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Run for your lives!   The story behind the horror.

Run for your lives! The story behind the horror.

So the apocalypse is over, the grass yet still wet with blood if soon to be washed away by the last rains of winter, extinguishing the few remaining flames and wiping the slate clean for a new beginning. We had our chance with this world, now it’s time for a new generation to take up the gauntlet..or should I say shotgun? Or Machete? Whatever it takes to get the job done really!

Whatever their weapon of choice is there are plenty of young fans coming up through the ranks of zombie aficionados  ready to slash, bash, blast and when there is no other option, RUN their way through the hordes.

Zombies Walk Sydney City Streets

In fact over Four thousand turned up on Saturday the 5th of September at the picturesque Sydney Western Parklands to do just that!

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Two groups spread quickly out across the 5km course. One group was made up of very messy grotesque zombies who planted themselves at varying intervals across the path of the other only slightly cleaner group, ‘The Survivors’, all hungry to make it to the finish line with at least one red ribbon left hanging from their waist..

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In a nutshell it was as simple as that, all they had to do to achieve the coveted ‘Survivors’ medal was somehow pass through obstacle after obstacle crowded with flesh eating zombies, these weren’t the slow shuffling George Romero kind either, no these are the much faster kind from “28 days later”. These zombies were FAST and it showed as throughout the day we noticed a lot more finishers picking up the ‘infected’ medal than the ‘survivors’ jewelry.

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To be honest though the zombies were probably the most challenging part of the course, other than the occasional steep hill of course. If you took it slow the terrain wasn’t really an issue though, only your fearless writer who tried to keep up with some much fitter friends running the course suffered from the occasional stitch in the side or lack of oxygen. The obstacles themselves while breaking up the course nicely weren’t the same body breaking kind you might see at a Spartan race or even Tough Mudder, the organisers were clearly more about the ‘Fun’ factor than the ‘challenge’ factor that most obstacle courses go for.

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Catered to a more casual crowd of all shapes, sizes, ages and levels of commitment I didnt see anyone give up halfway through like you do at some of the tougher runs, there was just enough variety to keep you interested and it was broken up just the right amount by obstacles, zombies and clever mix of  tarmac, muddy ground, short and long grass, off camber slopes and more to keep your feet guessing about where they were going next.

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Also running it in the day time instead of the night like ‘Runningscared’ meant there was no confusion about where to go at crucial junctions, the course was well sign posted and very easy to follow. Of course the corollary of this meant that it was slightly less ‘creepy’ and open to jump scares than a night time run would be but the steady release of adrenaline thanks to the ever present threat of zombies more than made up the deficit in ‘creepiness’.

All in all it was a fantastic day, all we could suggest was possibly more of an incentive for people to play a zombie as they were heavily outnumbered by the survivors which meant the usual trope of a few survivors overwhelmed by a zombie horde was flipped on its head in most instances. All one has to do is imagine its the FIRST day of the zombie apocalypse and for a brief merciful period there are still more living than dead.

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Other issues we observed and heard about were the occasional over enthusiastic runner or zombie letting their emotions get the better of them and break the no touching rule. To be fair when a lot of runners were covering their ribbons with their hands ala a badly referee’d game of Oztag or tucking them into their waist then this is bound to happen. Hopefully with more experience, both participants and organisers will be able to reduce the amount of ‘confusion’ out there in the fog of war. To be honest though, that unpredictable aspect is another integral part of the fun. As long as the rules aren’t completely thrown out the window then everyone is going to enjoy it.

We hope to be enjoying it again soon, if not in Sydney for a while then in other exciting locations all over Australia and hopefully we’ll see you there!

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If you are interested in hearing as soon as the next one is planned then feel free to jump on their mailing list!

http://www.runforyourlives.com.au/sydney/mailing-list

Now its time we returned to our friend Timothy Tan, the chief games master, with a few more questions..

1. Well now that the dust has settled and the ‘blood has dried’ how do you guys feel about your first ‘Run for your Lives’ event in Australia? From our point of view it was a qualified success but it would be comforting to know that there was enough interest and participation to make future events a likely possiblity.

We would definitely love to make Run For Your Lives an ongoing event in Australia and not just in Sydney. With this obviously being the first event of its kind in Australia we’re currently in the process of reviewing the event as a whole. Stay tuned for any updates.
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2. What were you most happy to hear in all the feedback you have had so far?
We have been inundated with positive feedback and want to thank everyone that made the day such a success. Many comments have been around it being the “greatest event” they have ever been to, which definitely puts a smile on our face. We’ve randomly selected two of these below that were posted on our Facebook page.
“Best event I’ve been to this year! Looking forward to the next one.”
“Thank you to all the friendly event organisers and workers! Everyone was so pleasant, my friends and I had a blast!!!!”
 “The whole day was awesome, the people running the show were awesome, and the atmosphere there was so fun. All in all such a great day, can’t wait till we can do it again. Thanks everyone.”
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3. Were there any incidents that caused you to reflect and take on board re future events? We heard that there was the occasional over enthusiastic zombie and/or survivor who broke the no touching rule but that’s always going inevitable in a ‘sport’ like this. Do you feel like current policies deal with that risk adequately? 
As mentioned, there were a few incidents of over enthusiastic Zombies and Survivors not adhering to the guidelines. We want to ensure all our patrons feel safe during the entire event and this is definitely an area we will be making top priority in our event review.
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4. From what we saw and heard everyone was enthusiastic about the obstacles and length of the course, are there any hints you could give us (this early) about possible future additions to the course?
Is it likely to stay around the same length, and do you believe the location is big enough to sustain much larger zombie hordes that are, surely, going to come to the next one?
At this stage we are unable to give anything away. The great thing about Run For Your Lives is that it is catered to people of varying fitness abilities. Rather than being time based, the event is around surviving the Zombie Apocalypse and we are hoping to transform the experience to be more immersive and let our participants really feel they are in an epidemic setting.
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5. One suggestion we would make is possible prizes for best dressed, both for zombies, survivors and the younger participants.
Do you see the event growing to allow for that and possibly a few activities around the start area for people to enjoy while waiting for their wave?
Yes, this will all be considered in our event review.
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6. We noticed a bit of run off from the blood pit into the parkland, there was another bloody obstacle involving buckets of gore being poured over survivors as they crawled along underneath mesh netting. Lots of fun of course but for those who are worried about possible environmental impacts what would you say to them to allay any concerns?
Yes all materials used are environmentally friendly and we had to run through all our operations with the park officer. The dye is food grade so no issues definitely on the safety of the participants as well as the environment.
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Well thanks for talking to us again, peace out and may you stay uninfected!

Run For Your Lives. A zombie infested 5K obstacle course.

 

Links to related stories and sites!

Local Paper

http://www.fairfieldchampion.com.au/story/3335715/gallery-1-invasion-of-the-undead/#slide=10

Run for your lives Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/rfylau?fref=ts

National Paper coverage

http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/nsw/run-for-your-lives-20150905-gjfur8.html

All our photos on our facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.485177224975713.1073741900.289049327921838&type=3

 

 

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About Patrick Hamilton

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