Next Event: June 15, 2024

What are the Benefits to Volunteering?

  • If you volunteer for a full day (7:00 am to 4:00 pm) you will receive a free registration for the NEXT YEARS race.
  • If you volunteer for a 1/2 day you will receive 1/2 off registration for the next years race. You can choose a morning shift of 7:00 am to 12:00 pm or afternoon shift of 11:00 am until the event is complete. If you work the afternoon shift and you are asked to work past 4:00 pm you will be compensated with merchandise or a full free registration for the next year race depending on the length of time you are asked to stay.
  • You can also volunteer to work the event and represent a business in exchange for advertisement for that business for the current years race.
  • Sunday clean up volunteers will receive a free registration for the next years race. So race on Saturday and help us clean up the Black Creek Trails on Sunday! Register on the Register now page.
  • More questions? email

Is Gadsden, AL the Only Location?

Yes! The Barbarian Challenge is now owned by the City of Gadsden.

What Does it Cost?

  • Jan. 16th – Jan. 22rd, 2024 – $45 for all
  • Jan. 23rd – Feb. 28th, 2024 – $50 non-competitive / $60 competitive
  • March 1st – May 15th, 2024 – $60 non-competitive / $70 competitive
  • May 16th – June 12th, 2024 – $75 non-competitive / $85 competitive
  • June 12th – Race Day 2024 – $85 non-competitive / $95 competitive

What are the Start Time Options?

We like to call our start times, horde times.

The time options are:

  • 8:00 am – Elite Horde
  • Competitive times (Must run these times to qualify for awards.): 8:30 am, 9:00 am
  • Non-Competitive times: 9:30 am, 10:00 am, 10:30 am. 
  • Kids Race is 8:00 am until 11:00 pm. Kids are not assigned a specific time, have them run when it is convenient. Just show up and head over to the start area to check in.

What is the Blood Oath?

The Blood Oath:

I am a barbarian.
On the battlefield I was born. I am a barbarian.
Nursed with sweat and blood.
Forged with iron
and baptized in mud.
I am a barbarian.
Fear is not an option.
Barbarians … Barbarians… Barbarians!”

When is the Race?

The 2023 race is June 15th, 2024 in Gadsden Alabama…one day only, with a limited number of registrations available.

How Do I Get There?

From Chattanooga Area:

Take I-59 South to Exit 188.
Turn left on AL 211, travel about 3 miles and the park will be on your right.

From Birmingham Area:
Take I-59 North to Exit 183.
Turn right on US 431, travel 3.25 miles and turn left on N 12th St.
Go about 1.5 miles and the park will be on your left.

GPS address:

1500 Noccalula Road Gadsden, AL 35904

Festival area is by the waterfall!

What Do You Win?

The top finishers in each age division will win an awesome custom medal, as well as second and third places will receive a different, but equally awesome custom medal. The overall female and male winner (from the 8:00 horde only) will receive an awesome custom Barbarian battle ax. Second place overall female and male will receive a custom Barbarian battle weapon. Third place overall female and male will receive a custom made Barbarian battle weapon. Everyone else gets a badass medal to prove they’re a true barbarian!

Kid’s receive a finisher medal. The kid’s event is not timed so we do not award for the fastest. It is a fun run!

My Child Wants to Race. What’s the Age Limit?

13 years old on or before the day of the Challenge is the cutoff for the adult race. 15 and under must run with an adult.

12 and under may run the kids 1 mile fun run!

Where Do I Pick Up My Race Packet?

We have a pre-race Barbarian Block Party the day before the race, Friday June 14th, 2024 from 5 to 8 pm for the adult and kid races! Location will be the Kiwanis Pavilion at Noccalula Falls Park. If you’re not planning to pick up your package a day early, please arrive a minimum of 1 hour before your horde time on race day to sign in and pickup your packet at the Kiwanis Pavilion. You must bring a photo ID to pick up your packet. NO EXCEPTIONS! You must pick up the packet at the race or at packet pick up, we don’t mail packets. If you are picking up for someone else please bring a copy of their ID or a photo of it on your phone.

