Some love roller coasters, others choose to skydive or bungee jump. I am not one of those people—thrill rides and extreme sports never did it for me. Instead I choose to run marathons. Some of my friends think I am crazy for what I do; but I think there are many crazier acts out there than running 26.2 miles. For many though, accomplishing the marathon or triathlon just means it’s time to move on to a new challenge. These challenges may involve swimming through mud, jumping through fire or lugging a log with you throughout the forest. I am referring to the Warrior Dash, Muddy Buddy and Death Race. The names alone make me think twice about ever entering such ridiculous competitions. And while these events may not kill you over the long term, they may in fact kill you while you are competing!
I have noticed more and more of these activities cropping up across the country and it makes me laugh. The Warrior Dash web site, for example, touts the event as the “craziest frickin’ day of your life” where “warriors conquer extreme obstacles on the most challenging and rugged terrain across the globe.” The “dirt” on the Columbia Muddy Buddy Ride & Run Series includes: two mud-slinging teammates, one bike, 6-mile trail run and ride, fun obstacles, costume contest and a mud pit crawl. With a lot of encouraging you might be able to get me to do one of these events because let’s face it, wearing a Viking headpiece is cool, right? However, I will say NO to the Death Race…NO exceptions. The Death Race limits the field to 200 entrants (soundly screened to make sure each is capable of handling) and as the website states is “a 24-hour test of extreme physical and psychological stamina.” No food or water is provided, nor do participants know when the trek will start or when it will end. The course is a mystery and one might guess it’s more than just swimming through a pit of mud. The Washington Post writer Lenny Bernstein writes the following in the 2/10/11 article “Maryland man prepares to take on the death race”:
[Participants] had to hack the stumps out of the ground and carry them for most of the 24-hour race. There were countless hours of running, climbing, bushwhacking, log-splitting and lifting. After a 2,000-foot climb, they found a list of the first 10 U.S. presidents, which they had to recite correctly after running back down the mountain. One mistake and they were sent back up again. The following year, some pre-race instructions arrived in Greek.
One thing is certain—anything that makes me sign a waiver that says “You may die” is a sure sign for me not to mess with my own fate. So I ask what will come next in this extreme era of testing our abilities to the max? I’m sure we will soon be seeing some reality television shows about these races and the people who choose to partake in doing them.
Check out the sponsors’ web sites if you think you have the guts (and are insane enough) to enter: