Zombie clown

Zombie clown! Photo: Billie Weiss

Oh, man, I LOVE this:

There’s now a series of 5K runs in which your biggest hurdles are zombies who want to devour your brains.

This “zombie-infested 5K obstacle course race” is called Run For Your Lives. According to their website, it’s a “first-of-its-kind event, one part 5K, one part obstacle course, one part escaping the clutches of zombies — and all parts awesome.”

It’s a genius idea and I wish I’d come up with it. Let’s face it: typical running races are boring as hell. You wear swishy shorts, you sweat, who cares? Ah, but a race for survival during a zombie apocalypse? THAT is interesting. THAT is good for tourism. And it’s a perfect match, if you think about it. Anyone who’s seen the horror comedy, Zombieland, knows that the #1 rule of surviving a zombie apocalypse is ‘Cardio’.

Zombie businessman
Event organizer Derrick Smith wanted to start a fun competition like Tough Mudder to help promote his buddy’s athletic clothing line entitled Warwear. But then he realized competitors should have something to run from. And since Smith is a huge fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead, he figured zombies would be perfect.

The first Run For Your Lives race was successfully staged last October in Darlington, Maryland. But like a zombie outbreak, the race is swiftly spreading across North America. The second race happened this weekend near Atlanta.

Here’s how it works: runners must carry health flags past “12 man-made and natural obstacles that will be physically challenging, but not impossible. There will be mud, water and maybe some blood. You will need to climb, crawl, duck and dive your way to the finish line.”

All while being chased by the moaning, flesh-starved undead (the zombies, by the way, are volunteers found on Facebook and Twitter).

Zombies attack runners
The zombies, naturally, want to steal your ‘health flags’ and maybe eat your brains. But you could find “health bonuses” during the race. So grab them because they might just save your life. As the rules clearly state, “if you lose all your health flags, you die. And the zombies win.”

So what do you win? Well, the winners get to celebrate their survival and, I guess, repopulate society. Meanwhile the losers get to celebrate their zombie transformation at the post-run ‘Apocalypse Party’ featuring live music, local celebrities, arts & crafts vendors, actual food, beer, and games where you throw a baseball at a stack of zombie heads.

In short: this could be a bloody good vacation for (almost) the whole family. Depending on the city, it costs approx $67 to $87 to enter (it’s cheaper the earlier you register), $22 to $32 to watch, and you can register here for upcoming races near Boston (May 5th), Minneapolis, Minnesota (June 2nd), Indianapolis, Indiana (June 23rd), Denver, Colorado (July 14th), Seattle, Washington (August 4th), and St. Louis, Missouri (August 18th), among others. Rumour has it that Toronto’s getting a zombie race, too. THE VIRUS IS SPREADING.

Each obstacle course will feature unique challenges, e.g. during the Maryland race, runners had to leap into a meter-high “blood pit” and scale a 6-meter-high cargo net. Prizes are awarded for the top 3 male and female finishers in age divisions that range from 14 to 40+.

Alas, the #1 rule of Run For Your Lives (besides ‘Cardio’) is “You are not to touch, hit, punch, tackle, roundhouse kick, slap, scratch, pinch, spit on, bite, or do anything harmful to the physical health of our zombies or other runners…. no matter how frightened you may be.”

Oh, and bring a towel and change of clothes because by the race end, you’ll be drenched in “mud, zombie guts, body parts, and other apocalyptic liquids.”

Good luck!

But be warned: it won’t be easy to evade the zombies, since Smith prefers high-speed running zombies like in 28 DAYS LATER, not the slow shuffling zombies in George A. Romero DAWN OF THE DEAD.

— Ken Hegan

VIDEO: watch the event trailer entitled ‘Run For Your Lives – Zombie Apocalypse Film’

Read all of Ken’s Tripified travel posts here and follow Ken to victory on Twitter

Photos courtesy Billie Weiss and Run For Your Lives