Chased by zombies — for real this time

By Caroline Klapper | Oct 29, 2012
Photo by: Cora Russell One of the final obstacles — a slide into the "blood pit."

You might think I’m joking, but over the weekend, I got electrocuted, thrown into mud pits, and oh yeah, chased by zombies.

What? You think I’m taking Halloween a little too seriously? That I’ve eaten too much candy corn, and I’m now having sugar-induced hallucinations?

Possible, I grant you, but in this case, everything I’m about to tell you is the truth.

Early Saturday morning I got up, tied my shoes and went out for a run. It just so happened to be a run through the Run For Your Lives 5K racecourse, and let me tell you, this ain’t no mud run.

Part cross-country run, part horror movie, Run For Your Lives is a zombie-infested 5K obstacle course that takes place at venues all over the country. I’d participated in a Run For Your Lives race outside of Atlanta earlier this year, and although torrential rains left the course so muddy it was difficult to walk much less run, I signed up for more punishment in Maryland last Saturday.

I might be a little crazy.

This time, I convinced my sister to join me despite her reservations about being chased by zombies in any scenario, much less one in which she was trying to make it through an obstacle course. Nevertheless, good sport that she is, she agreed to run with me and not take off and leave me behind for the zombies to eat (she’s in much better shape than I am).

We arrived at event parking and were shuttled via school bus past a graveyard (appropriately enough) to the course.

There we had a decision to make: appetizer, entrée or dessert.

No, not for us. The food course designation was for the zombies, so they would know how fast or slow their menu of delicious humans would be. I chose dessert because I am under no illusions about my running speed, which is slightly above walking.

A short countdown and a few puffs of fake fog later, we were off, doing our best to avoid the first zombie horde we encountered.

From men in business suits to women in wedding dresses, all walks of life were well represented among the walking dead. Some were slow and some were fast, but all of those zombies were after one thing — our braaaains. Or, in reality, the three red flags the runners had around their waists.

Those flags represented our “health,” and if all of your flags got grabbed by a zombie (similar to how flag football works), you became one among many casualties that day.

Even knowing that the zombies were just regular people (albeit maybe a little weird) in makeup didn’t really stop my pulse from pounding as I sprinted through one horde after another. As the race went on, my sprints became more of a lumbering walk/trot, but I did my best.

Adding to the challenge of this particular 5K are the obstacles. Yes, not only do you have slavering hordes of the undead after you, but you also have to climb, crawl and swim your way through the course.

I think I’ve blocked some of it out, but from what I can remember, I had to throw myself over chest high hurdles (that’s where those bruises on the back of my thighs came from!), crawl through several tunnels, under barbed wire (that would account for a few scratches) and through mud — Army style.

There was also a lake and unlike most courses, the Run For Your Lives course went through it instead of around it. But they aren’t totally heartless (even if those hearts are no longer beating). They did give us a rope to help pull ourselves across as our muscles seized up from the cold.

And in case you were wondering where the electric shocks came in, they did that, too. On purpose. And I let them.

The finish line was specially designed to compound all the experiences you’d had in the rest of the race just in case you hadn’t had enough yet.

Although I’d lost all my flags about two-third of the way in despite my sister’s valiant efforts to block zombies from getting to me, I was determined to at least finish all the obstacles.

One last run through the final zombie horde and I was at a wall of two-by-fours. I climbed up and was greeted by a water slide into a “blood pit,” of pinkish, dirty COLD water. Not realizing how deep that pit was, I went all the way under water when I hit, but that wasn’t the end.

Oh no, one last obstacle was ahead of me.

In order to reach the finish line, I had to Army crawl in the mud under some low-slung metal fencing. And in case that wasn’t bad enough, they’d electrified that fence, too.

Most of me made it through unscathed, but I will admit I ended up with a sore spot on my backside from repeated shocks. There’s only so low a girl can go, you know?

Anyway, my sister and I survived the race even if we did join the ranks of the undead, and we had a pretty good time. Nothing bonds family together like running for your life, and I feel like if the zombie apocalypse does come for real some day, I can probably count on my sister not to trip me to save herself….maybe.

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