Run for Your Lives at Redwine Cove in Dalton, GA was nothing less than a blast! Zombies chasing runners and stealing their flags to make them “infected”! What is there to not to like about this? It was kind of like Halloween had come early with people pulling out their costumes to be some super cool zombies. This was not a an event for the faint of heart especially as a runner because if you didn’t have a zombie jumping out from behind a tree to scare you then you were running as hard as you could to get away from one chasing you! I had the opportunity to participate as a zombie and a runner so I can let you in on my favorite parts.
Being a zombie was by far the coolest part of the event. You get put through an assembly line where station by station, they transform you a little more into a zombie where the final touch was being doused with a few buckets of blood. Many of the zombies got very creative with costumes ranging anywhere from the crazy, killer clown to the walking dead prom queen. You could choose to be a stumbler or a chaser. Stumbler zombies were allowed to stumble, crawl, shuffle or drag as long as it was a slow movement. Although it sounds pretty easy to get by these zombies, they were usually in large packs so you had to dodge them like running through a mine field. Chaser zombies were the harder ones to avoid since they could run and chase after you although they could only chase you within their zones. There weren’t as many chaser zombies as stumblers but when you came across them, you had better hope you were in a large pack and sprint like crazy to avoid losing a flag.
I was a chaser zombie for 4 heats and I felt like I ran about 5 miles in that time since I was sprinting like crazy after some of the runners. I worked different parts of the course; sometimes in an open field and other times on the trails. Being a zombie was a lot more physically demanding than actually running the course especially when I was on the trails. At one part the trail was just a few feet wide and while jumping out from behind a bush to scare people was super fun, it was also not the safest. At one point or another, I was smacked in the face, push down and tripped with people attempting to get past me. Keep in mind; I was a chaser and I was actively taking flags off of people so I didn’t blame the runners for their automatic reactions. For the most part, the runners and zombies were courteous to each other but with the adrenaline pumping sometimes accidents happened.
Running the course was not as demanding as being a zombie but it was still really exciting and a definite adrenaline rush. After leaving the start line, there was a short distance run before you found yourself in a pack of zombies. It was pretty chaotic and sometimes pretty hard to tell the difference between a zombie and a runner but on one thing you did know was to RUN! The strategy we found that worked the best was staying with a group of people. In a normal obstacle race I try to stay away from groups but in this case, it was the safest way to go otherwise you were a sitting duck for the zombies to pluck your flags. Pretty much the entire run was sprint from the zombies and then slow your pace only to sprint like crazy again.
There were obstacles although I would be a little challenged to call this an actual obstacle run. If you are an obstacle racer looking for challenging obstacles, then you will be disappointed. If you are a looking to do a fun run where your goal is to “survive” the run, you will not.
Honestly, I was so excited about the zombie aspect that I forgot there were obstacles even in the race until someone asked me about them. All together there were about 10 obstacles spread throughout the course which were easily achievable. There were 2 obstacles which were electrified and zapped the runners when they crawled through them but even if you did get zapped, it was relatively harmless. A few sets of walls were situated throughout the course but being only a few feet high, most runners had no issues achieving them. There were 2 water obstacles. One of them you had to crawl through large pipes sitting in a creek and another you had to climb up a short ladder to jump into a large tank of water. Truly what I feel the obstacles did was give you a short reprieve from being taken down by a zombie and a moment to catch your breath.
I finished my day after about 4 hours combined of zombie duty and running the course and was exhausted but in a good way. I did manage to hold on to one last flag to“survive” the run so I proudly walked away with both medals. The bling is one of the most important parts of the event as we all know! Free spectator entry and a cool apocalypse after party make this a good event for the family to join but keep in mind to participate you must be 14. Whether you are a solo runner or like to run as a group, Run for Your Lives is a definite recommend you should put on the ‘to do” list.
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