Ack! ZOMBIES!!!! … Run For Your Lives!

Aside from the missing strand of curse words in the title, that’s pretty much exactly how an encounter with zombies would go (except that a few brave souls would hang back to fight the brain hungry undead). As you are probably all too aware zombies are all the rage in horror business right now. Most of the thanks and blame for this one falls squarely on horror fans and the general public’s falling out of love with vampires (blame the Twilight movie series for putting the final nail in the coffin for vamps everywhere, but don’t totally despair because you still have HBO’s True Blood series to fall back on) combined with the success of The Walking Dead graphic novel becoming a super-hyped hit TV show on AMC. You know AMC – the network with the tag line, “We know drama,” – well, zombies definitely create drama and conflict in apocalypse survivors!


So, thanks to America’s newfound love of zombies, we are now getting creative horror fans capitalizing on the genre! On Saturday, March 3, a few lucky – or are they unlucky? – victims will get to test those survival abilities in Run For Your Lives, a zombie infested 5K obstacle course, where every living person will be trying to outrun the brain hungry, virus spreading, blood covered zombies. There will be no fighting whatsoever because you know what some anonymous smart person said at one point in time, “Live to fight another day,” and that’s the point of this race too.


There will be several race heats all throughout the day starting at about 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Race waves will have 350 to 450 people in them, so it is advised for participants to get there two hours early to park, register, go through security, and limber up. Race participants (ages 14 and up), zombies, volunteers, and spectators are not allowed to bring outside food or drink, weapons, or pets to the event. (So that means – leave your zombie killing dogs at home!) Everyone is allowed to dress up in costume for this event, but the living race participants will need to wear a flag-sporting bib and time-tracking chip. Think of this as flag football with zombies, so instead of some beefy jock guy chasing you for your flag, now he will be replaced by brain-hungry, blood-covered zombies – HORDES OF ZOMBIES – because remember it takes a brain dead horde working as a team to really take down one living person of able body and sound mind.


The zombie horde will stumble, chase, stand, sit, crawl, and do what it takes to secure your yummy flags for themselves. The genre’s favorite types of zombies will be present here too – the horrifying Stumbler Zombie or the full-action Chaser Zombie. Once all your flags have been procured, you will be considered a “zombie” and allowed to finish out the race as such. There will also be strategically placed health flags in the course, so you can regain health like a video game character and continue to live out a few extra minutes in the apocalypse.


To simplify the rules – you are not allowed to fight zombies off physically and they are trained not to bite you. In this scenario, zombies want flags – not brains – just yummy, yummy flags. Obstacles will vary, but if for any reason you cannot complete an obstacle, then your final event result will be classified as “zombie,” but you will be allowed to shamble on through the race. All race participants will receive a t-shirt, racing bib, medal to signify your survival (or zombie transformation), admittance into Apocalypse Party, and of course advanced training for the actual zombie apocalypse. Volunteers get a t-shirt, free camping, free snacks and drinks, and admittance to the Apocalypse Party. Zombies receive a professional zombie transformation, free race on event day (but cannot be entered for prizes), unique zombie t-shirt, free parking, free camping, Apocalypse Party pass, one free beverage (includes beer), free snacks and drinks, and a race medal.


Race attendees are asked to bring an official form of photo ID (or parent/guardian if necessary), cash (for parking, food, beer, vendors, and zombie gear), a change of clothes (including socks and shoes – because you are probably going to get dirty!), and blankets and lawn chairs (for spectators or camping). There will be ATMs on-site and everyone is reminded to be prepared for whatever the weather is that day (rain, shine, hot, or cold). In case you need it, there will be a gear check station on premises where you can store your personal belongings with a staff member. The gear check station closes promptly at 7 p.m., so remember to go pick up your belongings before that time.


Throughout the day, there will be vendors offering a standard cookout menu with health food, vegan and vegetarian options, and beer. Arts and crafts, zombie interest, and apocalyptic fashions will also be for sale by other vendors. To conclude the day’s festivities, there will be an Apocalypse (after) Party with several different bands playing as survivors and the living dead party throughout the night.


Those who want to camp will have full access to an overnight camping area with free-range camp site selection, camper community bonfires, and an overnight concession tent for campers. No RVs are allowed (tents only) and individuals may have above-ground fires (no fire pits). You will need to contact Run For Your Lives for more information about camping and any costs associated with it.


At the current moment, registration is still open for Spectators until the day before the big obstacle course race (Spectator registration ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on March 2, 2012). The cost to be a Spectator is $32 per person (children 10 and under are free). Spectators are welcome to watch the race, take pictures, cheer on their friends, and party down at the Apocalypse Party. (Registration for the event began three months prior and has officially closed for race participants, zombies, and volunteers.) There is a $10 charge for parking.


Run for Your Lives – Atlanta

Durhantown Plantation Sports Complex

2350 Randolph Church Road

Union Point, GA 30669

(1 hour 45 minutes east of Atlanta)