I was invited to the Gulfport, MS Zombie run which took place on Saturday. I couldn’t wait to go because I have never done anything other than regular road racing. No mud runs, color runs, or obstacle courses. This was my chance to do something different and be chased by zombies in the process. Not gonna lie, I HATE when things jump out at me. I was a bit apprehensive going into the race, but turns out I had nothing to fear. So let me stat by explaining how this race works. First off, it’s not really a race. It wasn’t timed, and waves went off every 15 minutes during the day. You ran a 3.1 mile obstacle course that just happened to have blood sucking zombies all over it. You wore a flag belt (think high school P.E. class) with three flags for each person. Your goal was to get to the end of the race and still have at least one flag. If so, you got a “survivor” medal. if not, you got an “infected” medal. Either way you finish the race and get a medal. Win/win for everyone. Well, no one really wants to get eaten but you get the point. There were also a couple of opportunities along the course to earn flags back, but more on that later.
I was supposed to do this race with some blogger friends. We were to be zombies in the morning, then run the course ourselves in the afternoon. However, Bobby decided to race his first triathlon that day which I of course had to see, so I skipped out on the zombie part and just showed up after lunch for the running portion. When I arrived, my blogger friends were just finishing up being zombies, and they were hungry for a snack. Me!
Ok so that was a joke, but they looked really creepy and it was hard to look them in the face and talk to them.
Mindy and Larisa were tired and left after their zombie shift, but Gina stayed with me so we could run the course together. We were in the 1:15 wave, and it was just about time, so we headed to the start line and put on our flags.
It was about this time I realized I had rushed out of the house so quickly after Bobby’s triathlon that I had neglected to put on sunscreen. I would pay for this mistake later. The bagpipe zombie played a tune and it was time for our wave to go. We started off running through a field and hit our first obstacle (all obstacles were optional.)
The next one was right after and the one I wish I had photos of. It was just a giant tarp made to be a slip-n-slide going down a hill. Lots of fun diving and sliding on my stomach, but I didn’t really think it through because then I was soaking wet for the rest of the race. We soon encountered our first zombies, and our wave of about 20 people realized it was best to charge them all together and make it more confusing for them. Some zombies just stayed in place and would lunge left or right for a flag, but some would flat out chase you down! We made it through the first set unscathed (Gina and I at least) and then we headed into the woods and came across some dead bodies.
Then we had to climb a very steep hill.
We are brave girls in the woods!
This guy took one of my flags.
We had to go across a couple of mud pit type areas (no standing water just VERY muddy and sloshy) and encountered lots of zombies along the way. I was chased down by another zombie, and had one flag remaining at mile one and the water stop. Crap. At this point I realized I wasn’t going to make it with all my flags and would just try to earn one back later, so I just let a zombie have my third flag.
That one in front took my flag
There were some hay bails to climb which I decided to just walk around, and a bunch of zombies chased down our wave.
Gina and I kind of separated from the wave at this point, a few people got trapped up on the hay bales and I think people were trying to distract the zombies and we just kept going. Some friends we are right? We passed this yucky pit where you cold try to get a flag back but it looked gross and we decided to skip it. We soldiered on, passed a few more zombies, and made it to the place where Gina and the other girls had been zombies that morning. Basically it was a big raised platform ten feet or so off the ground and there were nerf darts scattered everywhere but zombies were guarding them. You had to try and get two darts, then climb the hay bales to get on top of the platform and shoot at the zombies. if you hit one, you got a flag back. Since I didn’t have a flag to lose, I just waltzed up and picked up two darts before making my way up the platform. My first shot was not so great, and I missed.
I took a little more time and concentrated on the next one, and actually hit a zombie square in the back of the head!
I went down to collect my flag but they had run out. Bummer! Luckily a fellow runner had extra and gave me one of his. We hit some hurdles and Gina got an action shot for me.
We knew we were close and we had one final obstacle which Gina tackled for us, crawling on the ground again through a tunnel. We turned the last corner and the finish line was in sight.
We crossed, grabbed our survivor medals, and took some pictures.
We went into the finishers area where they had a stage and a band playing. They also had beer (everyone got one free one) and food, which you had to pay for. I was a bit bummed by the lack of free food or drinks because we were hungry!
I knew I was frying in the sun (I ended up turning So red on my shoulders and back) so we took off soon after and headed home.
The concept for the race is great, but being the first one here I felt it was a bit disorganized. When you asked volunteers or people wearing “race official” clothing on, they usually didn’t know the answers to our questions. The obstacles were fun and the Zombies looked awesome, but it just wasn’t very scary. Maybe hosting it early in the morning or at night would have been better? Loved that they had water stops along the course, and loved getting a medal at the end. It was nice having a band and the little finishers area, but none of us realized we would have to pay for the food and were really confused about that part. My wave wasn’t until 1:15 and it was a lot smaller than the earlier waves and Gina said there were a lot less zombies. A lot of the zombies we did see were exhausted from being out there so long so they weren’t as fun/understandably didn’t want to keep playing the part (it was a hot day!) I laughed a lot during the run, and my muscles were sore the next day from climbing, darting, sprinting, etc. The fairgrounds were a great place to host the event, and I had a blast doing something new and fun while incorporating my love for running.
I think with a little feedback and tweaks for next year this event could be bigger and better. I would definitely run this race again if they made a few minor tweaks to how things were run. I would encourage you to do an event if they come to your area! I hate that I missed being a zombie because the girls said it was fun, but running was super fun as well! I also love that Zombie Run gives money to charity, and were here supporting Smile Train. If you live in Orlando, Chicago, Vermont, or Michigan be on the lookout because Zombie Run is coming to you!
QOTD: Have you ever done a zombie run? Would you ever run one?
*I was comped a free entry into this race however all thoughts and opinions are as always, my own.