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.
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.
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.
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.