Home  >  Magazine  >  Issue 47 (Spring 2013) : Apr/June 2013  > Features >  Warriors… come out to play!


Warriors… come out to play!
By Gardner Robinson

Read the Digital Edition of Outdoor Japan Traveler - Issue #47 - Spring 2013

“Hey boppers…” if you are younger than 40 years old, you may not recognize these obscure references to the 1979 movie, “The Warriors.” In the cult classic, a minor New York gang is unfairly blamed for a murder, and the members find themselves running across the city, trying to get back to their home turf on Coney Island. They face a myriad of obstacles along the way; not the least, every other gang in the city trying to take them out.  

Warrior Dash is just like this… well, minus the sultry DJ, people trying to inflict bodily harm on you and the bad late-’70s fashion. That being said, Warrior Dash provides plenty of obstacles for you or your ragtag team to navigate in a race against time. You will see some big hair and crazy outfits and there are other gangs out there chasing you around. 

So what is Warrior Dash? Is it one of those three-day adventure races for uber-fit endurance athletes? Is it a mad sprint put on by hash hound harriers? Is it some kind of adult costume party in the forest?

Perhaps it's a little bit of everything. According to race director David Scott who has helped bring the series to Japan, “Warrior Dash is the No. 1 obstacle racing brand in the world; it’s exercise and entertainment all in the same venue, a five-kilometer obstacle race over natural terrain, as well as a festival with music and great food for spectators and runners before and after running.”

The course is designed to test participants’ stamina, strength, balance and dexterity. Some obstacles may challenge your fear of heights; for neat freaks it might be a discomfort with getting dirty. You will definitely have to walk or run, climb, crawl and jump. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself leaping over tires, mucking across a mud pit, climbing walls, tight walking a balance beam, jumping on the hood of a car or leaping over fire.

Warrior Dash is held over two days with participants divided into “waves” (groups) according to their start time. Every half-hour a new wave of runners will start the five-kilometer course that takes from 30 minutes to one hour to complete. 

Race organizers expect about 5,000 Warriors to join each day. The first group will start at 9 a.m.; the last group at 4 p.m., so all the participants have plenty of time to get around the course and through the obstacles without any major delays. 

While Warrior Dash is personal challenge rather than a race, everyone will be timed, and the results are listed on the Warrior Dash Web site.  

“Warrior Dash is a ‘My Pace’ run. Experience tells us 95 percent of participants are interested in combining fun with their exercise, and 5 percent will want to time themselves against the clock and fellow competitors. Participants are welcome to run as individuals or in teams,” Scott adds.  

Anyone 15 or older can enter Warrior Dash to run the course. Children with a parent or guardian are allowed in the festival area. In 2012, more than 500 people over 70 years old participated in the events in the USA.  

It is recommended you bring a pair of running shoes and a change of clothing. You’ll also need a ticket, available through the Web site. The cut-off date for buying tickets is one week before the event. 

Perhaps the best thing about Warrior Dash is the fun doesn’t stop when you finish your “race.” The festivities get going in the morning, featuring local and international food and DJs and live music playing all day. All participants receive a free beer (or non-alcoholic beverage). 

The fun, party atmosphere, combined with the opportunity to stay fit and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow racers, is all part of the formula that has made the USA events so incredibly popular. 

So all you boppers out there…grab a rag tag crew, channel your inner warrior and join the fun. It’ll be better than getting chased across New York City at night. Warriors…come out to playeaay!


June 15-16: Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest, Kanagawa
June 22-23: Naeba Ski Field, Niigata 
July 27-28: Tokyo Doitsu Mura, Kisarazu, Chiba