The group I usually run (walk) this with was unable to attend this year. Instead of just skipping the event altogether I figured I would try something different and enter as a brain sucking zombie.
Pre-Race: Run For Your Lives is usually pretty good about pre-race information sharing and they were just as good sharing with the Zombie Horde. About a week before the race I received last-minute instructions on what was expected of the mindless walking dead. I also had to email them and confirm my zombie shift and they responded back very quickly.
Race Day: Since they moved the race to the Bud’s Creek, Mechanicsville area I had about an hour and a half hike down to the race site. I was up at 4 and out the door by 4:30 to be there by 6am. That gave me about two hours to be transformed from a mild-mannered IT guy into a gruesome evil undead walker. Parking/Waiver Signing/Check-In went pretty fast at 6am. I was then ushered to a tent to have my cloths torn, and makeup applied. Did I mention I paid to do this?
The Race: I was in Zone 2, and I along with my zombie companions were to be found on the other side of a small dirt hill. It was our job to rob the runner’s of the flags which represented their life. I was a stumbler or slow zombie and we had two fast zombies mixed in with us. You didn’t know who was who until they started to run after you. Lose your flags and you were infected. We were only supposed to go after one flag per zone. The reality is that there is no way I can stop and count your flags as you go zooming by. My apologies. If we happened to see we had taken to many flags we might give one back. We did the best we could. My favor moments were when people showed real terror at being chased and would shriek in horror.
It was a lot of fun to try to come up with more creative ways to go after the flags. Most people went with a side to side approach which seemed to work the best. I liked to try to funnel them into my zombie brethren or walk in the same direction the living were running. Sometimes they wouldn’t realize I was walking next to them and the flags/brains were easy pickings.
A few tips for runners:
- Either hide in a group or move really fast. Individuals were easy pickings as all 10 zombies went after you. If you were fast you could pull this off.
- Easy on the zombies! No slapping away our fragile undead hands or trying to run us over. One woman in our group got punched in the arm.
- Have fun and don’t be so serious. This isn’t really the apocalypse.
Post Race: They brought us water out on the course and gave us a tiny snack. We could have used some more food. It got hot and we were all withering by the end of the shift (although some of us stayed on for one last wave of runners). More water and more snacks for the zombie horde please. When I was done I grabbed my stuff and took off so I didn’t see the rest of the festivities.
Goodies: They took a step backward with the cotton T-shirt this year. There were a few color choices but cotton? Really? The 2012 shirt was much much better. I also got my very own infected medal and a couple of flag trophies.
****I would give the zombie experience 4 stars. Worth trying especially if you don’t want to spend a ton of money or run the race. Overall I had a great time. If I didn’t have plans and it wasn’t 90+ degrees I would have stayed for a second shift for free. I didn’t actually run the course, but from what I could see and what I heard from other runners, it wasn’t as good as in Darlington. Not sure why they moved it, but people didn’t love running on the motocross course. T-Shirt was a step back.