Safety in focus at Roanoke Warrior Dash

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on April 21, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 1:51 PM

North Texas Warrior Dash

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ROANOKE — It's now been one week since the death of Tony Weathers, who disappeared in the Trinity River during the "Original Mud Run" in Fort Worth.

Dive teams found his body on Sunday.

Organizers said lifeguards were on duty. The cause of Weathers' death has not been determined; Tarrant County officials are still waiting for toxicology tests.

Another "run" this weekend — the "Warrior Dash" in Roanoke — is not connected to "Original Mud Run," but Tony Weathers' death puts the focus on safety measures at these North Texas events.

More than 13,000 people are participating in the Warrior Dash, where runners climb over walls and leap over flames.

"I haven't done it before... it's my first time," one participant said. "I did it because I didn't think I could, so proving myself. It's fun."

The 3.2 mile course features 12 obstacles that include mud, barbed wire, fire, and water.

Warrior Dash participants are warned about the risks. Lead race director Morgan Bucciferro told News 8 that emergency staffing is critical to keeping runners safe.

"Safety has always been our number one priority, so we are fully staffed here," Bucciferro said. "We have medics at every single obstacle."

Our cameras spotted EMT/paramedics throughout the course and ambulances on standby.

At the lake crossing, lifeguards kept their eyes on the water, looking for anyone who might be having trouble getting across.

"Four lifeguards — two on one end, two on the other, with ropes across, so if you are a little nervous you can hang onto to those numbers," Bucciferro said.

We saw medical staff step in and offer aid after a woman cut her finger.

One staffer immediately called for help after seeing another participant struggling to walk along the course.

Security keeps track of all Warrior Dash participants, counting them up, one-by-one, as they leave the race.

Organizers said the goal of all of these measures is to make sure everyone goes home safe and proud.

"It's the most amazing thing I have ever done in my life," one participant said. "The obstacles were a little tough, but we got through it."

Last year, in the Michigan Warrior Dash, a man was paralyzed after diving into a mud pit. And in the Kansas City event, two people died from heat exhaustion.

Organizers there apparently moved up this year's race from the summer to the spring to avoid the potential for triple-digit temperatures.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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