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Running From Zombies… For Charity!

Run For Your Lives

Hialeah, FL

April 27, 2013

While everyone else was still moping at home because of how “The Walking Dead” ended its third season, devoted zombie fans poured into Hialeah’s Amelia Earhart Park to participate in the first of its kind: a 5K-marathon obstacle course called Run For Your Lives.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the event, it combines the endurance aspect of G4’s Ninja Warrior with a gory, undead twist. Runners must brave a 5k obstacle course complete with water barriers, mud pits and mock barbed wire crawls. In order to be counted among the survivors, a runner must climb, slide, crawl, dodge, and sometimes swim away from zombies and cross the finish line with at least one health flag remaining.This new trend has turned the horrific image of the living dead into a catalyst for saving lives. In 2011, Reed Street Productions created the event as a way to spread awareness for Warware, a clothing line founded by an active duty service member with the goal of giving athletes and service men and women high performance apparel at more affordable prices.

As Run For Your Lives became increasingly popular, it transformed into a nationwide phenomenon, with their 2013 season beginning in Miami, Florida on April 27th and ending in Austin, Texas on December 7th.  Its number of sponsors also grew. At the Miami marathon, a Technicolor brain-shaped tent on the grounds marked the sponsorship booth for the Kennedy Krieger Institute, an organization that prides itself on researching developmental disorders and brain and spinal injuries in children. As I walked into the park where the main event was held, I was blown away by how many people were willing to run for charity.

 Upon arrival, I was immediately splattered with makeup and gore before being sent out to feast upon the living. Pulling the flags off of passing runners, I couldn’t help but feel like I was playing a live action game of “Left 4 Dead” or “Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies.” Despite the chaos on the course, or rather our section of it, the Apocalypse Party lacked much of an audience as two cover bands took the stage. Listening to Retro-Sky play Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right,” I watched an intoxicated individual attempt to mosh in front of the stage. The less zombie-crazed folks took to their lawn chairs to watch. Despite the lack of enthusiasm on the crowd’s part, the bands morale didn’t suffer. Lead singer Rob Fires did an amazing rendition of The Cure’s “Just like Heaven” – that definitely put a smile on my face. Andrew “The White Russian” Ramirez shredded every song flawlessly alongside Drummer Bill Gato and Bassist Joe Moreno. Despite the scorching heat and small crowd the event was a great success and I left feeling less corpselike than I had when I came in.

Check out our interview with Retro-Sky, one of the bands performing at the Apocalypse Party.

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