Race Report/Review: Monster Dash (Haunted Obstacle Course 5K)

Alternate title: The only time I’ll wear a skirt while running. Maybe … because if I can convince someone to wear one with me, I’d still like to get a sparkle skirt.

Waiting at registration.
See the pirate in the middle of this shot
with the red headband? That’s me.

This morning, The Sailor and I (and a couple friends – Tiny and Tiff) did the Monster Dash in Crete, IL.

Not to be confused with the Monster Dash half marathon and 5K in Chicago next weekend. No, our race was like the Warrior Dash, but haunted. I think this is the second year they’ve done this race.

A while back, there was a Groupon for the Monster Dash, so we were able to do it for about half off ($30 instead of $50 early bird / $65 later price). I’d say we got a pretty good deal for the price.

At the start. We are just to the right of the start sign.

Like other races of it’s kind, you sign up in waves. Not ones for waking up early, we signed up for the 10:30am wave. We live in the south suburbs, so it only took us about 15 minutes to get to the race, but our group was running a little late, and I think left the off-site parking area via shuttle a few minutes before 10:30.

It only took a few minutes to get to the start area, and there was a pretty long line for registration, so we were still in line when the 10:30 wave started. By the time we got our bibs, it was a few minutes from the start of the 11am wave, so we started with that group.

I’m on the left

The race is a 5K through a wooded area with lots of obstacles. We had to climb up and over hay bales, half walls, robe ladders, run/walk/jump over planks, logs and bridges (some less stable than others), swing on ropes, crawl through tubes (we didn’t, because it required crawling through muddy water and, um, we didn’t want to) and crawl under nets and run through a lot of wet, muddy grass. By the end our shoes/socks were pretty soaked with muddy water. Also, being in the location it was, the ground was uneven, and jumping off the very first obstacle (a six foot tall hay bale), my right foot landed on an uneven patch (and then I ran 3 miles on it) and now it’s a little sore. 


There were also lots of “monsters” throughout the course. I’ll be honest. I was a little nervous about that. As much as I love Halloween, I am a huge wuss when it comes to haunted houses. Even the ones made for kids at pumpkin patches freak me out a little bit (I think it’s that it’s dark, enclosed, and something could jump out at me).

But anytime there was a monster on the course during the race, we could usually see it far enough in the distance, and only one of them surprised us (he was underneath a log that we were jumping over). Luckily no one really jumped out at me. Also, by the time we passed them, the course had been open probably 3 hours and they were probably tired.

Tiff, the Sailor, Tiny, me

I finished in 39:10 minutes. The guys finished about a minute behind me, Tiff finished way before us because she actually got there on time.

Post-race, finishers got a free beer (they had Miller Lite and Modelo available). We stuck around long enough to drink those and then took a shuttle back to our car.

Overall, it was a great event. There was ample free parking and the shuttles ran frequently.

Other than the long line for the registration (which if we hadn’t been late wouldn’t have been a big deal for us), everything went really smoothly. There was also a long line for gear check (and everyone had to check their swag bag because parking was off-site), but Tiny’s wife was there and she held our stuff for us.

Monster Dash medalMonster Dash shirtBecause of the waves spaced every half hour, the course was not crowded, I think we only had to stop and wait at one of the obstacles (the rope swing). We expected mud, so we wore old shoes and I wore an old costume. It definitely felt like a Halloween race without being too scary for wusses like me.

There was a water station on the course (normally I don’t take water for 5Ks but did this time – the course was hilly, and also grassy and muddy so it took more effort to get through than a road race, and the obstacles were challenging) and also bottled water at the end (and beer of course!). Our swag was a t-shirt (cotton), a medal and a free beer ticket. I love the medal!

Being the cheapskate that I am, I don’t know if I would do it again at full price. But, we definitely had fun this morning. If you like obstacle-course races like the Warrior Dash, definitely check out this race.


39:10, 12:38 pace
AG: 31/171
OA: 167/714

The Sailor:
40:16, 12:59 pace
AG: 51/128
OA: 187/714

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