When the Warrior Dash hosted its first event in 2009, the obstacle course race movement as we now know it had yet to begin. A mud run, as far as most at the time would say, took place on a dirt trail the day after a rainstorm.
Today, however, a variety of obstacle course race series exist, with events that range from “purely for a good time” to “serious competition.” The Warrior Dash, now in its seventh year, helped start that trend, and will use the Illinois race, scheduled to take place this weekend at the Dollinger Family Farm in Channahon, to celebrate.
“Chicago is our homegrown race, and the first ever Warrior Dash was in Illinois,” Morgan Bucciferro, director of the Warrior Dash, says. “We’re doing some special things in the festival area as well as providing an incredible course with brand new obstacles.”
Bucciferro notes that Goliath, an obstacle that has racers slide down a two-story slide into a pit of mud, is a particular crowd pleaser. Chaotic Cargo, another new obstacle, challenges participant to cross a cargo net suspended above the ground before climbing down a cargo net on the other side.
In addition to new obstacles, the Warrior Dash also updated old favorites like Pipeline.
“Last year, you crawled up one side, crawled through and hopped out,” Bucciferro says. “This year, you’re crawling up the front, across, and then crawling down, making it even more fun for our participants.”
The Warrior Dash, which has seen 2 million participants since its inception, works to be inclusive to athletes of all skill levels, from those who want to enjoy the experience and take their time to those who want to challenge themselves in the competitive wave, where the top 25 male and female finishers qualify for the Warrior Dash World Championship on Oct. 10.
“Warrior Dash is whatever you make it,” Bucciferro says. “If you’re scared to try a road race, this is an easy way to ease people into a fitness lifestyle.”
The race also serves as a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and to date has raised over $10 million for the organization.
“We couldn’t be more excited to work with a better group of individuals,” Bucciferro says. “Our warriors are incredible, and their fundraising efforts really change the lives of children who need it most.”
The Warrior Dash in Illinois will take place from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, with each day featuring identical obstacles and experiences. You can still register online or at the race site this weekend.