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Featured Obstacle Race: BADASS Dash

31 Mar 2015

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Today’s featured race is BADASS Dash. If you haven’t taken on a BADASS Dash event yet, try to get out to one this year!

BADASS Dash, founded in 2012, offers a few different races for various fitness levels, ages, and interests. This year, 8 events are planned so far in the U.S. and Canada, so check out their event listings to see the closest one near you.

Here’s more on BADASS Dash, thanks to an interview with Brian Sharenow, Race Director of the OCR series.

Obstacle Race

Number of Miles
Elite & Recreation Divisions: 7 km
Kids’ Dash: 1-1.5 miles
K-9 (race with your dog): 5 km

Number of Obstacles
Elite & Recreation Divisions: 30-40
Kids’ Dash: 6-14
K-9: 15-20

What is the most challenging obstacle in BADASS Dash?
I would say the most challenging is the Australian Back Crawl. It consists of a tarp on the upside of a hill with a net over it; you have to crawl under the net and pull yourself up hill. So there is a little bit of claustrophobia, both upper body and lower body strength involved, and depending on the venue, it can really work your toughness and endurance as the slope can get very steep. In some places, we’ll spray water on the tarp, which will make it slippery and others we won’t and the heat of the tarp under your back adds to the challenge.


Australian Back Crawl

Why a 7k instead of a traditional 5k?
There are a lot of groups that offer 5k and/or 10k, but our experience in the OCR genre found that many people want more of a challenge than a 5k, but don’t want to do a full 10k so BADASS Dash blends and meets both halfway as we push and challenge people more than a 5k, but don’t exhaust them with a 10k.

BADASS Dash is a true obstacle race with a boatload of obstacles and not as much long running. Difficulty levels are blended to appeal to everyone. There are usually 5-6 easy ones, 20 others that are about middle of the road and another 10 that are very challenging. It’s a good mixture — whether you are an elite athlete, recreational athlete, a kid or running with your canine…the course is a challenge and a true obstacle race.

What is unique about BADASS Dash?
Variety is one of the points of distinction, especially in the venues we go after. For example, our 2 Chicagoland races: one is done in the spring at a full blown entertainment Arena (Sears Centre), while the other one is done in the fall at a women’s softball stadium. Our Las Vegas race is for sure our most popular U.S. race, and I truly believe that is because two-thirds of the course is in INSIDE as the event is run around, under, and over an operating casino/hotel with an arena and equestrian center attached to it. We also do a few national parks, sports complexes, and ski hills to make sure we do not have cookie-cutter events. We try to focus on several good quality races with variety in venues (maybe 8-12 max a year instead of dozens). Since we do not have as many races as some of the other groups out there, we try to focus on central places/key areas per region.

I definitely think the addition of our K-9 division is beyond unique since none of the other OCR’s are doing this and there are millions of people in this world that love to run with their dogs. That’s a big thing. We pride ourselves in having a true, quality family event in which each family member (and the family pet) will have something to take part in. 

Claustrophobic Crawl

Claustrophobic Crawl

Can you tell us more about your charity of choice?
Another key distinction is the charity partner we have selected – Autism Speaks. We feel this charitable organization is very distinct from what other race organizers select. Knowing how prevalent autism is in today’s society, it was important for us to raise money for this incredible organization. It also hits home as my son is Autistic and some of our management team has been affected by the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) so it made all the sense in the world to us when we were starting out both on a personal level but also considering that people that suffer from (ASD) face challenges and obstacles every day.

If you think about the idea of an obstacle race…you set out a course that people can navigate through and hopefully, they can reach the finish line. And after crossing that finish line and knowing they just finished their last obstacle for the day, they get to stand there exhausted but triumphant, celebrating either by themselves or with friends or family (and maybe even with a beer). The overall goal of these races, above anything else, is to raise money to hopefully one day get those who suffer from ASD to their finish line…to find a way to that these incredible people get a chance to face their final obstacles and come out the other side.


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