2011 Run For Your Lives

Posted: 23rd October 2011 by affehaus in cultural, geek stuff, not a sports blog

Well then.
Let us first give a moment of silence for the loverly Lucy. We will miss her.
More about that later.


The results are in…
My course time was 36:13; I finished 746 out of the 3818 that crossed the line with brains intact.
Lucy’s time was 59:49, and she finished 6080 out of a total 7045 entrants.


Run For Your Lives is, as I’m sure every one knows, a 5k run with obstacles, much like the Warrior Dash, the minor exception being that one’s immortal soul is in danger. So that makes it fun.

The concept was certainly sound. The execution, however…
Well… there were a couple of issues. Lucy and I got to the parking lot more than 90 minutes prior to my wave; 30 minutes better than the 60 suggested by the event promoters, and still– had we not ‘run’˚ to the event, I wouldn’t have been able to make my start. The wait for the shuttle busses easily exceeded two hours. It was, truly, an epic line.
So we humped it over the road… and I did find that a suitable warm-up for the zombie-gauntlet. Furthermore, I got to take a portrait of Zombie Love in the graveyard along the way. No– I will not elaborate. But it happened.

So: Run For Your Lives– again, it’s about a 3 mile run, negotiating various obstacles, all the while trying to avoid the very enthusiastic zombies that are trying to ‘steal your health’– health, being the [3] flags velcroed to a belt; basically a flag football belt. Sounds pretty prosaic, like an elementary school game. But, trust me– when you make your way around the bend, and that first field of the undead comes into view? They are real life.
The way those bastards stagger, and the way they’re made up? All the ‘pretend’ has gone right out the door.

‘Kay– first a word about the course design. That word is: splendid. I’m not going to throw out any spoilers, but the people that arranged this thing did so in such a way that it, for me, perfectly communicated the frenzy and drama that might occur in a real outbreak that one might be trying to escape. Seriously? I was driven to herd behavior in a matter of seconds.

The first obstacle was, in fact, a field of zombies, spaced out sort of randomly. And they looked straight out of the fricking Romero-verse. They weren’t charging– they were just… waiting. All gimpy-like.
They were the ‘shamblers’. All we had to do was pass them.
That first field did claim the health of some of my colleagues. Stealth and deceit lies in the flaccid limb. Those zombies had quick hands.
That walking-minefield led up to the hay-climb, and that was the lull to instill the false sense of security. An easy climb over a six tier hay-bale pyramid. Anyone can clamber over a hay-bale, yes? And with the momentum from the descent to speed past the assembled masses beyond, the remaining zombies should be no difficult task. And for true, they proved no challenge… really, the zombies on the other side of the pyramid just flung a limp arm out. Meh.
I can dodge that all day long.
But that led us directly into the sequence of the hay-bale chicanery that proved… harrying. It was a ‘reality check’, if you will.
One trucks along in the world as one understands it, zombies included, and then, with one single subterfuge, one has the rules more clearly defined. Obviously, the event organizers were looking to thin the herd.

I ran a pack when I could, and when it proved available, I was quite happy to use a lesser body for sacrifice (“Go on… I’m sure it’s a slow one”). Better him than me, yah? Yah.
But that didn’t always work. I lost a flag pretty early in. Them zombies weren’t playing.

The obstacles were decent; nothing really ‘inspired’… but the event coordinators did arrange for some fun things to navigate.
The cargo net had a little bit of a twist to it (no pun intended), as there were zombies beneath the frame. And, between the net’s sag-factor, and the fact that one’s flags tend to dangle, we were basically low hanging fruit for the zombies to pluck at will.
The water hazard was interesting; not sure what the temperature was, but when I went in, I’m pretty sure my heart stopped. And the depth was such that I wasn’t going to be wading through. So I had a pleasant swim in zombie infested waters (not really– the zombies had enough sense to stay dry).
Further challenges included a manner of climbing wall, tunnels through which one had to crawl, and a steep, muddy ravine– with zombies lurking at the top of the ascent, naturally.

Other obstacles were, quite honestly, disappointing: a free-standing room with strobe lights, a water trough, and a trestle from which hung novelty intestines. They all seemed a bit… unfinished. I suspect there were supposed to be zombies inhabiting at least the strobe room and the intestine trestle. We were informed after the fact that the event coordinators underestimated the number of undead that they’d need to supply, and were understaffed.
But overall the race was a great time. There were certain elements of the course, one in particular involving route choice, that were extraordinarily well done, and– again– truly immersed the runner in the spirit of the event.

As promised, the zombies represented every movie-type; there were crawlers, shamblers, sprinters… and they were clearly having a good time. Some of the zombies got creative with costuming; nuns, doctors, baby eaters (really). There was a ballerina who danced after people– and the angle at which her head lolled about while she cavorted was rather disturbing.
The zombies weren’t the only ones having fun; many of the runners came in costume. In fact, one of the guys in my wave had a top hat and dreads. He was, of course, dressed as Robert Cummings.
And the guys on the chain-gang looked pretty funny; I did not envy them the task of running along attached to each other.
One of the more interesting things about this event (at least, for me): it went quickly. Compared to the Warrior Dashes that I’ve done, this 3K seemed about half the distance. Shows how distracting it can be when someone’s trying to nosh on your skull.
But in the end, I made it out alive. I am a survivor.
So, at the beginning of this post, I mentioned that we will be missing Lucy. The truth is… she hasn’t exactly gone anywhere.
She made it out of the course on her own two feet*, but, alas, her brains had been well snacked upon. She lost her last bit of health about two-thirds of the way through the course. Tragic thing, really… a nurse got her. I currently have Lucy chained up in the basement; can’t quite bring myself to put her down.
But we did enjoy her last moments of her humanity crashing the VIP tent. After all– it’s the apocalypse. Who’s going to stop us?


Zombie Dispatch, and Meals on Heels; the Official Jaded Monkey team jerseys for the 2011 Run For Your Lives event, ‘hers’ & ‘his’ respectively

˚ “run” is in quote marks because it was more of a pleasant jog… but it was about two frickin miles of pleasant jog.

* Which was more than some folks did; several participants were taken out on stretchers.

  1. James D. says:

    Looks like a good time was had by all. 🙂
    I need to get in shape (not the round shape that I currently possess) so that I can dodge, duck, dive, and dodge along side you.