This past weekend my husband and I were first-time participants in the Warrior Run at Big Tupper in Tupper Lake, NY, along with some friends from high school. The Warrior Run is in its third year and this year added a music festival to the day-long event.
We’d both participated in the Warrior Dash at Wyndham Mountain in the past and having grown up in Tupper Lake I was a little “been there, done that” “I know that mountain like the back of my hand” cocky about the whole thing. Well. The Warrior Run kicked my butt in a way the Warrior Dash did not (and the Warrior Dash was extremely difficult!).
The folks that put on the Warrior Run are all volunteers, supported by the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce. They have basically no budget. What they do have is creativity and access to other like-minded residents and businesses willing to donate time, materials and equipment to make this thing happen. Unlike the more “overproduced” obstacles at the Warrior Dash (which could be kinda lame at times), these obstacles were scrappy, no joke, and at times, downright brutal.
Tires from logging trucks to climb over and through, scaffolding to climb over old ski lifts, buried drainage pipes (with water and mud running through them!), hitting moving (human!) targets with paintball guns, mazes through the woods, painful ascents up double black diamond trails and rope pulls up rock cliffs–this course featured them all, and then some. A 5K mud run can feel exceptionally long anyway, but when you’re running up and down and up and down and across and up and down an extremely steep mountain the entire time, it’s even longer.
We kept joking about the wave of emotions–Excited! Exhausted. Giddy! Angry. I had a serious case of potty mouth every time we had to go back up hill (again) or when the next obstacle just looked impossible (again). We were so muddy. The fire department hosed down the course and obstacles, the local excavators dug mud ponds, there are natural springs and ponds on the mountain–we went through them all during the course. And it was fun. So, so, SO much fun!
We met people from out of town–other adventure seekers who love the Adirondacks, who just stumbled upon this event while googling “mud run” and “adventure race.” They can’t wait to come back and ski Big Tupper now that they’re intimately familiar with it’s varied and steep terrain. The views throughout the course were breathtaking, and again, I’ve lived there most of my life. The view of the lakes and the mountains in the summer is so different than the view I’m used to up there in the winter. At the end of the race, we were hosed off and jumped in the old snowmaking pond to clean up. It felt like a trip to the spa. We stuck around for Saranac beer, BBQ and some great bands. It was really a perfect weekend and we can’t wait to do it again. See for yourself – I shot the footage below of the race using my GoPro.