Review: Metro Dash with a GoRuck Pack

Here’s a description of MetroDash from their site:

“…We combined 30 elements into one insane obstacle course that will surely push your physical and mental limits…The Metro Dash course is set up in an area the size of an NFL football field. Competitors will sprint a total of about 600 meters while climbing, crawling, jumping, swinging, and scaling their way through 30 challenging obstacles. The fastest time wins.”

Our course was at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in a grassy field. The obstacles ranged from rope ladder climbs to jumping hurdles to monkey bars to short farmer’s walks. The obstacles were generally easy, easy enough that even an out-of-shape n00b could handle them. Anything that you couldn’t traverse, say the chain link fence climb, you were welcome to walk around. The race was well organized for the most part, except that I found it confusing what certain obstacles were once you started. Since there are 30 obstacles and they are right on top of each other, it was easy to forget mid-race especially when you’re sucking wind. I think this could have been alleviated in a variety of ways, either by doing walk-through tours of the course or handling it CrossFit style, with a judge or two following each heat and giving instructions. A heat had only 4 competitors, so it would have been easy to follow. Most of us figured out the course by watching the earlier heats.

My experience: I ran the course with a GoRuck pack loaded with 20#. This made it solidly more difficult, especially on the climbing elements. The cargo net climb, monkey bars, and fence climb were seriously tricky with the extra weight on my back, although certainly doable. Everything else was cake. Most racers finished in the 10′ range…my time was probably around 15′ although I didn’t bother looking it up.

The hardest obstacle for me was the sled pull and sled push because it kept getting stuck in the wet grass. I had to beast it through.

One obstacle that was confusing was a low wall with a 15′ rope. I wasn’t sure if I had to climb to the top of the rope and go over, or simply use the rope as an aid to get over the wall. The wall was low enough that you could basically straddle over it.

Bottom Line: While I thoroughly enjoyed running the course, it wasn’t enough of a challenge, especially considering I had done Tough Mudder SoCal a few weeks ago, which is a million times more monstrous. Metro Dash pricing started at $45, which was too much for this short event. If it was in the same format for next year, I wouldn’t sign up. So the bottom line is it’s good for a fun, quick jaunt, but won’t satisfy the hardcore types who get off on multi-hour obstacles races.

My Recommendations for Metro Dash: Either make the course twice as long or extend the running distances between obstacles to a significant amount. Push this thing into the 30′ range and you’re talking about a real challenge. Figure out a way to familiarize the competitors with the various obstacles. It would also be cool to run the course 2-3 times…say you paid a flat fee and could register for up to 3 heats, or perhaps do an elite division where you had to do the course 3 times in a row for time. Something like that.

Since we barely broke a sweat at Metro Dash, me and my peeps went straight to CrossFit Firebase and got our WOD on afterwards. We “celebrated” the return of Danny Padua from Afghanistan, one of the owners, by doing a ridiculous hour plus WOD that included everything and the kitchen sink. Full post is located here.

The main part of the workout was the following:

4 person teams, team splits up the exercises, only one person working at a time.

1,010m Run to 300m Suicide Ladder with markers set at 10, 20, 30, 40 & 50m.
1,010m Run with Kettlebell Carry (50#/30#). 4 kettlebells per team can be transported anyway.
300 Wall Balls (20#/15#)*
1,010m Run with Kettlebell Carry
300 Burpees*
1,010m Run
300 Cauldrons*

Let me tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve done multiple 1K runs while carrying a 1.5 POOD kettlebell on your neck in the 95 degree Florida heat. It was seriously epic. (One of my teammates accidentally grabbed the 70 pounder, oopsie!) Oh yes, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this point. The workout had an 80’s theme, so everyone was rocking outrageous 80’s gear while doing ridiculous crap like hucking wall ball shots. Team GoRuck had a total time of 67′.  Now that’s a good workout, son.

