Tonight was the third Zombie Apocalypse Run, and having run it the first two years as a survivor, I registered this year as an undead. So instead of getting a flag football belt with two rip-away velcro flags and a 2 minute headstart, I waited with a horde of hungry zombies. A lot of them had pretty good makeup and/or costumes to play the part. I wore a red tech shirt and told people it used to be white. (Yes, I'm a spoil sport.)
It was just past 5:25 pm when the survivors started fleeing from us in a frenzy. We were allowed to march up to the start and watch with growling stomachs while the humans did their best to scamper away. There were some fast ones, but oh my were there plenty of not-so-fast ones.
Finally, we were released. Now, when I ran previously as a survivor, there was nothing as terrifying as the loud horn (followed by the inhuman roar) signifiying the fact that there were zombies on the race course. It makes you realize that 2 minutes is not that much of a headstart -- maybe 1/3 of a mile if even that.
But . . . as a zombie, it was such a sweet sound!
I was near the front of the horde, but not the very front, and it was very crowded. I ran fast just to try to get past the clog, but I wasn't going to catch the really fast zombies, like Joe Dudman. Still, I covered the first 1/3 of a mile at better than a 7 minute/mile pace. That's where the first survivors -- which is to say, the ones at the end of the line -- were moving along, with signs pasted to their backs reading, "Don't eat me, I don't taste like chicken!" I would've been happy to see what they tasted like, but unfortunately for me, they were basically nothing more than shuffling carcasses, having been feasted on by the zombies ahead of me.
But after that, I was able to enjoy some feasting of my own. My pace slowed significantly from that point on, because it was a target-rich environment. There were plenty of survivors with one or even two flags left. I felt it was only fair to give some warning of the horrors that were about to befall the helpless (but tasty) survivors, so I usually growled "Rawrrrrrrr" as I approached from behind and snagged a flag.
I wasn't always successful at grabbing flags. Some survivors cheated by blocking or running off the course (both were against the rules). I followed the rules and kept going rather than stop and turn around. Some other survivors did nifty spin moves to save their flags. I also spared kids for the most part -- there was one about 10 or 12 who begged not to be eaten; I told him he was too small to be a filling meal.
The most difficult survivors for me to maul were females who had arranged their flag(s) so that they were draped directly in front between their legs. Um, yeah, those I passed up. . . .
There was one dad who had a single flag left, which he had on his left side. Next to him -- on his left side, of course -- was his little daughter, who still had two flags left. I considered growling, "Rawwrrrrr . . . give me your flag or I'll take one of your daughters," but I showed them some mercy. Well, if it's mercy to leave them to suffer some more on the course before being devoured by the zombies behind me.
I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 26:52, which would be my worst time ever for a 5K, but the course ended up being 3.41 miles according to RunKeeper, so my pace was not my slowest ever -- although almost half a minute slower than my half marathon(!). I think it's slower running as a zombie than as a survivor because (1) the course is much more clogged; (2) weaving in and out and approaching prey is slower than running like hell to get away; and (3) it's harder than you'd think to run while clutching a bunch of flags.
In the end, I had 49 flags. (Four or five of those were ones I scavenged from the ground. Hey, a little mud and dirt doesn't hide the tastiness of brains!) That wasn't enough to win the title of the King/Queen of the Zombies, as someone else had 70+ at the time mine were counted. I was still pleased with the terror I had inflicted.
Speaking of terror, it's so much more fun to run as a zombie! I loved the yelps and screams from the survivors ahead of me as I growled "Rawrrrrrr!" Even better was when a survivor would try to speed up to stay ahead of me. Hey, if I've caught up to you despite your 2 minute head start, I'm running a faster pace. . . . Once I called out, "Resistance is futile" or maybe it was "give in to the inevitable". . . . The palpable look of defeat when they gave up the faster pace was delicious. (Man, I do sound like a ravenous brain-eating zombie.)
After the race, one runner recognized me and wailed (playfully), "Aw, why'd you take my flag?"
"Because your brains looked tasty," I replied.
Yes, it is more fun being a zombie! RAWRRRRRR!