Run For Your Lives 5k

California, U.S.A

Summary of my experience with the Run For Your Lives Zombie 5k

The Zombie Run

October 2012

Zombie Run: Before

Zombie Run: Before

Zombie Run: After

Zombie Run: After

Now, if you’re like me and you love zombies, you should absolutely check out the Run For Your Lives Zombie run. And I don’t mean that you’re just a casual fan of the zombie fad. I’m talking you’re one of those nuts who has read World War Z, Warm Bodies, and This Book is Full of Spiders. You’ve watched 28 Days Later, Night of The Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead, and Dawn of the Dead. You’ve scrutinized a new building on its ability to be a safe house in case of an outbreak, and you keep a metal baseball bat under your pillow just in case.

Ok, maybe not that last one.

Even if you’re not a total geek about zombies, but you love a good thrill/haunted house/marathon, you should absolutely look into this 5k.

It’s very similar to the Tough Mudder, where you have to run the race while overcoming obstacles: hills, tunnels, crawling under barbed wire, navigating around/under electrical fences (I didn’t know it was legal to shock people against their will until I did this run. I heard quite a few large grown men shriek that day), and of course, you get very muddy while doing all of this. It’s very military–movie–training–montage, and it’s decorated to look like an apocalypse zone.

Booths, bands, and sign up areas in the Quarantine zone

Booths, bands, and sign up areas in the Quarantine zone

The Zombie run takes this obstacle thing up a notch… in addition to the physically demanding obstacles, there are people dressed in very convincing zombie makeup who chase you. Nope, I’m not kidding. A 5k with physical obstacles wouldn’t be very difficult if you knew how to pace yourself, but with the zombie run, you run the entire race in sprints.

Here’s how it works:

It’s like a big game of capture the flag: have all three of your flags taken and you’re officially infected. Keep at least one until the finish line “quarantine zone,” and you survive. In addition to the physically challenging obstacles, there are extra obstacles used to freak you out: an “abandoned warehouse” that you have to navigate through, a dark maze blocking out any sunlight, and a room with hundreds of electrical wires hanging from the ceiling (yes, live ones). It was so difficult but so fun. It was also terrifying. Those zombie makeups were convincing. Contacts, prosthetics, fake blood and all. At the end, everyone dunked themselves in the lake nearby. 

Here’s the official promotional video:

As with many other marathons, the runners dress up as well. I saw zombie princesses in floor-length ball gowns, and a Mario&Luigi pair lined up next to me in the starting line. You end up making a lot of friends by communicating with the other runners so that you can rush the hordes as a group. I highly recommend this to any thrill seekers. If running isn’t your forte, but the zombie thing interests you, you can also buy a ticket to be one of the zombies, although those sell out fast.

The Zombies get a pep talk

The Zombies get a pep talk

And yes, they are still touring America, although I believe it’s run by a different company than the one I went to.

Bonus: Check out my playlist to get pumped up for zombies


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