Everyone thinks that they’re prepared for a zombie apocalypse, but are you really ready to outrun the undead?
Watching participants in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s recent Run for Your Lives, a zombie-infested 5K obstacle course race, it’s obvious that it takes some mad skills to make it, including speed, strategy and the cruel willingness to sacrifice others.
The brainchild of Ryan Hogan and Derrick Smith, who originally planned the flag football-style contest as a way to promote Hogan’s athletic apparel line, Run for Your Lives has spread like a virus to cities across the U.S. and Canada. Future races will be held throughout the year in Ohio, California, Florida, Texas and numerous other locations across the country. Participants pay for the opportunity to be racers, spectators and (especially) zombies, whose only goal is to stop the living from reaching the finish line by grabbing their dangling flags.
Around Pittsburgh, the region that spawned George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, you’d expect runners to be well prepared for any zombie eventuality. But ghouls that rise out of mud pits, hide behind trees and who are (in many cases) faster than the runners, make survival difficult. Obstacles including mile-high hills, an electrified fence over a mud pit and a massive downhill slip-n-slide make it even more challenging.
“That first hill was the worst thing I’ve ever done,” said Beki Blackson of the optimistically named Team Awesome, which included Bert Blackson, Sierra Blackson and Mike Ricci from Warren, Ohio. “We did the Warrior Dash last year and this trumped it 100 times.”
Sierra and Mike survived; Beki and Bert did not. “I thought I’d be safe by keeping the flags in front near my crotch, but that strategy didn’t work,” Beki laughed. “In some countries, I’d have to be married for someone to touch the places that I got grabbed.”
Ethan Marshall of Center Hall and Matthew Raup of State College, chose to run in business suits, perhaps because the 90°F race day temp wasn’t challenging enough. Their strategy, which included finding a big guy to run behind that they could then push into confronting zombies, kept Ethan alive, but not Matthew. “Obviously, they love fine dining,” Matthew said of his demise.
While some runners recommend running directly at the attacking zombies, others preferred to sprint past. Other advice included ninja blocking, juking and “just running like hell.” When it was all over, those who survived — and those who didn’t — met up for an Apocalypse Party to celebrate the end of the race and the end of civilization as we know it.
For More: runforyourlives.com
By Vanessa Orr
Zombie Apocalypse Survival Tips
- Stay in packs. Solo runners get swarmed.
- Wear good running shoes. Injuries just make you more appetizing.
- Costumes are great, but zombies don’t care if you’re cute. Make sure that you can still move.
- Don’t put the flag by your crotch unless you’re looking for a good time.
- Watch the women! Sweet-looking zombies are still savage.
- Pace yourself. Pumping hearts taste better.