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Zombie Evacuation: A 5k race with a gory twist


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If you think running is a boring sport, think again. Forget your fun-runs and half-marathons, over the last couple of years a new type of race has sprung up – the obstacle race.

Featuring obstacles & challenges ranging from monkey-bars to mud-crawls, races like the Spartan Race and Tough Mudder aren't for the faint of heart.

Now the bar has been raised even further by the announcement of the UK's first ever Zombie Race, taking place this Halloween near Cambridge. Participants not only have to run a 5k course littered with 20 obstacles “akin to set pieces from a movie or TV show”, they also have to run away from the blood-thirsty undead.

The National Student caught up with co-organiser Jon Ford to get the lowdown on the event.

He said: “We had been thinking for a while that the world of obstacle course racing needed an entry level event. Something that was a little more accessible than the tough, almost elitist image of the Spartan. We also wanted a hook and as zombies are really in vogue at the moment, we decided to put the two together.

“At heart we're a team of zombie movie loving racers and as such we've created obstacles that could only have come from the minds of zombie nutcases.”

Jon and his partner Jess had held a long-standing interest in the genre, with Jess working for Spartan, a big name in obstacle-races in both Canada and the UK.

Jon continued: “Jess and I aren't the fittest of people, we both used to be, but such is life that circumstances happen and weight creeps on. Both of us wanted to lose weight and get fit but we felt that the Spartan Race challenge was a step too far for us.”

But as Jon explains, there's a twist to this race: “You'll be given a life belt with three tags on it, each tag represents a life and every zombie on the course is after those tags. Make it to the end with at least one tag left and you'll have survived.”

Those who finish the race alive will receive a survivors' dogtag medal.

“If you lose them all by the end of the race.... you're infected!”

As well as creating a more accessible type of obstacle race, Jon and Jess wanted to include those who weren't interested in running the race.

Jon says: “We also wanted it to be fun for the whole family and for people of all backgrounds, so the event became multi pronged so to speak.

“We have the event proper that the runners pay to run, and then we are asking people who just love being zombies to volunteer and be zombies on our course in either an agressive or passive capacity.”

Anyone can sign up on the website to be a volunteer zombie on the day and Jon says that over 600 have signed up so far: “It's enabling us to populate the course really well. Considering each heat will probably have around 300 runners in it, the zombies will outnumber the runners... which is good!”

More than 1500 people are already signed up to the Cambridge event, taking place on the 27th of October, and there's already another in the works. If you're interested in signing up as a runner, volunteer, vendor or even a band you can find all the info you need at

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