O.K. maybe not actually but probably as close as you want to get to one. I don't know what it is but a whole bunch of people just LOVE Zombies! I'll be the first to admit that I am one of those people! I mean, come on , what is not to love! Actually I believe that George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" was both ground breaking and actually quite frightening. I also believe that it was patient zero for what is today a cult following of zombie-infected fanatics. The zombie movies of today have evolved from frightening to hilarious and between the movies, video games and books, zombie hunting is just short of becoming an Olympic event.
Actually the Zombie Apocalype that is scheduled to hit Palos Park on October 6th is the brain child of Alex Blackshire and over 80 dedicated volunteers (Told you there were a whole lot of zombie fans!) They have combined the athletic challenge of a 5K run with the added complication of avoiding hordes of brain-eating undead. If you are looking to beat your personal best time on a 5K run, how much more motivation would you need?
The race is aptly titled, "The Infected Zombie Survival Run" and you can sign up as a runner, a zombie, or simply a spectator which allows you to enjoy the lineup of live bands that are scheduled to play all day in "The Safe Zone" The race starts at 9:00am at the Swallow Cliff Sports Area in Palos Park which is just southwest of the intersection of Cal Sag Rd (Route 83) and La Grange Rd (Route 45) There are entrances from Route 83 and Route 45. Many people remember the site as a great toboggan site in the winter with a huge stairway that seems to go on forever. The race will take place on the Sag Valley Trails which was recently voted as one of the Top 25 Running Trails in America by Runners World Magazine.
I had an opportunity to speak with Alex Blackshire and as I theorized he is also an avid zombie enthusiast. This is the first of what Alex hopes to be many more annual zombie runs. His formula is to keep the race simple and fun and to under hype it while over delivering.
Zombies are encouraged to come 'pre-zombified' but for those who are cosmetically challenged they have a limited supply of volunteer make-up artists on hand.
Runners receive a race bib, bottled water, 2 health flags "ala flag football style" and a medal for completing the race. The goal for the runner is to complete 3.1 miles with at least one of your flags still attached in order to be considered a "survivor" The goal of the walking, running, crawling and climbing zombies is to steal your flags thereby symbolically devouring the gray matter in your cranium!
The race runs from 9am to 2pm and runners are set off on the course at 30 minute intervals while the zombies are assigned to one of two shifts, one covering the first half of the day and one covering the last half.
I have had the opportunity to run in six Chicago Marathons (26.2 miles) and I think I have put more training miles in for this 3.1 mile race simply because of the fact that I have a number of friends signed up as zombies. My pride will just not allow my brain to be eaten although it would probably be more of a snack than a meal.
I know this may sound silly to mention but weapons (simulated or real) are not allowed. There will be no head-shots, chain saws, samurai swords, pitchforks, baseball bats, explosives of any kind or other anti-zombie weaponry allowed. I understand the zombies are going to be well-fed before the race and are not allowed to actually bite any of the participants although I am not making any promises.
If you manage to somehow drag your nearly lifeless body across the finish line with at least half your noggin in tact you can enjoy the live music provided by local bands in the Safe Zone. The musical lineup includes Resurrection Larry, Halfmoon Mad , Blvd Manor , Expired Empire , Black Umbrella Brigade , and Fox and the Hounds .
You can find out more information about the race as well as race updates by going to http://www.runfromtheinfected.com