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4 Lessons for the Apocalypse I Learned Running a Zombie 5K

Zombie Run 2013

1. Having no sense of smell is a powerful gift.

Don’t let the word “running” fool you – zombie 5ks are filled with a great deal of crawling.

And slodging.

And a teensy bit of swimming.

But what you’re crawling through.

And slodging through.

Is something that looks like mud.

But smells like death.

Allison, who has almost no sense of smell?

Was the least nauseated during these portions of the race.

And that’s why I’ll keep her around when the apocalypse comes.

Zombie 5K

2. Having money will keep you alive a little bit longer.

This might seem an obvious lesson, though that it also applies to comedic runs was shocking to me.

The way zombie runs work is you wear a belt with red flags (i.e. lives) and zombies try and pull off your flags.

If your three initial lives seem like not enough, you can buy more.

Similar to how, in real life, you can put your millions to work on building that zombie-proof backyard amusement park.

(Then feel free to invite me over – my zombie apocalypse plans are currently fluid.)

Zombie 5K

3. People cheat like mad woah, even at things that don’t matter.

This seems a worrying realization.

After running our Zombie 5K, I had signed up (along with Jeremy and Allison) to be a zombie.

When we realized this was a 3 hour obligation, we knew we’d made a terrible mistake, but by then it was too late.

(Itself probably a good apocalypse lesson, but I was too tired then to parse out the details.)

During our run about half our group survived, half felled by zombies stealthily grabbing our lives as we darted about and around on small, windy paths covered in squishy mud and hard tree roots.

Yet it hadn’t occurred to any of us that the stated rules, that you can’t hold onto your bright red pieces of plastic, are being inforced by no one.

And if you thought I was the party bitch, you should have seen me as a tired zombie.


If the ten stranger zombies along our section of the race found my indignant yelling annoying, they were too concerned about my mental stability to say anything.

And while I shamed roughly half of the cheaters into letting their flags hang free, the other half only grabbed on tighter.

I can only imagine that, if faced with actual consequences outside of losing at a race with no prizes, people might cheat the same amount.

My point, basically, is that I now have less faith in humanity.

And more fear of breaking bones on forest pathways.

Zombie Run 5K, aka my non-excited face.

4. I will not survive the zombie apocalypse.

Or any other apocalypse.

My best bet is some sort of Internet apocalypse.

And even then, I’ll likely go as soon as Twitter’s infected.

Life has never seemed so precious

Or so short,


{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Kari @ bite-sized thoughts December 5, 2013, 2:16 am

    Ha! Congratulations on surviving the 5km zombie run/crawl at least 😀

  • Tracie December 5, 2013, 7:37 am

    My rule-following self is very disappointed in the people who would cheat at this.

    My must-win self would be right there with them. Cheating. Whatever it takes to win.

    I’m very conflicted.

  • Allison December 11, 2013, 11:01 am

    The thing with the cheating was… Literally no one not there asked me later if I survived. And it doesn’t matter there either. The only reason to win is to get bragging rights amongst the people there with you… who barely care. So it’s very strange to have to fight with someone for a flag, when the entire point is to see if you’d survive! I mean, if I’d been a real zombie, most of them would be dead by now.

  • julie gardner December 15, 2013, 8:40 pm

    Parsing out details is overrated.
    You know what’s not overrated?

    Keeping your Zombie Apocalypse plans fluid.
    (And nose plugs. Probably.)

  • John (Daddy Runs a Lot) December 20, 2013, 8:45 am

    I ran that zombie 5k last year — I kept one of the flags inside my sorts . . . my theory being “if someone really wants to pull it out, we’re turning the zombie 5k into zombie porn”. I ended up with two flags at the finish line . . . meaning that, while I technically cheated, I still finished “alive” fair & square. Though maybe a zombie or two took some pity on me thinking I only had one left . . . of they knew my plan and decided against random freaky time in the middle of a forest clearing in the middle of the apocalypse.

    This year, I didn’t cheat when I ran a separate zombie 5k. There was a team of roller girl zombies at the end. They ate me alive.

    • Megan January 2, 2014, 12:35 pm


      And to think, all these years, I thought you were a decent person.


    • Allison January 2, 2014, 12:37 pm

      Haha, that’s worse than most of the people we called out for cheating! There will be no cheating in the actual zombie apocolypse! (and sadly, fewer water breaks)

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