Featured Obstacle Course Race (OCR): Warrior Dash

One of the pioneers of obstacle racing, Warrior Dash held their first-ever event in 2009, featuring a 5k course with 12+ obstacles. Having taken place before Tough Mudder and Spartan’s inaugural events, we have this Chicago-based organizer to thank for introducing the modern sport of obstacle racing to the U.S.!

Since 2009, Warrior Dash has attracted more than 2.5 million participants. Owned by Red Frog Events, this OCR series has the backing of a successful event production firm with a commitment to the Warrior Dash series.

Thanks to Lauren Gardner, Public Relations Manager at Warrior Dash, for the following Q & A!

Lauren Gardner, Warrior Dash PR Manager

Lauren Gardner, Warrior Dash PR Manager

ORW: How many countries did Warrior Dash hold an event in in 2015?

Gardner: Last year, we had international events across the US, Denmark, Canada, and Mexico.

ORW: Are there any company plans to expand the number of countries in 2016? If so, what countries are planned for expansion?

Gardner: In 2016, we are focusing on our key markets and will have events in Canada and across the US, with potential for more countries to come.


ORW: Any other company plans for growth you would like to share?

Gardner: In 2015, we acquired a long term partner within food and beverage services, and are continuing to grow our company as an event production and event services provider through this opportunity. While Warrior Dash continues to flourish, we are also providing other companies event services with Red Frog Food & Beverage and our online ticketing platform, EventSprout. Our other events, Firefly Music Festival, Big Barrel Country Music Festival, Chicago Beer Classic and ShamrockFest also continue to show our vast success.

ORW: What company achievements and milestones Warrior Dash achieved in 2015 are you most proud of?

Gardner: This past December, the St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center opened on the St. Jude Campus in Memphis. This is the first center of its kind specifically devoted to the needs of pediatric cancer patients, providing the most precise dose of radiation treatment possible. Red Frog Events, with the help of our St. Jude Warriors, has fundraised over $12.5 M towards our $25 M commitment to St. Jude. The opening of this center was an exciting achievement to showcase to our Warriors exactly where their fundraising efforts are going.


ORW: What do you think are some of the challenges and opportunities for growth for obstacle sports?

Gardner: Running USA reported last year that obstacle course racing’s annual participation has surpassed that of traditional half and full marathons combined. As a company, Red Frog looks forward to a strong future of Warrior Dash. We are confident about the future of OCR as we continue to innovate and create; we’re projecting higher revenues in 2016 than we had in 2015.

ORW: Is there anything else about Warrior Dash you would like to share?

Gardner: The key differentiator that has helped to sustain Warrior Dash in the long-term is our devotion to our roots: We take pride in our 5K distance–as it is and it will continue to be a challenge for new runners and a sprint for more competitive athletes. By focusing on one distance, our team is able to continue to produce the premier 5K experience we’ve been known for since the beginning. Furthermore, Red Frog’s event knowledge extends beyond the running industry; through this, we’re able to provide one of the premier post-race festival experiences in the industry.


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