There are many people who might not give much consideration to paying money for an opportunity to crawl through mud and jump over burning objects while running a five kilometer cross country course. But close to 10,000 people did just that Oct. 15 during a Warrior Dash at the Blackhawk Valley Hunting Preserve in Old Monroe near St. Louis.
Included in the huge field of weekend warriors were three law enforcement officers out of Texas County: sergeant Tim Ceplina and reserve officer Kevin Reed of the Houston Police Department, and Texas County Sheriff’s Department deputy Zach Jones.
Warrior Dash events, put on by Red Frog Events out of Chicago, are staged at numerous locations around the world. The basic concept is that participants are timed as they negotiate a 5K (3.1 mile) obstacle course, encountering horrendous barriers and diabolical obstacles along the way.
Courses usually include 10 or more obstacles, and fire, water, vertical climbs and other things designed to be extremely difficult to pass through, by or over are all within the realm of possibility. Also present at Dashes are live bands, vendors, and lots of food.
Red Frog bills a Warrior Dash as a “mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run from hell,” and that the “fierce running series is held on the most challenging and rugged terrain across the globe.”
Ceplina was still in a bit of a recovery stage three days after his Dash.
“I’m sore, but I finished,” he said. “It was a lot more challenging than I thought it was going to be. Three miles is further than you think and then you throw in 10 or 12 obstacles and it’s that much harder.”
Two other HPD officers had also planned to be dashing warriors, but had to back out for personal reasons. Ceplina said the group had agreed to take on the task for one basic reason.
“It looked like something fun to take a stab at,” he said.
Some Dashers at the Old Monroe event didn’t have as much fun as others.
“There were Air Evac helicopters flying people out and ambulances coming and going all day long,” Ceplina said. “Some of the obstacles were pretty dangerous.”
Despite the danger, Texas County will likely be represented in a Warrior Dash again next year.
“It was definitely worth going,” Ceplina said. “We’ll do it again.”
Participants earn a shirt and hat, and Warriors who complete their dash are rewarded with a medal.