Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Dirty Dash

Two years ago, I ran the Warrior Dash and it was AWESOME. I was hoping to do another adventure run on this trip to the US, and I got my chance on Saturday at the Dirty Dash in Eugene. Once again, it was Jeremy and my brother Blair and me...with all our kids and a spare cousin thrown in the mix. The adults did a 4-mile course with lots of obstacles. The kids did a separate "Piglet Plunge" that was mostly mud pits and hay bales and was only about one mile long. For an idea of what the Dirty Dash is like, check out:

The Dirty Dash was very similar to the Warrior Dash, but the atmosphere was a little different. The Warrior Dash was more serious - you had to jump over fire at the end, for starters - and the Warrior Dash didn't have any kids' component so it was more of a moms-and-dads-only event. The obstacles were very different, too. The Warrior Dash obstacles were random and thrilling and challenging and yet very do-able. At the Dirty Dash, the obstacles seemed more manufactured - here is a wall which you must jump over. And now here is another wall, which you must also jump over - and honestly, I couldn't do all of them. Lame, I know. I could fling myself over huge floating logs in a river during the Warrior Dash but I had trouble making my way across two sets of monkey bars (in part because I had dry-ish mud caked all over my hands - doesn't make for good traction. Also, have you tried monkey bars lately? It's not nearly as easy as when you were a kid). Another problem was that we ran a later heat of the Dirty Dash and the course was clogged with slower runners from earlier heats. That meant that we actually had to wait in line at some of the obstacles, which was jovial and fun and all but rather less like a race. At the Warrior Dash, it was possible to try hard to run fast and maybe get a good time while completing all the obstacles. At the Dirty Dash, there was a beer/root beer pit stop halfway through the race. Definitely a different ambiance.

That led to some interesting crowd behavior at a rope climbing obstacle soon afterward. There was a huge group of us waiting at the foot of a large rope cargo net apparatus and people were pausing at the top to chant, "USA! USA! USA!" Then everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to someone else as he climbed up (it really was his birthday).

So the race was lots of fun, even if it was a little too hard and yet a little too congested/slow, but afterward there was a huge line for the communal hoses to wash off the worst of the mud. I never got a chance - it just wasn't worth standing around for 45+ minutes. At the Warrior Dash, there was a nearby lake and everyone just washed off in that - no waiting necessary.

If you're looking for an adventure run and you have the choice of a Warrior Dash or a Dirty Dash, I would recommend the former, and I would recommend choosing the earliest possible heat that you can get. But the Dirty Dash is plenty of fun and has a more kid-friendly atmosphere, so there is that. Either way: tons of fun, as you can see from this photo of my brother and his kids and his niece (sorry, I didn't get any pictures of my own kids).


Jeremy Palmer said...

Where is the video of me doing a superman dive?

Liz Johnson said...

Yeah, really! More pictures/video, please!

(also - I'm super jealous. I've been wanting to do a dirty dash for a while.)

Kristen said...

Brings back great memories! Can't wait until I can run more than 5 steps without getting winded.


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