Run For Your Lives 2012 [Slideshow]
More than 4,000 runners participated in the Run For Your Lives event in Knightstown, in which they braved water, the elements, electricity and the walking dead for fun and fitness.
As a combination of haze, smoke and kicked-up gravel settled over Boondocks Farms, it wasn't hard to imagine it as the site of the zombie apocalypse. More than 4,000 runners spent their Saturday there, dodging hundreds of made-up zombies and some surprisingly difficult obstacles as they negotiated the Run For Your Lives 5K obstacle course.
"I am not surviving this zombie apocalypse!" someone cries out early in their race. No kidding. Every racer starts with three red flags on a belt, representing life, and the zombies make a grab for them every chance they get.
People go nuts at the choke points. It only takes one zombie standing menacingly at a creek crossing to create complete chaos as people stumble over and around each other. It's a literal feeding frenzy; the crossing points frequently boast dozens of flags sitting on the ground, prize trophies for the well-fed zombies.
They don't make it easy on you. A LOT of obstacles involve crawling on your belly or maneuvering under creek branches. And even the wide-open prairies often hide hordes of the dead waiting to spring.
"Operation Human Shield!" someone remarks as they skirt alongside an incoming crowd, using the mass of bodies to protect them from the zombies. Can't trust anyone in Armageddon. Possibly the most accurate component of this game is how completely it encourages you to throw your friends to the undead in an effort to save yourself. It's like the midway point of every zombie film ever where everyone turns on each other.
Some of the obstacles are easily skipped but that usually leads to a much more heavily infested route.
At the bridge, Staff Sergeant Fish, the active-duty Army guy serving as emcee, yells "Watch out, it slopes!" You'd think people would listen, but no, again and again they go tumbling.
The nastiest is a long fence just 18 inches off the ground near the end where you have to crawl on your belly just to make it under and for added laughs, it's electrified to the touch. A friend of mine nearly bit through her lip when she got a jolt. I hear they turned it off midway through.
At one desolate point of the prairie, a schoolgirl zombie waits, arrayed in plaid skirt, hairbows and bloody lips. Someone yells out "I'll trade you a flag for your phone number!" No such luck. She's not that innocent. It's the end of the world. None of us are.