As some of you may have noticed from my allusions a few weeks ago, the weekend before this past weekend I participated in the inaugural Run For Your Lives Zombie Infested 5k Obstacle Race. I love zombies and I love survival, so this was a natural fit in terms of things I would enjoy. The race was held in a wooded area about an hour northeast of Baltimore, and over 7,000 people participated. I blasted e-mails and facebook posts trying to get whomever I could to do this with me, but in the end the only one I could convince was my buddy Gabe from high school (Gabe, by the way, runs a green laundry cleaning business in Philadelphia. Helping others live the dream in a toxic-free manner. Whoop.)
So here is how it worked: every runner starts with 3 flags, a la flag football. And then you run a 5k, which includes obstacles a la Warrior Dash/Tough Mudder style competitions. Except in addition to those obstacles. there are zombies everywhere trying to eat you (by taking your flags.) Here’s a pretty solid youtube video another runner took using a helmet cam of how the first two minutes of the race look. Be patient, it gets interesting around 1:05.
So the obstacles included everything from those hay stacks to a rope net to a super muddy hill we had to run/slip up to a strobe light trailer we had to go through to wading through a 4 foot deep pool of blood (as Gabe aptly put it when we were done, “can we call that the meningitis obstacle.”) I don’t want to give too much away, as these races are happening all over the country in the next year, but it was really, really awesome. I got through only having lost one flag to a librarian zombie on the rope net (she was on the other side of the net grabbing at people,that was hard.) Honestly though, if you have good instincts and can turn on sprint speed when you need to, it’s not so bad- there was a lot of juking and spin moving on my part. Strategically, it was also helpful at times to jog with a pack of people at times and let them get picked off, but at the same time avoid bottlenecks where people collectively slowed down. I was also glad that Gabe and I stuck together, because we ended up able to run split/cross routes when we got to zombies along the course.
In the end, of the 7,000 people that ran, around 4,000 got through alive, and of those 4,000 I got 271st. 31 minute 5k isn’t bad all things considered with the obstacles and living dead and everything. After the race there was a camping option, so for a few extra bucks you got to stick around, eat food, drink beer, and watch a bunch of local bands play music. I had a blast, and hope to do another one sometime in the future. It’s a little pricey, but well worth it, they do a good event and try hard on the suspension of disbelief (e.g., on the bus shuttle from the parking lot to the start of the race, they played an “announcement” from the CDC quashing rumors of this so-called virus causing people to rise from their graves, but promised that we were being transported to a quarantine zone for our safety and we should all remain calm and follow military instructions. Awesome.)
Happy Halloween everyone!