Submitted by bdjeffyp
March 4, 2013
Red Frog’s Warrior Dash series has been fairly successful it seems. I have never run one of their events before but I have heard and seen a lot about it. I am a fan of Obstacle Course Races (OCRs), having participated in Tough Mudder twice and one Spartan Sprint, not to mention many other smaller events. So I was expecting some good things from this OCR with a city twist. It was nice to attend an OCR without having to travel too far, as they often take place in remote locations that can get muddy and hilly. Unfortunately, this event didn’t live up to the hype of a normal Warrior Dash.
Pre-race = C: I was one of the volunteers who handed out packets to people on Thursday evening. After reading the two reviews above, I now understand why SO many people were asking where the shirts were. As an OCRacer, I normally receive shirts after the race and as a runner in general I don’t believe in wearing an event shirt at the event. But, if the website advertised that the shirt would be at packet pickup, then it damn well better be. When something is advertised in one way, you’d better follow through with it or at the very least place a sign up that states the change. The two Red Frog employees who were on hand to help people with issues had a map of the course on hand printed on a piece of paper. It would have been nice to have the map blown up on a poster as well as signs to guide the participants, rather than rely on the volunteers to organize the entire packet pickup for Red Frog. Of course, the map will become a point of contention in a second.
Course = D: The course surprised me for several reasons. I was expecting a five-mile course and, while I pushed myself pretty hard to get a good time, would have pushed myself harder if I had known that the course was shortened down to 3.75 miles! There was no notification to the racers of the course changes. There was no map to show the new (or even the old) course. This fact was made even worse because the mile markers were placed to make you think you ran 5 miles total. I know that no race has a perfect 5k distance mapped out, or 13.1 miles, or so on. However, a difference of 1.25 miles is pretty significant! Notifying racers of course changes allows serious competitors to adjust their strategies accordingly for a successful race. Yes, obstacles and courses are subject to change, but there is no excuse for the mile markers being incorrectly placed and not notifying racers to the changes.
But wait, there’s more! Some of the obstacles were pretty fun. Some were a challenge (Daily Grind was tough, but I made it through with hands only like the description said we should). Yes, we signed waivers for this race. Red Frog doesn’t want to be held liable for injury. I understand that. However, they do have a responsibility to mitigate and minimize injury to the best of their ability. I’ll highlight my issues where safety was a concern in a bit. Let’s go through each obstacle in order:
Rubber Ricochet: I like running through swinging tires like a kid in a playground. Fun!
All Tied Up: Not listed on the website. A criss-crossing of bungee cords to crawl your way through. Not too tough but also fun.
Impound: No cars, per the description, but the loose pile of tires in the middle made the climb over treacherous and challenging. I didn’t even think about the fact that the cars were missing until after I was all done with the race.
Road Block: Crawling under low placed wood planks and vaulting over plastic barriers. Here was my first safety concern. The park that this obstacle was placed in had concrete pillars that people could sit on. The pillars were the same height at the plastic barriers. The third set of barriers were placed directly in front of the pillars. Just before I vaulted over, I noticed the barriers and made a correction to avoid them. If I hadn’t noticed them, I would have swung a knee right into the barrier. The barrier should have been placed after the pillar or repositioned.
Grid Lock: It was supposed to be a web of barbed wire. It was just a net. All I had to do was bend over as I ran and lift the net with my hand to make it through. Might as well have not been there.
Rush Hour: I like climbing walls. No high walls like Tough Mudder (thankfully) but just enough of a challenge to make it fun. Tape was placed along the top of the wooden wall, presumably to protect people from splinters. However, I’d rather get a splinter than to have my feet slide on the tape as I climb over because my shoes are wet from the grass I was running through and nearly fall off. By the way, I wear gloves to OCRs.
Concrete Tightrope: More like plastic tightrope. The concrete barriers were replaced with plastic. The plastic was wide, making a complete lack of a challenge. Sure, they put a plank of wood on top to walk on, but even that was wider than the concrete barriers that were promised. There was no elevation change that was shown on the website either, which would have upped the difficulty.
Vertical Detour: Presumably replaced the “High Beams” obstacle from the website with a bit more challenging construct. Two angled surfaces to climb, however the climbing side is shorter than the repelling side. Therefore, you have to lean back slightly to reach up over the top of the repelling side, which was thick, and lift yourself up and over to then slide down the repelling side. An interesting challenge. It wasn’t easy and it was a nice surprise. However, as I approached the obstacle, I saw one person take a nasty fall from near the top down the climbing side, tumble down the steps, and hit the concrete below. He seemed okay thankfully.
Urban Summit: A fun climb up a rope and sloped plywood surface. Easy, but fun.
The Shredder: Not sure why it has this name. Simply a crawl through a plastic tube. The website showed an elevation change, which would have made this much more difficult due to the slippery inside, but no such luck.
Anti-Dumpster Dive: This was fun, and provided the balancing challenge that the Concrete Tightrope was supposed to give. One of my favorite obstacles of the bunch.
