Monday, June 20, 2011

Warrior Run, West Mountain: 06/18/2011

I've been in a lot of races over the years, but never anything quite like Saturday's Warrior Run at West Mountain. Equal part trail run, obstacle course and party, the Warrior Run is as much an "experience" as it is a "race." As evidence of the growing popularity of this type of adventure race, nearly 1800 runners pre-registered for Saturday's event, a huge number of participants for a first-time event. Word of mouth and promotional material like the video trailer below got Beth and me curious when the event was announced several months ago:

Runners in Wave 2 just after the start

I expected mayhem prior to the start of the race, but since runners go off in 4 waves at one-hour intervals, picking up our race bibs and getting ready for the race was no problem. We were in Wave 3, at noon, so we got to see Wave 2 start and many of the runners finish.

Wave 2 runners starting the long climb up the mountain

A great deal of hype had been given to the obstacles on the race course - mud pit, walls, wind tunnel, fire pit and more - but the biggest challenge was the mountain itself, with the 5K course taking runners straight up 1000' vertical feet via the mountain's ski trails, and then back down.

Wave 2 stragglers

Undoubtedly many runners went out way too fast at the start, because bodies started dropping not far into the serious climbing. I just settled into a steady but fast hiking pace, ignoring my watch and letting my legs and lungs determine how fast I should climb. Having made literally hundreds of runs down the ski trails at West over the years gave me a huge psychological advantage, but it was still a relief to see the top of the double chairlift and know that I'd have gravity on my side for the second half of the course.

That’s me in front, near the bottom of the descent. Photo: Jeff Tabor

On the way up, the only views I got were of the ski slope rising up ahead of me, but on the way down it was more like running through a grassy - but steep - mountain meadow. Kind of like The Sound of Music, but with helicopters, smoke and fallen bodies.

The “fire pit” really wasn’t much of an obstacle

I guess all my running this spring paid off because I crossed the finish line at 35:06, 19 out of 400+ in my wave and somewhere in the top 100 overall. Beth came in about 10 minutes later, still in the top 25% of runners.

Just a few of the costumed runners

By the time our wave was finishing up around 1pm, the post-race party was well underway. Warriors fueled their recovery with burgers, smoked turkey legs and plenty of beer. Live music inspired racers still on the course to push for the finish line so they could join the party. We left at about 2:30 with the party still going strong.

Although I don’t foresee traveling around the northeast to seek out these types of races (Windham has a Warrior Dash in August, and Mount Snow’s Tough Mudder competition was in early May), the West Mountain Warrior Run was a lot of fun, and I’ll definitely sign up for next year’s event.

Warrior recovery station


  1. "Kind of like The Sound of Music, but with helicopters, smoke and fallen bodies."

    ROFLMAO. Great report.

  2. Kind of like The Sound of Music -

    More like Apocalypse Now.
    Sounds like fun!

  3. are the overall results being posted at all

  4. Anon, the overall results can be found at the link in my report above. That link is where I say "I crossed the finish line at 35:06." You'll then have to click through one or two more screens to get to the final results page, and there is a link on that page to "View all finishers."