A 5K for Cancer’s Sake

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The Warrior Dash, held this month in Inola, has a variety of different obstacles on the 5K course.

Oklahomans who find a run through the park a bit boring will have an option to try something different this month when the Warrior Dash sets up in Inola.

In 2009, Red Frog Events launched the very first Warrior Dash, a 5-kilometer obstacle run that would eventually become synonymous with the adventurous nature of its participants. The first run, in Joliet, Illinois, sold out almost immediately. Since then, more than 3 million people have participated in the Warrior Dash, which quickly became a success, spread out nationally and found a home in 2011 at Moore’s Flying M Ranch in Inola. This year’s run is May 6.

Molly Chernick, Red Frog’s senior manager of operations, says the company chose Inola because “Moore’s Flying M Ranch is a beautiful property.”

The layout and landscape of the ranch allow for Red Frog’s creative team to build unique, challenging courses for every iteration of the run. The ranch is 35 miles east of Tulsa, which Chernick says was another factor taken into consideration for selecting the location.

The Warrior Dash and Red Frog have partnered with St. Jude to raise more than $13.5 million for proton therapy, the most advanced form of cancer radiation technology available to patients. St. Jude seeks to produce the first such therapy specifically designed for children.

Janet Horst, owner of a Tulsa clothing boutique, ran the Warrior Dash in 2011 and 2012 and plans to run it this year. She describes the race as the “most fulfilling and exhausting run I have ever participated in” and recommends mild training beforehand to get the most out of the event. Horst ran the race alongside her husband and son, both of whom enjoyed the event and plan to run again. The family agrees that the run was a great way to come together to fight cancer.

The race presents its runners with a reason to leave their normal weekends behind and embrace an adventure – a challenging gauntlet of 12 obstacles that can include ropes, giant nets, slides, climbing of vertical walls with toeholds, bridges, water pits, mud mounds, pipelines, crawls under barbed wire, trenches and leaps over small fires. Before and afterward, athletes can enjoy a festival featuring food, drink and music.

“It’s a race that anyone can start and everyone can finish,” Chernick says. “Warrior Dash is a fresh and unique approach to your typical 5K.”

The Warrior Dash occurs in other states, too. Wisconsin, New York, North Carolina, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, Illinois, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Louisiana, Florida and Texas have runs after the one in Inola.

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