Posted by: Shannon @ A Dash of Sparkle | November 20, 2012

A Zombie Infested Weekend

My coworker’s first question to me when I walked into work today: “Did you die?”

Now, that may seem like an odd question to hear, but odder yet was likely my response: “Yes, I became one of the undead.”

Neither of us were being sarcastic at all, nor was I being overly dramatic. Instead I was referring to the outcome of my 5k obstacle race that Nick and I took part in this past Saturday – Run For Your Lives.

Held in Claremont, Florida (near Orlando), this race turned out to be one B-I-T-C-H of a run.

(Image Source – Run For Your Lives Facebook page)

I first heard about the race on the radio up in Massachusetts earlier this year and thought it would be a great gift idea to give Nick a race entry. Being a huge fan of Walking Dead he was psyched. Since I would have regretted not getting in on this off-the-wall idea, I also signed up.

I’m not sure what my expectations were exactly, but I figured it would be 5k run, dappled with a few clusters of zombies and some challenging obstacles meant to slow you down and wear you out. I am by no means in top fitness condition right now, but I felt pretty confident this would be pretty easy.

Holy Zombie Motha, was I wrong.

When they say “Zombie Infested” race, they mean infested with flag grabbing, sometimes jeering, and downright sneaky zombie volunteers who are there to just rain on your little running parade.

Let me back up though. You may be wondering who on earth would sign up for something like this, but you’d be shocked to know that in one day, Nick and I saw thousands of participants. We had to park a mile away from the course because there were so many people already there by 11am (we were signed up for the 12:30 wave of runners).

You get there and immediately see all the earlier racers meandering around in various states of filth (some are covered in head-to-toe mud, while others look like they merely jumped in and out of a mucky pond), and immediately start wondering what types of obstacles await you. A band was also performing a variety of rock and pop songs to entertain the crowds of people that were waiting to race or celebrating their race completion.

It’s up to you where you want to drop your things in the big open field and get ready for your race. I opted for a central location so I could keep an eye on everything.

Nick has been through a few of these themed obstacle races before, but I was a total newbie. Therefore he came prepared with a witty, zombie-teasing, outfit complete with squeaky pork chop toys pinned to his top and the words “Zombie Bait” and “I Taste Delicious” inked on his shirt. He was quite a hit.


Lots of other people got in on the quirky outfits too. We saw teams of racers dressed like Ninja Turtles, Golden Girls (one had a grenade belt on), Scottish clansmen (matching kilts), and even a crash dummy.

You couldn’t see much of the course from the field with the exception of a few obstacles including a giant sand hill that people were crawling up and the final pre-finish line obstacles including a a muddy slide into a pool of dark brown water…


And rows of mud trenches you crawled through before diving under the electrified fence, which you had to crawl beneath to reach the finish line. (Yes, that baby was really electrified too.)


We watched racers finish the race until it was about our start-time and then lined up with a couple hundred other victims racers into tunnels marked “Appetizers,” “Entrees,” or “Dessert.” The announcers outline the rules of not kicking, spitting or otherwise aggravating the zombies and then wished out goodbye good luck.


Nick and I were in the front of the “Entree” racers so we were among the first to round a corner just seconds after running out of the gates, and running into a zombie ambush. Scattered just a few yards from each other, 10 zombies stood and lunged, ran and leaped after us to rip off the health flags that we wore around our waists.

Now, I haven’t had the opportunity to sprint and dodge my way through crowds recently so I was surprised by just how much it took out of me! I, along with most of the other racers, had to slow down to a walk to catch our breath after making it through the first attack. Many people were gasping in surprise saying things like, “That bugger got one of my flags!” or “Man they’re fast for dead things!”

Nick was ready to keep jogging on, but my slower pace forced him to hang back a bit as I caught my breath and geared up for the next corner, which we could hear held some more moaning zombies and screaming racers. He opted that we approach the race as a team, versus a every-man-for-themselves tactic, which I knew would end worse for him than me since I was under no illusion that I’d make it through with health belts still on.

We ran on for about a mile before we reached any kind of actual obstacle, but were both shocked at just how many clusters of zombies were ambling about waiting to rip and tear any red plastic strips off our waists. It was a series of sprints that had some sprinters losing their lunch/brunch on the sidelines (some conveniently being patted on the back by a sympathetic zombie), gasping for breath beneath the shade of a tree, or clustering in slow walking groups eying every bush as a possible threat.

My big losses were the tight spaces combined with a challenging terrain: like when we had to race through a muddy pit that had a zombie smack dab in the middle (whom I got shoved into as another zombie tore off one of my flags); or the loose sand pits where zombies stood like mines in the ditches that we had to run through pulling off flags as I lost momentum; and the steep hill and thin path literally crawling with zombies that grabbed at exhausted runners and picked off our flags as easy as anything.

I’m proud to say that I kept my flags longer than Nick did, who served as a human shield to prevent my last couple flags from getting snatched for a while, but was almost relieved when my last solitary flag was parted from belt. At that point I had just dove into a mud pool and swam under rows of barbed wire, and had water logged shoes that squished with each step, so I wasn’t feeling quite as nimble.

It was okay at that point, I excepted my demise into becoming one of “the undead.” I had already jumped walls and made it through field of zombies jumping out of haystacks, a darkened house filled with hanging live wires and fog, and outlasted a number of other fellow “Entrees” and “Appetizers” in my race wave.

Once my flags were gone, it made the whole thing much easier and I ran up the sand hill, leaped down the mud slide, crawled through the mud trenches and slid under the electric fence with relative ease. The zombies weren’t a threat so I even gave one a nod and a “wa’sup,” blocking zombies for runners who still had flags.

Nick and I were both covered in mud, grass and who-knows-what-else at the end, but we were both happy to have finished. Nick probably wished he’d left me in the dust after the second mile so he could have finished faster, but I was glad he stuck around.

Our final finish time was 50:57 minutes according to the final results. Out of the 415 people in our wave, we finished 47th and 48th place. And can we just say WOW for the crazy monster that finished first in our wave with the time of 31 minutes? That man must have been a total blue blowing past those zombies.

Talk about a survivor.

Meanwhile there was me, just so happy to have crossed the finish line at all and not to have thrown up or passed out.


(Can we just talk about the little mustache Nick is sporting? Can’t wait for Movember to be over – which I’ve told him every day for the last week.)


We got our official medals, took our “We Died” pictures, showered off, and picked up our complimentary cups of light beer which we enjoyed as we toweled off and watched the on-stage DJ cheer on someone named Flo-Joe (a girl) who was busting out some moves to “Teach Me How to Dougie.”

People were still arriving to the race grounds as we were walking back to the truck. It was funny listening to people stories as we hauled our gear back though, some making plans to go to the next Florida race in February, while others pledged they wouldn’t brave one of these ever again.

Nick and I both agreed we’d do it again, especially now that we knew what to expect and knowing how to prepare, but we also agreed it would be more fun with a group of crazy people. Hopefully I’ll be in a bit better shape for the next one too, since I’m still feeling a bit sore from this race.

Would I do it again for real though?

You bet your zombie bottom I would.
Have you completed a themed obstacle course race recently? What did you think?


  1. I’m pretty sure now that you’ve run, you can volunteer to be a zombie next year (at least, that’s what my friend did in one of the Cali ones). The makeup transformation she had was pretty incredible.

    • I feel like the zombies have it totally made. They can choose to just stand there, be sneaky or chase people down! Definitely something to consider in the future.

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