I think a little introduction might be necessary. Lisa has been kind enough to ask me to write a piece for her blog and I am quite honored and humbled to do so. I am Chris, and I began running in June of 2011 after losing 80 pounds the year before. I entered my first race in September of 2011 and this year I have competed in five races! (details on all this and more over at http://wisdomcouragepower.blogspot.ca/ )
Some people say they find running freeing, I find it to perpetually be a competition with myself. I both love it and hate it for that. I really do enjoy running in actual races though and I have taken it upon myself to enter into a variety of adventure style races since I began running because I think that obstacles and wild courses play more to my advantage than the run of the mill road race. With that in mind I have done two mud runs, the Warrior Dash, and just this past weekend, Run For Your Lives.
Nothing quite gets your legs moving like zombies chasing you. Yeah, you read that correctly. Run for your lives is a race in which you are given a flag belt (like flag football) and set out on a course filled with the horrifying undead. I’m not sure how they keep all the zombies contained when they are not running a race, or teach them to grab at flags rather than brains, but seriously, I’m not lying to you.
This race was the most fun I have had running. Loads of people in costume, especially the event staff, professionally done zombie makeup, great weather and a nice course all added up to an amazing day. I was in the very first wave and so there was no one to ask for advice or strategies. They released our wave in three parts, appetizer, main course and dessert. I was in the dessert section and so I was about a minute behind the people release as the appetizer.
The course started out nice and wide, lots of room for the group and not many zombies in sight. As I caught up to the main course people we were beginning to see a few zombies here and there who would weakly wave at us trying to snatch our flags. It wasn’t long before our first obstacle, three mud pits. I stuck to the side and leapt carefully over because I did not want wet feet for the whole race, other people tried to jump and failed going waist deep into the water!
This was not a race for the ‘slow and steady’ type of mentality. You could not set a pace and go with it. Constantly you needed speed bursts and dodging ability to get past the zombies in the woods. The hardest parts were the fields though. There were five or six of these fields, varying from maybe 150-300 yards in length and about 30 yards wide. In these fields where some randomly placed zombies, some would be just weak ones waving at you others were runners and a few times I had to do my best Usain Bolt impression and flat out sprint to get away.
I lost my first flag early on, it might have been as I came out of the ‘maze house’ I’m not exactly sure. I made it through the house with the hanging electric fence with only one shock and thanks to a tip from one of the appetizer runners I avoided going the wrong way on the course and running into a dead end, since he was coming back and shouting to go the other way. As I approached the finish area there was a huge water slide thing with a fairly deep pool at the bottom, full of frigid water. I climbed out of the pool and saw the final field of zombies. This was it, how much did I have left? I had two flags on my belt and determination in my heart. I wanted my brain to arrive intact to the finish line.
I managed to deke and fake out a couple of zombies but had my second flag snatched off my belt about half way down this area. I had to make it, I wanted a shot at a prize, I wanted my time to matter and mostly I wanted the bragging rights as statistically only about 20% of the runners in this series of races make it through alive. I guarded my flag with my arms as I broke through a set of clawing hands and then booted it to the safety of the tunnels that lead to the final fence. I crawled through the tunnels, exhausted and rolled steam roller style under the horizontal chain link fence. I had made it. Alive in completed the 5k (3.14 miles) in 24:28. Good enough in this style of race for a second place finish! (both in my age group and overall!)
The rest of the day was filled with laughter and smiles as I waited for a couple of girls I was chatting with in the start area, some good bands played, I won a push up contest that the MC decided to have on the spur of the moment. It was amazing. Best race I have done so far, and luckily enough best finishing place as well!
Thanks, Chris! OK, add Zombie 5k to my bucket list 😉