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Zombie 5K - The Scariest Way of Having Fun

Updated on July 4, 2013

What is Zombie 5K Obstacle Run?

It is a common assumption that Zombie 5K Obstacle Run is a 5K race greatly inspired by the popular cable series, The Walking Dead. It was first organized in 2011, shortly after the release of Walking Dead Season 1, which was a world phenomenon in 2010. Reed Street Production’s Zombie 5K was originally just a small event, but has gathered more interest due to its race format. Derick Smith and his childhood friend Ryan Hogan conceptualized the obstacle race inspired by the survivors strategy he had seen in Walking Dead Series.

This race' highlight is not on the runners, but on the use of human obstacles. What is more unusual, aside from the fact that these obstacles are in motion just like the runners, they also appear in different Zombie costumes.

Seriously, unlike the usual obstacle races, the Zombie 5K Obstacle race is even made more exciting with runners chased by hungry, merciless zombies with matching wardrobe, ready to grab a runner’s flag belt.

This activity is special in some ways, as participants are able to take part of the race, by dressing up as zombie-costume-clad-human-obstacle. The difficult race tests the speed, the endurance, and the courage of every runner. This is an obstacle run with a fun-filled concept involving not just the runners, but also those who apply as zombie volunteers. The success of the race lies on how well these zombie volunteers play their part as zombies.

The finale of this 5K Obstacle race is an apocalyptic party immediately after the race, and both the spectators and the participants are served with foods, live bands, and beer.

Withered Look

Withered but sexy zombie look!
Withered but sexy zombie look! | Source

Zombie 5K Going Global

The popularity of Zombie 5k obstacle races applying the same exact format have reached other cities too. 12,000 people initially attended the first Run for your Life Race, a Zombie 5k Run that commenced with an Apocalypse party in Camp Ramblewood, Baltimore, MD; but now, more and more people are preparing to experience it first hand.

Eventually, with so much fun that the Run For Your Life - Zombie themed race has offered, the localized version of Zombie 5K had been successfully organized in some countries too, primarily to advance a social cause and develop more awareness in some global issues. This year, Singapore is set to launch their first ever Zombie 5K called Race the Dead.

With slight variations in ruling for each country, Zombie 5K basically runs on one concept, avoiding contact with any zombie obstacles.

Fun with Zombie 5K?

Here are some of the things that ordinary people get to enjoy when joining a Zombie 5K run:

  • · It sounds fun. Indeed, it is fun. To be able to simulate the scenes in Walking Dead is already a form of jubilation as a fan of the show. Given the chance to dress up and to be made up like a Zombie is simply ecstatic.
  • · It is challenging. The goal of the runner is to get past the zombie obstacle. There are two end points, the start and the finish. The runner has to have the right strategy to outsmart the 12 man-made and natural obstacles. The number of zombies in an area is kept a secret. There are spots loaded with Zombies, there are those which do not have. Pursuing the part of a runner is never easy and a challenging one.
  • · The Post Apocalypse party - After the race, everyone, including the spectators enjoy a party called post apocalypse. In fact, this is also one of the most interesting highlights in the race. This draws a lot of sponsorships from big companies, and the cause for organizing Zombie 5k Run is properly disseminated and therefore gains countrywide support. In a way, Zombie 5K run is one form of effective advertising and promotion.

Bloodthirsty! | Source

The Participants - Zombie 5K

The age limit for the Zombie 5k participants depends on the organizer. For example, no one below 14 years old are allowed in the first RFYL race, while in the upcoming Race the Dead to be held in Singapore this October, limits the age range with no one below 16 years old, and no one above 55 years old.

Why is this so?

Zombie 5K Obstacle race is about smart disposition, speed, and endurance. It is an adult -themed run. It might create a different effect to the younger participants.

Participants of the whole Zombie 5K is divided into three main parts:

The runner - The official entrants to the race wearing a football belt with 3 flags. All three flags taken away by the zombie participants is a sign of infection. Runners at the end of the race may either become a zombie upon infection, or survive and win a prize.

The Zombie Volunteers - The human obstacles clad in zombie costumes highlights the race. Each zombie has one goal in mind; that is to take all three flags from each runner.

The spectators - They plainly watch as the race unfold with one runner infected after the other.

All three participant's category should be 14 above but those below 18 (RFYL) and 21 (Race the Dead) needs to be with a guardian or parent, or may present a letter of consent from the latter. All spectators are also required to sign a waiver.

Therefore, if you think you can't handle being a runner, then you can channel that inner zombie in you by volunteering as an official Zombie participant. You have a choice between being a chaser or slow zombie who can either go solo or be in a group, but if you can't be a part of any of the two, then be there as a spectator. Spectators are encouraged to also come in costume.

Explore the Web for more Costume Ideas

Important Reminders before Joining Zombie 5K Races

Since all participants have to play different roles, all must read the rules and guidelines in the race. The organizing committee usually publicized these rules of engagement and the policy when joining the said events months before the scheduled race.

Some of the basic guidelines are:

No pets

No weapons

No liquor

ID's are required upon entrance

Register first as a runner or a zombie

Spectators are free but must sign a waiver for the organizer to use any footage of the race which may involved any spectator's faces as promotional materials as these events continue months after months within the United States and any International locations.

The Obstacle and the Trail

Generally, Zombie 5K obstacle run features 10 to 12 obstacles and a secret trail containing multiple routes to the finish line.The trail map is hidden and nobody can tell which trail contains the most zombie obstacle. There are either long or short trails, and worst, a dead end which forces the runner to go back the trail and start once again.

The trail is something that the runners try to anticipate. However, organizers for this kind of races intentionally make it unique to put on a more challenging tasks to each of the participants. No one can predict the trail leading to the finish line. This is the aspect in Zombie 5K that is very much different compared to the usual start-finish races.

Upcoming Zombie 5K Schedules

Obstacle Title
July 13, 2013
Minneapolis, MN
July 27, 2013
Rehoboth, MA
August 3, 2013
Pittsburgh, PA
August 17, 2013
Buffalo, NY
August 24, 2013
Seattle, WA
September 14, 2013
Dalton, GA
September 21, 2013
Chicago, IL
September 28,2013
Los Angeles, CA
October 5, 2013
Baltimore, MD
October 12, 2013
St. Louis, MO
October 26, 2013
New York, New York
Race the Dead
October 26, 2013
Sentosa, Singapore
November 2, 2013
Phoenix, AZ
November 16, 2013
Clermont, FL
December 7, 2013
Austin, TX
Source: RFYL: Run for your Lives site RD: Race the Dead Source:

Fake Blood - Important Part of Zombie Costume


Everyone, runners, zombie volunteers, and spectators are asked to bring extra clothes for the Apocalypse party right after the race. The party will be held at the Safe zone where everyone can take a bath and have a party later as a group. Foods, beer, everything is provided for by the organizers. Anyone can also bring their own food except liquors. Camping is allowed in the area after the race, until wee hours.


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    • go-barbara-go profile image

      go-barbara-go 4 years ago

      Thanks Sam for dropping by. Yeah they do survive, but those who have weak hearts should think twice.

    • samgreenly profile image

      sam greenly 4 years ago from phoenix, az

      nice! hope they survive :)