Petco Quad Killer: Meh. Ran up and down two flights of stairs. I was expecting more out of this, but the flights were approximately 40 steps each, which I was able to take two at a time due to the low slope of the steps without too much effort. I fully expected something you’d see out of a training montage… At the tops of the stairs was a narrow path that forced you to move at the pace of the people ahead of you…
The Daily Grind: Definitely the hardest obstacle of the group, if you follow how the website presents the people moving down the parallel bars. Walking down with upper body strength only was tricky, especially since the bars were fairly far apart. I made it through the prescribed way, though many other people used their feet to slide down the bars or what not.
Metro Peak: A cargo net climb. Nothing to it. The last two obstacles were at the finish line, allowing spectators to observe. A nice motivation to finish strong.
In summary, the course was too short, the obstacles weren’t too difficult (though there were a couple of good ones), and there were some safety concerns that the race directors could have mitigated with some better planning. Great volunteers on the course prevented this grade from receiving an F.
Post-race = C: OCRs tend to offer beer as a reward for completing a tough challenge. This race offered Miller Lite… When a race offers beer in San Diego, I expect to see a local brewery offering their product. San Diego is known for the many award-winning local breweries. When you start a new race series, and you hype it as a race that integrates with the city, you should take advantage of what the city has to offer, to include local brews. They did have local food trucks, including the deliciously awesome NotSoFast, so that was a huge bonus in my eyes (and stomach). The music was forgettable, playing pop and Metallica. The vendors were… odd (the DoubleTree?? Really???). I didn’t understand why P4 was offering a pre-workout drink when we were about to do a bunch of running. That’s not good for the heart since the cardio elevates the heart rate already. Overall, the food trucks really made the post-race the best. Oh, the results screens were hard to see because the brightness setting was too low.
Overall, the event was a C. There is some potential for this race to do well, but it needs some work. The race directors need to work on their obstacles to make them better and do a better job of keeping their customers informed of changes. I’m still surprised at the lack of organization pre-race, given that Red Frog also runs the regular Warrior Dash and thus has experience already. I’ll be keeping an eye on this to see if it is worth running again, but at the moment, my verdict is “No”. If you are looking for a small distance OCR to run without getting muddy, try Hero Rush. You’ll get wet, but there is no mud. Otherwise, try Gladiator Rock ‘n Run or, if you want a major challenge, a Spartan Sprint.
Submitted by famoussd
March 4, 2013
Pre-race = B: The only problem I had was picking up my race t-shirt. The shirts weren’t available and they said that I can get one on the day of the race. Not a big deal but I was expecting to pick up a shirt along w/ my bib and timing chip since their website said so. “You may pick up the participant t-shirt, race bib, and chip. Medals will not be released”.
Course = D: If you advertise 5 miles then you better be sure the course is at a very minimum 5 miles. This course was 3.75 miles long. So I felt I got ripped off. Wouldn’t you be mad of you signed up for a 1/2 Marathon but found out the course was only 10 miles?
The obstacles were poorly assembled/built. Most of the wood obstacles just didn’t feel safe and I almost fell on the Road Block (wood walls) because they were shaking so much.
Post-Race = B: Water station but no bananas. I think they’ve had bananas at every Obstacle Course race that I’ve ran ever except for this one. Also, they didn’t have any womens size shirts on hand so my niece got a S in mens.
Overall = C: I would do the Urban Warrior Dash if I had a free or heavily discounted entry.
Submitted by KT122
March 4, 2013
C for Pre-race: This would’ve been higher, but volunteers from packet pick-up & follow up from staff gets a C overall. After my packet pick-up, I realized I didn’t recieve a shirt. I notified the staff from their FB page and was assured I’d get a t-shirt if I returned w/ my packet. I did the next day and left w/o a shirt. I later read participants would get their shirts after the finish line. Per the website, under Picking up a Friend’s Swag: “You may pick up the participant t-shirt, race bib, and chip.” Conflicting info from the website to their volunteers, but it’s their first event. I’m sure this’ll improve over time.
Another reason for C was the follow up from staff. An email w/ links allowing auto posts while racing was sent. I recieved confirmation from FB after registering. Twitter’s link was invalid and they were notified. I was told they were working on it and would get back to me. That didn’t happen. Also, there weren’t any posts to my FB wall while racing. If they decided to do away w/ the links/autoposts entirely, an email to participants would’ve sufficed.
A for Course: Okay, so it wasn’t 5 miles. The course was awesome & challenging combined. Obstacles were subject to change, so I kept it mind. I didn’t see cars (for Impound), but halfway through the course, the cars were a distant memory. Aid stations were well manned & volunteers kept the motivation strong. Petco Quad Killer was the best & Daily Grind was the hardest. I had an idea after watching the 1st wave, but quickly changed my strategy. I got over!
A for Post-race: I earned the medal and shirt! Volunteers were in full support, passing out medals and guiding us for t-shirt pick-up. The expo was rocking…lots of vendors and food carts, too.
B+ for Overall: Put aside the registration & follow through hiccups & you have a GREAT race. I like the Urban theme. If you’re looking for mud or water, register for another race. A giant adult playground w/ obstacles in your city…that’s Urban to me. Parking across the street for $10. I bet that’s a lot cheaper than other parking lots (downtown) would offer. Crowd support was on high for the last two obstacles and I’d do this again next year. Make it twice a year, if you can RD’s!