Run for Your Lives—Or Your Ski Legs

We don't know if a zombie apocalypse is coming, but we're sure ski season is.

A handful of recent reports about zombie-like attacks have many wondering: Is the zombie apocalypse near? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released this statement: ”The CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms).” If you want to believe that, go ahead, but don’t say we never warned you.

A threat as serious as the zombie apocalypse requires extreme vigilance. What better way to prepare for a possible zombie attack than threat-specific survival training? If it has the added benefit of getting you ready for ski season, that’s just a bonus.

Inspired by AMC’s hit show The Walking Dead, Run for Your Lives is an over-the-top obstacle course of a different color that has grown from one event with 10,000 participants last year to an anticipated 100,000 participants at 12 events this year.

Image placeholder title

This isn’t your average 5k obstacle course. In between each man-made, zombie-inspired obstacle, such as the Blood Pit—a swimming pool filled with plasma-like liquid—you have to outrun “zombies” over tricky terrain. The zombies are volunteers who dress in their most ghoulish attire and make-up then stay in character throughout the race, dragging and lurching across the course as they "hunt" for victims. 

At the start of the course, you’ll get a flag belt that represents your health. As you run from obstacle to obstacle, zombies will attempt to snatch your flags. You must make it across the finish line with at least one flag in order to survive. Lose all your flags before you reach the finish line, and you become dead. Or is it undead? 

Don’t think this will be easy. “There is only a 20 percent survival rate,” says Derrick Smith, co-founder of Run for Your Lives. With dead-ends and forks in the road you’ll have to decide the best route to take while outrunning hungry zombies and maneuvering over very tricky terrain. “It’s kind of like a real-life Choose-Your-Own-Adventure,” says Smith. The numerous twists and turns can stretch this 5K into a 10K. “The steepness and muddiness of the course was more challenging than the man-made obstacles,” says participant Lisa Renard-Spicer. 

Image placeholder title

 “[There’s] safety in numbers—travel in a pack,” says Smith. “But, sometimes you have to sacrifice one for the group.”  Zombies won’t chase you if they already have a meal to satisfy them, so have a sacrificial lamb or two in your group. “Runners will wear shirts that say, “Eat me not him” and “Tastes like chicken,’” says Renard-Spicer.

If you would rather be the hunter than the hunted, participate as a zombie.  As a volunteer zombie, not only do you get to scare the bejesus out of people, you’ll learn how to think like a zombie – a skill you’ll need when the CDC comes to you for survival tips.

Check out the Run for Your Lives website for dates and more survival tips from their Zombie Awareness Program.