Many moons ago a friend and coworker we call Penny told me about a 5k race where you have to run through obstacles and avoid zombies. And while I found this in and of itself intriguing, she added the icing on the cake, they needed zombies.
I’ve done the Pittsburgh zombie walk for 2 years and participated in the zombie walk at Gencon in Indianapolis for 2 years, once taking home 3rd place for Zombie Mario and Luigi with the gentleman I was dating at the time.
1st year at the Pittsburgh walk:
Zombie Luigi and Mario (we got 3rd place)
So you can guess I was way too excited to hear about this race. We checked on the website periodically until it was open to sign up. They give you a medal, a tshirt, they do your make up, and give you a free beverage for $25. Do I get to scare people and look gruesome? Then it’s a $25 well spent. Sign up I did. 3 other coworkers signed up as well. We went as a group. You can choose to be a “chaser” or a “stumbler”. Not being the most athletic gal, I opted to stumble. They have 3 shifts, we chose the 2nd shift, 11:00 to 2:40.
The day of we met up Downtown, at our place of work, to car pool at 7:30a. We needed to be at the fairgrounds 2 hours before our shift for make up, and the lying bastard Google Maps told us that it would take an hour to get there. We found the parking without really getting lost and got on our shuttle bus to the actual site of the race, about a 5 or 6 min drive away. We transformed into our costumes before makeup. We went as a group of tourists.
One of the VIPs thought it was pretty amusing, so we got “P”s on our wrists, which meant we were allowed to get prosthetics. That means we got to get fake nasty wounds glued to our faces. We were pretty excited about this.
They had a pretty good assembly line inside. A couple of guys to shred your clothes, then the wound people pictured above, then you got airbrushed, someone daubed you with some stuff, then the blood dude. Soon enough, we were the undead.
The next stage was getting “dirty” and bloody, you know, before we hit the real dirt. They had a guy to spray us down and one to fling us with blood. We lined up and took our turns in front of the tarp.
Then we were ready to horrify the masses.
Here are a couple of my other favorite costumes:
While we waited for our guide to our section of the race, we watched one of the last legs where runners had to climb over 2 walls before they were assaulted by a few chasing zombies and a stumbler.
And just in case your thinking you might be masochistic enough for this, let me also tell you that not pictured is the area where they had a zombie hanging out in a water obstacle. And I’m not going to give it all away, but they do warn you about “mild electrical shocks” on the waiver for a reason. We also got to see a pretty awesome muddy barbed wire crawl on the way.
About 15 of us were lead to a small muddy section of the race course. I almost lost my shoes on the way there. We had fun working out strategy, watching the runners plan their own. But it was hot and humid and the last hour of the shift sucked away at our souls, as we began to honestly feel undead. For three hours we jammed our thumbs and fingers, accidentally touched more genitalia than a black out at a bath house, took elbows to various body parts, and helped one very injured runner get attention.
The runners get a belt with 3 flags, like flag football, and those are their “lives”. Since we were towards the middle of the race, we were supposed to let most of them by with at least one life left. The people that had none quickly volunteered to run interference, or “play meat shield”, for those with lives left. Very few had 3 by the time they got to our station. I figured with my limited athletic prowess, I’d be happy with myself if I got one flag off of someone. My zombie course mates were quickly snatching victory in the way of little red flags left and right. I got a few from snatching, and quickly decided I was not above taking a few from the folks that had just given up, walking by and asking me to just take it. Yes sir, I’ll take your pity flag. But I wasn’t cruel to the people that where huffing and puffing and looking like sad death, just trying to finish the race. It’s supposed to be fun after all. We weren’t there to be total dicks. My zombie compatriots and I even cheered for people that looked like they need a pep in their step.
Pile of shoes lost to the mud monster:
And in the end, I walked away with 14 lives, a nifty little medal, and a pretty cool shirt. Pictured here with my cat Renfield, because he wouldn’t get off the bed.