Thousands of runners and spectators, including local residents Jake Moyers, Billy Sansoucie, Grant Becker, Megan and Elizabeth Brann, Ross Wulfert, Kyle Johnston and Micheal Barton, flocked to Wright City last weekend for the Run For Your Lives 5K race and obstacle course.
To someone on the outside looking onto this wide open field, it may have seemed like an ordinary race, but let me tell you, this was no ordinary 5K. This particular race was infested with the undead.
That’s right. Zombies.
Volunteers came in masses to be zombie-fied with bloody faces and ripped clothing, some even sporting costumes and creepy contact lenses. They came for one purpose, and one purpose only … to chase the runners through the 3.1 mile obstacle-laden course in an attempt to steal their survival flags.
Each runner was equipped with three flags and a magnetic device to keep their time. They were then corralled into one of three oh-so-appropriately named starting points: Appetizer for anyone who ran a mile in under 9 minutes, Entree for runners with a mile time of 9-12 minutes, and the Dessert lane featured runners in the 12 minute or more category.
When the time came, hundreds of racers packed themselves like sardines into one of the three starting chutes, waiting for the gate to open and the carnage to ensue. While there was an excellent view of the eerily smoking gate, the trail disappeared into a forest roughly 50 feet past the starting point to zombies and obstacles unknown. Spectators were not allowed on most of the course (probably for fear of being bitten and infected), but could still watch the racers from the previous heats coming out of the woods and back into the field to more zombies, the last obstacles, and finally the finish line.
Once the runners made their way out of the forest, a fresh batch of zombies were waiting as a last chance effort to strip them of their flags. Even if they were lucky enough to escape zombie clutches with flags attached, the race was not over! Participants sprinted past the cluster of the undead, then scrambled up a wall and onto a large slide with a muddy pool at the bottom. Once out of the pool, racers clawed their way through mud filled tunnels and finally dived under a low voltage electrified fence to the finish line. Surviving with flags or not, racers sighed with relief as they were presented with a commemorative medal, before making their way to the make-shift showers, dubbed “the decontamination zone,” waiting nearby.
While friends and family were being chased by the undead, bystanders enjoyed food and drinks from several vendors, including a taco truck and a snowcone stand. Run For Your Lives Merchandise was available for purchase and there were many photo opportunities with zombies from area haunted houses. Live music was blaring through the day from several bands on the stage near the food vendors.
While Sansoucie, Barton, Johnston and Moyers fell victim to the undead, Becker, Wulfert and both Megan and Elizabeth Brann managed to escape the clutches of the zombies and survived the race.
It was a dream come true for any zombie fan, and a terrifyingly good time all around!