This past weekend was a thriller, folks. Me, my beau, and two friends laced up our Nikes and hit the pavement for Atlanta’s inaugural (I think) Zombie Run down at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Jennifer and Mars added Zombieland rules to the backs of our official shirts and Mars donned his signature ‘fro. Now it’s a party!
I was a little worried about my recent lack of training since being sidelined by bronchitis. And we had no clue about what to expect as far as difficulty or the overall organization of the run.
Let me just say…we were blown away! For $45, we each got official printed backpack totes, t shirt, water bottle, number, 4 safety pins, one lanyard belt with grommets, three red heart balloons and three twist ties. I’ll get to why those matter in a sec. Parking was a cinch, super well organized. AMS has good bathroom facilities for before and after the race (no porta-potties! Woohoo!). The zombies were all ready and stationed when we arrived.
We inflated our balloons and tied them to our grommet belts with the twist ties. Those are like extra life on a video game. The zombies try to pop them or take them.
(FYI…start as far back as you can without being at the very back. You want the zombies to get hot and tired. Also, travel in a big group of good runners…safety in numbers especially at the choke points.)
Get ready, set, go!
All queued up and ready to run, the event took it up a notch with a civilian helicopter cruising overhead. It made the whole zombie infection and invasion come to life.
We hit the pavement with a light jog and easy attitude. Until the first group of zombies, and then sheet got real. They don’t just creep towards you. Adults and kids of all ages covered in fake gore snarl and jump for you. It’s the ultimate game of flag football, sans pigskin. We started sprinting hardcore, juking left and right like prize running backs. In between zombie clusters, I panted like a Pekingese on a treadmill, woefully unprepared for so much balls-to-the-wall running. Rajne was faring much better. Guess it pays to have done years of decathlon!
Mars and Jennifer would catch up to us when I was busy trying to breathe again. I kept three balloons for most of the race, and gave one to Mars when he had lost all his. Most of the zombies just lunge for you; however, a few would give chase. Super exhilarating and terrifying all at once!
THE BIG FINISH
The last quarter mile was the toughest. I lost my second balloon going through a choke point. Rajne still had one left too as we made our way up a steep incline with three groups of zombies. Then we had a plateau for 100 meters. A zombie woman bear hugged me to get my last balloon. Rajne made it past her only to succumb to a sprinter zombie stationed outside the two choke point gates for the finish. Argh!!! Brains!!!
Mars managed to preserve my balloon all the way to the bloody end! (And you know that super jive Fro made him a prime target, not to mention, incredibly overheated.)
Jennifer made our shirts a tremendous success! Everyone wanted to know where we got them. She had rule one: cardio. I had rule two: double tap. Mars had “don’t be a hero” (with don’t crossed out) and Rajne had “a little sunscreen never hurt anybody”. Classic!
During the run, they had water stations set up with volunteers passing out zombie vaccine. Very funny. And after the run, they had a huge party, with raffle prizes, free snacks and Gatorade, a couple of zombie cast members from the walking dead, beer booths and more. This was one of the most well organized events (of its size and creativity) that I have ever attended! And so much fun with our friends!
Kudos to the Zombie Run event planners!