We tried it: Zombie Mud Run 5k

2nd annual Zombie Mud Run 5k in Wildwood, NJ - Saturday, October 12, 2013. (Megan Schmidt / For Philly.com)

Halloween came early Saturday in Wildwood as myself and about 1,000 other people spent the morning running from zombies.

The 2nd annual Zombie Mud Run 5k took place on the beach, in the ocean, and through Morey’s Pier. The course featured 30 different obstacles ranging from giant sand mounds to zombie “attack zones.”

Konopelski Catering founded the Zombie Mud Run three years ago. “We focused on events and running and then we saw the trend in zombies, so we brought our two worlds together” said the owner of Konopelski Catering, Patrick Konopelski. “It was natural for us.”

The Zombie Mud Run partners with local non-profits from various cities the race visits. “For this run we partnered with JDRF, the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the ALS Association, and the Lynch with Lynch Foundation,” said Konopelski.

Before the race, one must register as a zombie or a human. As a zombie, participants “infect” the humans with the living dead virus, while the humans do what they can to make it to the “green zone” (A.K.A. the finish line). I chose to participate as a human.

As a human, I received a flag football belt with three red flags representing three vital organs—brains, heart, entrails. My goal: To complete the run without the zombies capturing all my flags. Should I lose all my flags during the race, I would be “infected” with the living zombie virus and die.

Since I had just completed a half marathon, I thought this 5k would be a breeze. I was wrong. This was unlike anything I had ever done. It began on the beach, which was flooded from days of rain (thank you Mother Nature!). The first obstacle was a large sand mound, followed by a sprint through the flooded waters and a climb over a large ladder.

Next came the zombies. I ran under the boardwalk and tried to stay with the pack hoping to avoid an attack in this post-apocalyptic zombie world. Then two zombies - who were hiding behind pylons - jumped out. I took off in a sprint to save my life.

The run continued down the beach and through the rides at Morey’s Pier. Perhaps the most unique parts of the course were going down the water slide at the pier and running through the half filled lazy river—all the while keeping your eyes peeled for zombies ready to attack.

“We had a lot of fun designing the course," said Konopelski, “we joined forces with Morey’s Pier and created a very unique run with zombies, a water slide, and the beach.”

At this point I was soaked from head to toe and covered in sand - yet it seemed only natural since I was trying to save the human race.

I lost only one flag (I like to think it was my entrails) during the last leg of the run when three zombies lingering under the boardwalk attacked all at once. From there it was a sprint climb over a large sand mound, into a basin of water, and a crawl to the finish line.

I recommend this unique run to people of all shapes, sizes and athletic abilities; the different obstacles provided a chance for a walking break after sprinting from the zombies. It was a demanding workout that kept me on my toes - not counting down the minutes until it was over. For 45 minutes, I felt as if I was really in a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested world trying to survive.

The next Zombie Mud Run takes place in Pittsburgh, on November 2nd. For the full schedule of upcoming races, visit the Zombie Mud Run online.

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