Months and months ago I came across the Zombie Survival Dash 5k. I saw they were coming to St Louis and I was SO excited because I thought “Finally, a run I can convince my husband to sign up to run with me!” (He has run 2 other 5k’s before this one, but this was the “first” one I got him to agree to!) The registration fee was pretty steep for a 5k at $75, but for something as cool as a Zombie run I finally agreed. $150 later I had high hopes for this race.
Fast forward several months and race day is almost here. Despite the constant posting of Zombie pictures on their facebook page, I hadn’t heard from them since we registered. I didn’t want to drive the hour plus to the race and have issues with registration so I had to call to verify we were all registered. Race morning came and we bundled up, piled into the Chevy tahoe and headed out. After an hour in the car we were finally around the race area, but had a hard time locating the actual race site because of their lack of signage. After a few u turns and trackbacks we found the race site and were surprised to find out there was a $10 parking fee. This wasn’t mentioned in any of the sites or pre-race information (we didn’t get any pre-race information at all). While parking is pretty par for the course when it comes to adventure runs, paying $75 a person to run the race along with the spectator fee for those who were not running it just seemed to add up to a lot. Once on site the registration tent was easy to find. Since we were in the first wave there wasn’t a line. We checked in with Big River Running and got our bibs with no problem. We then had to go to another line to wait for our swag bag and sign our waivers. The waivers had no actual line to sign. We got our flags out of our bag and began to look for the starting line. We walked around for 15 minutes asking vendors, volunteers, and other runners where the starting line was supposed to be. Finally we realized they had yet to set it up! Once they got it set up we were ready to go.
We ran into a trail into the woods and were immediately met by a hungry group of zombies. There were some pretty cool zombies out there! I lost my first flag pretty quick thanks to the creepy clown zombie. Some of the zombies were a little aggressive, but I’m sure the runners were aggressive back. I know I wasn’t, I gave up my flags pretty easily. It did turn into a fun game of cat and mouse a few times. The course was actually pretty challenging with lots of debris, trenches, and uneven terrain. I loved the feeling of being challenged! At one point I fell into a post hole, thank goodness I wasn’t injured! There seemed to be a bit of miscommunication the “Rules of Engagement” as there were pretty aggressive confrontations from runners and zombies alike throughout the whole course. It was a bit confusing the way the course was marked out, I wasn’t ever really sure we were heading the right way. There were few obstacles on the actual race course, which I didn’t mind at all, but the ones they did have were all swarming with zombies. I wouldn’t have minded that if it didn’t seem so dangerous to do so, like the tire wall where you could easily slip and fall back into the trench trying to escape a zombie. I gave my flags away at those obstacles in the name of safety. The race seemed to go by pretty quickly as we rounded the barrel maze and up to the final 3 obstacles.
There was a rope climb over huge steel cylinders. The zombies there were very helpful! They actually gave us good instructions for getting over and down the obstacle. The next was a huge wooden A-frame. The zombies here were very aggressive. It was already dangerous as it was, but trying to avoid zombies on the way down made it even more so. At one point my sister actually fell down the last 2 rungs trying to avoid them! The last obstacle was a climb under a wire fence through a mud pit. As I crossed the finish line I looked up at the clock – 34:00 something. NO WAY. I know my 5k average and 35 minutes is pushing it for me while running on flat straight paths. There was no way that I just walked/jogged an obstacle trail course in 34 minutes. Turns out there was a rather large portion of the trail we didn’t get to because it wasn’t marked out properly. Once past the finish line there was no water, no gatorade, no bananas.
All in all I will say we had fun. It was a great idea in theory but just was not executed well. I understand new races will have hiccups and growing pains, I’m willing to work with that. My main issue is the fact that this cost our car of people $310. For that kind of money I expect a lot. Had the entry fees been cheaper I would have been more willing to overlook these issues.
I did like that they had the National Guard out there, they had some cool obstacles at the end, the zombies were (mostly) fun, and it was great to make memories with my husband and sisters. I’m not sure that I would run this race again.
Check out the husbands recap here on his blog The Traveling Monster
Have you ever done a Zombie run? What is the most unique themed race you’ve heard of?