I promise, despite evidence to the contrary, I am not obsessed with zombies. Sure, I did the Zombie Walk in Houston a couple of years ago, I was a Walker with Mom in The Walking Dead Escape, and I train with the Zombies Run! app, but I swear I'm not obsessed with zombies. Really. I prefer vampires - and not sparkly whiny bitches (Team Jacob all the way) - real, honest to god, Anne Rice, Vampire: The Masquerade, rip your throat out in a scary sexy way, vampires. But there aren't any vampire 5K training programs or races, so zombies it is (and they are fun to run from). Besides, humans would never be able to out run vampires - but now I'm getting weird, so I'll just move on to talking about the run.
The Zombie Run 5K was held in my hometown, Shreveport, and I just so happened to be in town visiting my mom. I signed up on a whim, and despite the run not being very well organized (but what can you really expect because: Shreveport), I had a good time and enjoyed the run.
The run was on the jogging trail next to Clyde Fant Parkway which is a great place to run alongside the Red River, but not when there are over 300 people trying to run from zombies. I will say, this was probably the best place to have a zombie run in Shreveport because the trail has trees and bushes and places for zombies to hide, and there's plenty of non-paved grass for runners to spread out.
Jogging strollers weren't allowed on the course because it was a trail run and not a road race, so I have one of my BFF's, DeNeena, and her daughter, Kylie, come out and watch Jack while I ran. They ran into some friends who were also running (but I didn't get their names, d'oh!). The race was at 5:30 pm (the hottest part of the day - WHY?!? Or rather, why not after dark???) We were all already sweatin' balls before the start gun.
All the runners wore 3 flag football flags that the zombies on the trail were trying to take - each flag you lost, one minute was subtracted from your official time. At the turn-around point, you could get back one flag if you had any taken from you. The first quarter-mile or so of the race was a "safe-zone" without any zombies, and right before you got to the turnaround/water station there was also a safe-zone. (more about that later...)
The organizers did a good job with putting up signs and caution tape and various other signs of a zombie apocalypse along the running course. They even had a guy in a golf cart playing sirens and announcing that we were in the contamination zone and to watch out for zombies. It was hard not to nervously giggle at it all.
|things got a little crazy with runners coming back along the trail|
|notice we're all walking at this point|
All the zombies were volunteers and were great zombies....some shambled, some hid and jumped out at the runners, some chased us - it was all around a fun time. There was a kid zombie in a gas mask and a little girl zombie in a tutu. One nice thing about having a lot of runners on a small course was easily being able to avoid most of the zombies in the crowd of runners.
I ran my slowest 5K since I started this whole running thing. But I did manage to come in 16th (out of 47) in my age group and 151st overall (out of over 350), so it wasn't really all that shabby (in contrast, my PR race in Houston I came in almost last in my age group and overall). I really don't run well in the heat (even with zombies chasing me), and since this wasn't a road race, trail running/off road running slowed me down. Breaking an ankle would've ruined my day. The crowds were another obstacle to time, especially since the fast runners had already turned around and had to come back along the exact same trail to the finish line, oh, and it took me almost 2 full minutes to get water from the only aid station along the way (see what I mean by poor planning?) And I ended up walking a good portion of the way back because of stupid shin splints.
I managed to only lose one flag - well that's not 100% true - I only returned to the finish line with one flag. I out maneuvered several zombies on the way out, but on the way back, one zombie did manage to nab a flag. I decided to walk after that because most of the zombies weren't even trying to get the flags of people who were walking and I was just too hot to keep running (I really shouldn't've worn the race t-shirt and just gone topless - I mean sports bra). When I got to the final safe zone I decided to run again because who wants to walk across the finish line (answer: no one). As I was running past a couple who was walking, I heard the guy say, "There's one now" and the chick reached out and grabbed one of my flags. They were zombies who were heading back to home base and not even acting like zombies - they were just walking and chatting (way to break character assholes). If I'd known they were zombies I wouldn't have been running so close to them and anyway, I was in the
fucking safe zone. Needless to say, I was pretty pissed about losing that flag and told the official timekeepers, so they only wrote down me only losing one flag. My official time was 44:35.6 - SUPER SLOW (almost 6 minutes slower than my PR)!!!
Overall, I had a good experience with this run. It was poorly organized (no water at the finish line??? WTF?!?), and the course was tough to navigate (so many hills!), but I'm glad I was able to participate. I'm definitely looking forward to Fall and cooler temperatures so running won't be quite so brutal. Running from zombies is definitely fun, though.