Warrior Dash makes Northern California debut

A racer gets muddy as she makes her way through the barbed

The first Warrior Dash in Northern California took place at 11
a.m. Saturday at Casa de Fruta. Using a hilly and winding terrain,
Red Frog Events created 11 different obstacles within a 3.5-mile
track to test the will and fitness of its participants. Some of the
obstacles included climbing over a group of cars; burrowing through
long, black tubes; and sliding down a hill.
John Clancy-Tone couldn’t have been more exhausted.

Taking deep breaths and wiping the mud from his eyes, the 26-year-old San Francisco man was just ready for a nice, cold beer. But first he wanted to get the mud out of his contacts.

Clancy-Tone – who has a big, bushy beard – was covered in mud from head to toe. Deep breaths from pure exhaustion covered his voice, and small trickles of blood surrounded his nose. Clancy-Tone appeared like he just lost a hard-fought battle.

Despite all of that, Clancy-Tone’s Viking helmet stood straight on his head – unharmed.

“This is bedlam,” he said. “I’m a warrior, and it’s good to put the body through all this with some blood and sweat.”

And according to promoter Red Frog Events, Clancy-Tone was a warrior, but so were the 6,000 competitors that participated in the event.

The first Warrior Dash in Northern California took place at 11 a.m. Saturday at Casa de Fruta. Using a hilly and winding terrain, Red Frog Events created 11 different obstacles within a 3.5-mile track to test the will and fitness of its participants. Some of the obstacles included climbing over a group of cars; burrowing through long, black tubes; and sliding down a hill.

Competitors were divided into 12 separate heats every 30 minutes.

When participants were not running, they took part in the festival that included a live band and a warrior store that sold Viking helmets.

“It’s all about you mind and body,” Clancy-Tone said. “If you want to do well, you need to find your center. Running is a very meditative thing, and in this, it changes that.”

Labeled as the ultimate event for thrill seeking athletes, Warrior Dash was created last year in Joliet, Illinois. The event has started to evolve slowly, finding more and more locations. Next year, Red Frog Events expect more races, including a return to Casa de Fruta.

With a 20-foot mud pit, logs of fire, running up a hill and surviving other obstacles over extreme terrain, the dash crowned its participants with a free, ice-cold beer and the ability to call themselves warriors.

The eclectic crowd ranged from people in elaborate costumes to basic running gear. Men in suits and women in dresses walked around holding steins filled of beer, cheering and having a good time. Others dressed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters and even as fruit. Almost everyone wore a Viking helmet.

Others flew in from out of the state, simply to enjoy Northern California and have a good time. Chris Cothe flew from Indianapolis just for the dash.

“I can come out here, meet with a couple of friends and have a great time,” he said. “It’s a perfect storm.”

Cothe, who wore a bright blue suit, said he came to have fun while competing in an athletic event.

“This is great because it tests your athletic fitness and it’s a party atmosphere,” he said.

The event also attracted the attention of those from the surrounding communities. Three Hollister residents – Kevin Caifer, John Huston and Paulette Cobb – all wanted to experience the challenge. All three were dressed in costume.

“I’ve got make-up and a skirt on – I’m ready to go,” Caifer said.

Others took the events a little more seriously. Those wearing running attire warmed up by running around the festival’s perimeter. The serious participants were able to time themselves using a shoe chip that was provided by the events organizers.

“It is an athletic event, but we want those that don’t run to have fun too,” said Lauren Shield, the event’s race director. “This is not only for the serious athlete, but the beginner athlete as well.”

The event was the first in Northern California and one of 10 scheduled this year, Shield said.

“We try to find places that have a rough terrain with a mixture of hills and woods,” Shield said. “This is a great place for us. It’s near San Jose and San Francisco and there are a lot of people that are interested in this sort of thing. It is the perfect location.”

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