Gettin’ Dirt Up My Shirt! Jay Cardiello’s Muddy Experience


Celebrity trainer and recent star of ABC’s “My Diet is Better Than Yours,” Jay Cardiello is a long-time supporter of Warrior Dash and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. After completing a Dash last year, Jay will be back at our New York event this May 21, 2016. He will be leading warm-ups, cool-downs and providing race tips for participants throughout the day. Sign-up to interact with Jay on-site in any wave, or run with Jay in the 9:15am or 2:15pm waves. Check out his story on why he continues to return to Warrior Dash and see you on the Battleground!

When it comes to racing, ‘Getting Dirty’ is the newest trend. Obstacle races like Warrior Dash and others have exploded in popularity. Making the thought of training for a road race seem a bit mundane.

But, with all these muddy choices, what makes one race more appealing than the others?

Here’s why I got dirty with Warrior Dash.

As a fitness professional and former athlete, I am always looking for ways to challenge my body. To me mud racing seemed like a perfect fit with unique obstacles and the competition of others.

So, I took to the internet and began searching various ‘mud’ forums, and scanning all of the various websites. I decided to select the Warrior Dash as my first official race. Many of the comments about the Warrior Dash stated it as being like an ‘Adult Playground’ that just so happens to have a race component to it. What also caught my eye, was the Warrior Dash’s commitment to the Children’s Hospital of St. Jude. This made my decision a lot easier because this race did not seem so self-centered around how good my performance will be on race day. It appeared to have a greater cause.

What was remarkable…the race itself went further than just giving to the charity of St. Jude…

Race day came with its typical butterflies, several trips to the rest room and asking of myself, ‘What did I just sign-up for?’ The horn went off, and about one-hundred of us trotted toward the first obstacle. This is where I realized my decision to enter Warrior Dash was the correct one. Right before I high-stepped up and over the barrier, I noticed several athletic men slowing down. It was odd to me that people would be slowing down, as this was a competition.

The men turned around and began cheering on a group of over-weight individuals. They then proceeded to help every last one of the members of this group over the barrier. A physically challenged man was a member of this particular group, and he too was assisted over the barrier. I noticed more of this kind of ‘giving back’ fitness happening at each one of the obstacles. Soon, I began lifting, pushing, and even carrying various people through the 5K race.

A lot of emotions were experienced over the course of this race for me. I recalled my athletic-career-ending spinal injury that required thirteen surgeries and how I felt the first time I walked after months. That experience was a roller coaster of emotions for me with frustration and determination fighting for space in my mind. I was reliving those years, yet watching as if it was a movie playing before me.

As I crawled through the final cold puddle of mud and crossed the finish line I witnessed something that I have never seen in any competition before. Most of the competitors were turning around, cheering on the other runners and embracing them as they crossed line. They were not friends, or on the same team, but they were all competitors. There was a different fight going on. They were running and ‘getting dirty’ for a greater high. One, like no marathoner could ever experience.

Unlike the typical transition from race to shower, I decided to remain dirty. I wanted to keep the experience going and the emotions that I was feeling. I did not want to wash off.

Each of you reading this has many choices when selecting a mud run. Some want to compete amongst the best athletes, which I did see some world-class men leaping over the wall. And, many of you are focused are experiencing something different with fitness. But, what I can guarantee each of you, at any fitness level, Warrior Dash is more than just another mud race. It is an experience that might just change your life forever.

See you at the starting line.

Jay Cardiello