This weekend I participated in the Zombie Evasion run with Marissa. It was unlike any 5k race I have ever done. Here is my experience.
This is the first time that I have taken part in the Zombie Evasion run though it was the second year that the event has taken place. In case you aren’t familiar with the run there are two different possibilities you can be an uninfected person or a zombie. So if you decide to be uninfected you get flags on your belt (a la touch football) and you have to get through the entire course without losing them. If you arrive at the finish line with at least one flag left you are a survivor. If the zombies get all your flags then you are undead. The other option is to be a zombie. There are also two different types of zombies. The first kind is chasers who run the course after giving the uninfected a head start. Their goal is to grab as many flags as possible while running. There are also stationary zombies who were positioned amidst the course and tried to get flags as well. We decided that this year we would be uninfected and try to make it through the course as survivors. We dressed up in camo and had some props. I was surprised that there weren’t very many people actually dressed up in the uninfected category.
The run was held at the Laurier Park which is located near the Edmonton Valley zoo. When we arrived at the park there was a large field where we could park our car for free. They had volunteers standing out there to show you where to park which was really nice. We then walked over to the park and stood in line for our packages. Unfortunately we hadn’t gotten to the running room to pick up our run packages so we had to get it on the day of the run, but luckily this did not take very long since the line was very short.
Inside our packages we had a bib with a built in chip to time the event. There was also a t-shirt a belt and one flag. Right beside the registration table was a table for the Food Bank. You were able to donate food or money to get more flags (up to a max of four) I had brought along a bag of food and got two extra flags. I would have bought one more but they accepted only cash mental note for next year to take some cash or even more food for the food bank (every 3 pounds of food gets you a flag)
Our start time was 1:30pm and because we were running late we decided to make our way to the starting line right away even though we wanted to go back to the car and drop off our tshirts/bags etc we didn’t want to miss our wave start. So then we stood around and waited for a long time approximately 30 minutes past the time we were supposed to start. We were upset that we definitely would have had time to go back to the car, but oh well. It was interesting to look around and see all the decorations, the zombies and even an actual hearse. At least the announcer told us that there was going to be a delay because they were getting the zombies in place throughout the course and the zombie chasers in the cage though he never did say how long it would be.
So the time had come to start and the announcer told us that we had 60 seconds until we would be off. Talk about a sudden increase in heart rate! I had my polar heart rate monitor on and let me tell you that being nervous/scared really makes the heart rate increase. I would say that my heart rate was easily 160 or higher throughout the entire run. Soon the bell rang and we were off. Note to people who are participating you want to be towards the front of the pack so that you can be as far away from the zombie chasers as you can be. There was a little kid in front of us and he said it right “You don’t have to be the fastest you just have to be faster than the person behind you” So we were running and shortly you hear people saying that they had released the zombies from the cage. It seemed pretty quick maybe a minute or so head start.
The course was actually really beautiful. One thing about this run is that they won’t tell you what the route is ahead of time so you can’t really prepare ahead of time. This is a park/trail/dog park that was open to the public at the time. I can’t imagine what I would think if I was out for a nice walk with my dog and see a horde of people running away from zombies lol. So the trail was pretty but I will say that it was quite challenging. When I run outside I’m used to running on grass or pavement. This track had a little bit of everything. You started on grass and then were on pavement until you get to a trail which had a lot of tree roots, knots, rocks and leaves. I saw about 4 people fall from catching their feet on roots or tripping over the uneven ground. As you continued along the race you go through park area, as well as a narrow tree lined area. Some people were complaining that the path was too narrow and made it difficult to run away from zombies or get around them. I agree with this, but at the same time it made it interesting. I mean if there was a real zombie apocalypse the zombies would be relentless so…
As I mentioned I had a plastic sword as part of my outfit and I remember reading something in the email that you weren’t allowed to have props during the run, but I didn’t have anywhere to put it before the run so I just ran with it. There was a guy who was taking things from people so he took it from me. I also had the bullets on which he didn’t take but which quickly fell apart and let’s just say that they didn’t survive the whole run.
One thing that I found difficult about this run is that I couldn’t listen to music because I had to have both ears open to be able to hear if zombies were coming up behind me. That made for a really long run because I’ve never run without having music which also gives me an idea of how long it’s been depending on how many songs I have listened to. When zombies were approaching from the back they were kind enough to growl so that I could sprint ahead and lose them. Marissa and I had tried to stay together but very soon we were separated when people were pushing to get away from a zombie. It was pretty terrifying at times to hear people coming up behind you. I had a few people ask me if I was a zombie as I was running behind them.
When I was coming up to the end of the course there was an increase in the amount of zombies. I will let you know that I had lost one of my flags early on but had 2 left for a long time. I even found a couple on the ground. I had to stop and tie my shoelaces during the race and let me tell you it is very scary to stop running when you can hear zombies around you. During the last few hundred meters they had little kids trying to grab peoples last flags. I could see the piles of flags that they had so I know they were succeeding. They were equal parts cute and scary. I was happy to see the end and when I crossed the finish line if you had any flags left you went right and got a blue survivor medal. If you didn’t have any flags left you went to the left and got a red undead medal. I was lucky enough to have one lone surviving flag so I became a survivor.
I finished in 39:28 minutes (a slower time for me, but still really happy having completed) a few minutes before Marissa and was able to catch a few pictures of her when she crossed the finish line. She only had one flag and was able to keep it the entire time. We were able to grab a few pictures afterward, but we didn’t hang around very long. It was a long run and we were tired so we decided to go home.
All in all we had a great time doing the race and we are looking forward to participating again next year. I think maybe I might want to be a zombie chaser next year. I think it’s cool to try to get the flags even though some people are poor sports and tie them in knots or hide them so that they are survivors. If you haven’t participated yet you should look for a run in your area. It’s a frighteningly fun time!!
Be Happy, Be Active, Be Healthy
In case you want to participate in a Zombie run I made a playlist if you are going to listen to music while you run. We listened to the songs on the way to and from the run.
- Zombies remix – Cranberries
- Zombies – Family Force Five
- Thriller – Michael Jackson
- Monster Mash
- Living Dead Girl – Rob Zombie
- Zombie Delight – Buck 65
- Zombies Ate her Brain – Creepshow
- Seven Nation Army – White Stripes
- One way or another – Blondie
- I’m a Survivor – Destiny’s Child
- Dog Days are Over – Florence and the Machine
- Running with the devil – Van Halen