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.
In fact over Four thousand turned up on Saturday the 5th of September at the picturesque Sydney Western Parklands to do just that!
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
If you are interested in hearing as soon as the next one is planned then feel free to jump on their 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.
“Thank you to all the friendly event organisers and workers! Everyone was so pleasant, my friends and I had a blast!!!!”
Well thanks for talking to us again, peace out and may you stay uninfected!
Links to related stories and sites!
Run for your lives Facebook page
National Paper coverage
All our photos on our facebook page