you there next year. 

(Photo taken without permission from Tru Stories from the 222nd Floor)

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