Urban Warrior Dash Review

By on May 24, 2013
Urban Warrior Dash Finisher Medal

Red Frog Events had the first of their new races on March 2, 2013 in San Diego – Urban Warrior Dash.

This race is the clean cut cousin of the well-known Warrior Dash that Red Frog Events has been hosting since 2009.

Unlike the mud filled courses traditional Warrior Dash usually offers, Urban Warrior Dash took runners all through beautiful downtown San Diego, California. Although runners were not jumping fire or crawling through mud, they were faced with some particularly daunting obstacles. And there could not have been a better backdrop for this inaugural event than sunny Southern California.

Participants began to arrive about 6:30AM for their chance to be a part of obstacle racing history. The start and finish of the race took place in one of the parking lots just outside Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. Unlike traditional obstacle races, parking for the event was just steps from the starting line. This was a nice change considering at some venues, the walk from your car to the event is longer than the actual race itself.

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Check-in at the registration tents was very well organized and the volunteers worked quickly to keep the lines short. The bag check area was also very organized. Bags were taken and returned quickly with no issues to speak of.

Two distinct bonuses of this event – there was no charge for spectators or bag checks. This may seem not worth mentioning, but if you have ever done any of these types of races before, you know that it is rare to find an event that offers both of those things free of charge. That is something that Red Frog seems to pull off very well. They do not try to gouge their participants and spectators from all directions.

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As we lined up for the 8:00am wave, the corral was filled with excited discussions about what was in store for us. Runners did their last minute warm up stretches before we were let loose on the streets of San Diego. The start of the race was a bit anticlimactic. We were in the middle of the corral and didn’t hear anything that indicated the race had started. People had just started moving their way out of the corral. Was there a MC for the race? If there was, he was so low he could not be heard.

As we made our way onto the streets of San Diego there was something cool about running in between the tall buildings and seeing empty streets waiting for our footsteps. At one point I stayed behind my wave to take some pictures. The street was completely empty and a little ominous. I was halfway expecting stumbling zombies to start walking around as if I had just stumbled onto the set of The Walking Dead.

Because this was held in the middle of the city, the obstacles were limited to open areas that were off the actual streets. The streets were scheduled to be reopened by noon, and they couldn’t very well tear down all the obstacles in time to meet that deadline, so they made good use of park areas and parking lots within the downtown area.

As we passed the one mile mark we hit our first group of obstacles. Our first glimpse of the Urban Warrior obstacles included swinging tires, twisted spider web-like bungee cords to maneuver through, tires, and over/unders. I was a little disappointed in these first obstacles. They were fun, but smaller than what I had hoped for. We were promised beat up cars to jump over while doing high knees though tires. What happened?

Swinging Tires

Swinging Tires

Over/Unders

Over/Unders

Bungee Crawl Through

Bungee Crawl Through

Tire Obstacle

Tire Obstacle

Once we left the first group of obstacles, we went about six blocks down to the next set of obstacles. This is where we encountered another cargo net that you had to bear crawl through, two sets of multi height walls get over and a balance beam obstacle over plastic Jersey barriers. These were more in line with what I was hoping for, but I was still hoping for bigger obstacles. As I’ve said before I am a mud-running obstacle racing adrenaline junkie and I was in need of a good fix.

Cargo Bear Crawl

Cargo Bear Crawl

Walls

Walls

Jersey Barrier Balance Beams

Jersey Barrier Balance Beams

As we said goodbye to mile 2, we started heading back down the empty streets of downtown and found ourselves staring at a 15 foot climb only to find a vertical drop on the other side. Now we were talking! Just reading that probably didn’t seem too scary, but I can assure you when you are at the top of that thing, you feel like you are 30 feet up in the air. This is where I saw the first injury. Balance is the key to an obstacle like this. It’s important to keep your core and your body weight close to the structure. A guy behind me lost his balance and fell off when he was about half way up the obstacle. Not a good thing. But there was EMTs stationed at every group of obstacles, so he was able to get medical attention right away.

Vertical Drop

Vertical Drop

Vertical Wall

Vertical Wall

Just as we finished the vertical drop, we turned and were faced with a 20 foot inclined wall that had to be climbed. Out of all the obstacles, this was the one I was most intimidated by. This obstacle was my nemesis at the Spartan Sprint and that one was about half the size of what was in front of me. Now I was being faced with something twice as long. Good thing for me there was no water or mud on this one! I surprised myself as I conquered this wall with ease. Now that we were at the top we had to carefully climb down the rungs that were spaced precariously far apart on the other side. There was no real danger here, as long as you took your time and made your way down carefully. The group of obstacles concluded with the tube crawl. This was a little different than what had been shown in the obstacle preview. This was two large plastic pipes that you had to either bear crawl through or make your way through on your hands and knees. I was expecting an incline half way through to increase the difficulty, but that was not the case.

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As we continued running through the heart of the city we rounded our way back to the stadium. This is where we encountered the dumpster balance beams. These were wooden planks placed over open dumpsters that had to be crossed. The slight shaking in the plank added to the excitement, although there was no real danger. As we made our way towards the back of the Petco Park, we were greeted by an amazing open view of the stadium. Once inside the stadium we ran up and down one level of seats.

We did this several times before we made our way back out towards the finish line. There were lots of random comments heard from other runners who wished there was more time spent in the actual stadium. It would have been more challenging if there were more stairs (quad killers) to run through. Luckily we were done with the stairs before anyone’s legs buckled.

Beautiful view of Petco Park Stadium

Beautiful view of Petco Park Stadium

Dumpster Dive Balance Beam

Dumpster Dive Balance Beam

As we made our way across the street towards the finish line there were two more obstacles to conquer before claiming our medals. The Daily Grind was next. This obstacle involved climbing up about five feet and then making our way across a balance beam. Then you had to use your arms to get down two parallel pipes. This was one of the more challenging obstacles. Most people opted for swinging their legs over the poles and shimmying their way down. The finish line was in sight, and the only thing left was the A-framed cargo net. It was also about 20 feet high. Although not difficult, this is always a fun obstacle.

Cargo Climb

Cargo Climb

After the race, there was some chatter about the length of the course. It was supposed to be a 5 mile course, but according to some runners’ GPS/ Running Apps, it appeared to be a little less than 4 miles. I can’t confirm that for sure, as I forgot my Garmin at home.

All in all Urban Warrior Dash was a great race! The obstacles were more challenging than some of the Warrior Dash obstacles, but not as difficult as some of the other races out there.

It was nice to get out of the dirt and mud to do a road race with obstacles. That isn’t something you get to do every day.
Red Frog Events knows how to put on a good race, so if Urban Warrior Dash comes to your city, be sure to sign up! You will not be disappointed. We are already looking forward to see what Urban Warrior Dash will bring us next year.

Urban Warrior Dash Finisher Medal

Urban Warrior Dash Finisher Medal

About Laurie Hale

Laurie hosts a podcast with her husband called Getting Dirty with Daniel and Laurie. It is a bi-weekly podcast that focusing on the ins and outs of obstacle racing, interviews with race directors and tips and tricks to get you on your way to participating in your first obstacle race.

You can also catch up with Laurie at the Getting Dirty Blog where she writes about her obstacle race journey and other fun things related to obstacle racing.