Are Pets and Strollers Allowed on the Course?

No wheeled conveyances or pets of any kind are allowed on the course, including (but not limited to) dogs, cats, mice, parrots, ferrets, gerbils, snakes or lizards. You can bring your stroller into the spectator area, but NO pets please!

Tell Me About the Festival Area?

We will have food vendors on hand early and ending at approximately 2 hour after the last horde starts the course. This means if you run in the last few hordes the food vendors may be gone when you finish. Awards will be given out at approximately 12:30 pm. We will also an area that you can set up tents for your tribe or family. The festival area will be at the top of the waterfall in 2023.

I Don’t Like the Internet, Can I Register by Mail or Telephone?

Sorry, we feel your pain but to keep our record correct, it’s the internet or race day (which cost more). But, it’s safe and painless, and if you’re having problems, go to the contact us page and send us a note and we’ll help you figure it out.

Where Do I Park?

There will be parking at the event and carpooling is highly encouraged! You can park at Noccalula Falls Park main entry or by the Wedding Chapel. You may also park across the road at the school. No shuttles provided.

What Happens If It Rains?

You get wet. I mean, seriously, this isn’t NASCAR, we don’t stop and dry out the course. A little (or a lot) of rain just makes it more of a challenge.

I Signed Up But Can’t Attend. Can I Get a Refund?

Sorry, no refunds under any circumstances. If you want a friend to pick up your race packet, they must have a letter from you giving them permission and a copy of your identification. You may also transfer your registration to someone else BEFORE June 11th, 2024 or send an email to and we can comp you a registration for the 2024 event.

What Kind of Water/Hydrating Stations Are There?

There will be several water stations throughout the course! They will be staff with Volunteers who will happily keep plenty of water cups ready for every runner.

Will I Have to Swim Across Any Body of Water?

Possibly. IF there is water that is deeper than 5 feet, we provide an alternate route for non-swimmers and or a rope to hold onto to pull yourself across.

Is the Barbarian Challenge Safe?

While there are risks involved in every sporting event, we take your safety seriously and do everything we can to make this a relatively safe event. But, remember this isn’t your grandmother’s 5K and if it was easy, it wouldn’t be a Barbarian Challenge. We’ll have an ambulance with Emergency Medical Technicians on site just in case.

What Should I Bring?

  • “I can do anything” attitude.
  • A change of clothes – We’ll have hoses to rinse off and changing tents.
  • Cash or card for Barbarian Swag, extra beer and food.
  • A garbage bag to sit on if you decide to roll with the muddy look on the way home!
  • Your ID to pick up your packet.

How Do I Train for the Barbarian Challenge?

Seriously? We don’t give training advice. Some people come with the intention to win and train like beasts, but others who are uh.. not as athletic just come to have fun and finish when they finish. We’ve found that most people who are serious runners find the toughest trails course they can and then run through mud, cross rivers, and jump their friends backyard BBQ pits a couple times. Oh, and be sure to drink a beer when you’re through. That seems to help with motivation. Or maybe join your local gym….that helps too!

What Kind of Person Takes on the Barbarian Challenge?

Thrill seeking athletes who are not afraid to get down and dirt. Runners who are tired of the same old 5 or 10k runs. Military and hardcore outdoor enthusiasts, moms, dads, granddads and grandmas. In short, anyone who loves doing wacky and crazy events!

What Do I Wear?

Practically anything as long as it’s in good taste. Well, actually good taste is optional, but it has to be legal and not likely to come off during the obstacles. Remember there will be lots of kids and other people who don’t want to see you naked. Other than that, costumes of all kinds are encouraged! Or, if you’d rather just run in old shoes, shorts and a t-shirt, that’s ok….we roll that way too.

How Long is the Course?

We like to strive for a 10K!

What is the Barbarian Challenge?

Some people call it the hardest race you’ll ever freaking love!

What Time is the Kids Challenge?

The Kid’s challenge will get started at 8:00 am. The course will be open until 11:00 am so the kids can come run anytime between 8:00 am and 11:00 am.