Let's face it: Even if you're a champion sprinter on the race track, wouldn't you pick up a little speed if zombies were out to eat your brains? Even the exercise-averse are likely to hightail it with the hungry undead on their tails.
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That's the concept of Reed Street Production's Run For Your Lives, a 5K where participants can, as the name suggests, run for their lives - or, get zombiefied and play predator instead.
The first edition of this sporty bloodbath launched in Darlington, Maryland, last October, and more than 10,000 people participated in the carnage as runners, zombie predators, or spectators. Now, the race has expanded to 12 cities nationwide -- and the zombies are set to invade Hialeah on February 9, 2013.
Like a blood-and-guts version of flag football, runners are given a belt with three flags. In order to stay alive, each must make it to the finish line with at least one intact.
Along the course, participants have to dodge their zombie foes through obstacles like slides, blood pits, smoke houses, and other crazy challenges that change from race to race. If zombies steal all three flags, the runner is officially worm food, but there are extra flags strewn throughout the course to help runners survive, video game-style.
Registration packages for both runners ($67 early bird price) and zombies ($35 anytime) include a race shirt, entry to the Apocalypse Party, a medal signifying survival (or zombie transformation), and advanced training for the zombie apocalypse.
There will be multiple waves for runners throughout the day, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Zombies have their pick of three shifts: 8 a.m. to 11:20 a.m., 11:20 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. and 2:40 p.m. to 6 p.m. Zombies can pick from one of two roles: chaser zombies, who are "fast and nimble", or stumbler zombies, who are "slow and terrifying."
So what makes a good zombie? "Zombies who come already excited to be there by dressing up in their own costumes. We've seen brides, characters from pop culture, and many more. Zombies who really embrace the experience by getting into their roles, but don't take it too seriously in that they go after brains," says event coordinator Olivia Orth with Reed Street Productions. (Um, have "too realistic" zombies been a problem in the past?)
The top male and female human finishers will score prizes based on age brackets, and there'll be a military bracket, too. Additionally, a portion of every ticket sold will go to the American Red Cross (this way, they're ready when the zombie apocalypse arrives).
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As far as advice on coming out of it alive, Orth offers these words of wisdom: "To finish the race as a survivor, participants should have quick reflexes but also be mindful of your flags and be prepared to run rain or shine. A runner should be prepared for anything. It is the apocalypse, after all."
The race takes place on February 9, 2013, at Amelia Earhart Park, 401 E. 65th Street, Hialeah. Spectators must also register with the race (more info available in December), and the race crew is looking for volunteers to help with various aspects of the event. Visit runforyourlives.com for additional details.