  • I totally agree with your 2011 assessment, but the more frustrating part is that the 2010 event was like your suggestion that the course be longer.  I finished this year in under 8 minutes.  I finished last years event in just under 58 minutes.  Each Tabata obstacle was separated by about half a mile which you had to find using a map.  One of the stations was an obstacle course in stead of Tabata station.  This station is now the enter race. 🙁

  • Wow that would have been awesome! I would sign up in a heartbeat for the 2010 version. Why on earth did the change it to the short format it is now?

  • Anonymous

    STAY AWAY FROM METRO DASH! They are dishonest, and currently refuse to refund over $750 they owe me after canceling a race. 

    I am a CrossFit trainer in Utah, and when we heard about the Metro Dash through Facebook advertising, several of us thought it would be fun to do it. Kind of like a longer version of a CrossFit workout (incidentally, I would never sign up to race with them again based on my inability to get a refund, but reading these reviews about the ridiculously easy course is another strike against them). There was a group of 20 people who signed up from our affiliate, a total of $758 in registrations. 

    We got an email from Metro Dash on July 18 indicating that they had only 120 entrants, and needed at least 125 more within two days (by July 20) to hold the race. We got another email on Wednesday, July 20 that said: 

    “SLC Athletes,

    Unfortunatley, we’ve had to cancel the Metro Dash SLC race. Cancellation is due to extremely low attendance, since our last email we have only had 12 additional registrations. We are as disappointed as you are, as we were looking forward to the SLC race.

    Full refunds will be provided to all ticket purchasers. Depending on your form of payment you will either receive a credit back onto your credit card or you will receive a check in the mail to the address you provided (*please note if you registered early through our old registration system you will be receiving a refund check). Refunds typically take 15-20 business days to process. 

    If you are a die-hard Metro Dash athlete we will be in Denver, Co this Saturday 7/23/11. If you’re up for travelling, we can transfer your registration to the Denver race. If you’re interested please send an email to racedirector@metrodash.

    Thanks for your understanding,
    Metro Dash HQ”

    Note that the email said refunds would take “15-20 business days” to process. Since that time, it has been 81 business days, and despite my repeated attempts to contact them, I keep getting the message that there have been “unforseen complications” and they have been as yet unable to issue the refund. I know that they continue to hold races (I see it on their FB page), and continue to collect money from other participants, so I am pretty skeptical about their excuses of not being able to refund the money. Either they don’t have the money (which means they have a very poor business model, because there is money coming in and they still can’t issue the refund, or they simply refuse to issue the refund.

  • I was ripped off by these guys too and have friends currently flooding their FB page with comments… please feel free to join in.

  • Anonymous

    We just recently received our refund…after six months of requesting more information. About a week before we got the money back, I got this letter from the Race Director:


    I would first like to start by saying I’m sorry for the delay in processing your refund check. I understand your frustrations, and realize our communications with you as to the reason for the delay should have been clearer. This delay was not intentional and was due to a series of losses we sustained during the later portion of our Metro Dash race series. These losses put a severe strain on our cash flow, which has continued until now. This led to a delay in the processing of your refund. Simply put the money wasn’t there to process the check and I have been tirelessly working to find a solution to this problem. I am sharing this information with you not to provide an excuse, but to to be completely honest.

    I realize this delay has left you angry and upset with Metro Dash and as I stated before I apologize. I was not trying to be dishonest or greedy in any way, that is simply not how I roll. Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed that I haven’t been able to process your refunds by the date originally promised.  

    Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please feel free to direct any further concerns to me at the email address below. Happy Holidays to you and your families.

    Race Director – Metro Dash

  • Portofspain67

     I too have not received my refund after they cancelled the Metro Dash Tampa that was scheduled for the first week in March. IT is not over 2 months since they cancelled and I still have not received my refund. I keep getting a run around.

  • SMTC_483

    They took down their FB page. They cancelled the PA event. Sent out an email saying it was cancelled due to issues they couldn’t control and they would follow up with additional information (I’m assuming like refunds, reschedule, etc.) and we never received anything. They won’t return emails or phone calls.