Well this was a huge weekend for me… not only did I run my first-ever 16 km (10-mile) race, but I also took part in a zombie apocalypse, helping my fellow zombies turn the humans into zombies, feeding on human brains and skin 😉 YUM!
Yes, another first for Dubai this weekend was the Contagion Run – Dubai’s first zombie-themed 5km obstacle course.
I didn’t really know quite what to expect when entering this race… but since I would have run 16 km’s in the morning, I entered as a zombie, which said that it would not necessarily involve much running. I had a friend, DW, enter with me, and on the day we headed out to the venue, excitement bubbling in my car!
On arrival we headed straight to the zombie containment area where zombies were being made up (and humans were staying far away for fear of being attacked 😉 ). There was a buzz of excitement as more and more participants of both zombie and survivor arrived and the place started to feel like a real apocalypse was about to begin!
Once we were both zombie-fied we hung around enjoying the atmosphere – the organisers did a really great job in having activities available for people to entertain themselves while waiting for the event to begin. We had arrived there at 1:30pm, and the race was only due to start at 4pm, so there was a fair amount of time to kill. There was a DJ on site playing some wicked tunes, so that gave a wonderful vibe to the afternoon, and we kept ourselves occupied by zombie watching (some people went all out in their costumes!), having a go on the stunt bikes, and flying around the krazy kart track before the organisers started gathering everyone to brief us on the plan of events. If you so wished, there was also a trampoline to have a go on, and they had a few stalls selling bits and bobs, including an ice cream stand!
Just after 3pm, they began gathering us all to explain how things would work. The zombies were divided up into slow and fast zombies (we chose the slow kind), and then food was provided for everyone! N_K_D pizza was brought out in the tons for everyone to tuck into before the race.
Just before 4pm the zombies were then taken off to their respective stations… in our particular station, we were put into pairs and spaced out approximately 100 meters between pairs. Our object: grab as many tags as you can off the humans as they try to run through!
We were placed at the 4th set of zombies along the course so we were able to watch as the humans came running along in their hundreds (not quite) towards us, hoping to make it past us with all of their life in tact…
The race started at about 4pm, and by the time the first wave of humans came through we were hungry and we made some good meals of the humans 😉 There were four waves in total, each containing a whack of
runners survivors wanting to make it to the finish line with some life. We went easy on some of the poor unfortunate souls who looked well tired after only a few hundred meters of the course – we knew they were in for some hellish running when they got further into the course, and towards the fast zombies, so we’d let them merely walk by us.
However, there were some seriously fit humans out there who made us really work for our
food tags, having to side step, chase after, run backwards, run forwards, more side steps… it was intense for the un-dead!! And in the end, after 4 waves of humans doing their best to avoid us, we managed to take 25 life tags from the humans 🙂
Once it was done we made our way back up to the zombie containment area, which happened to be right by the finish line, so we watched some of the humans doing their best to run through the last few zombies, hoping upon all hopes that they would carry at least one life tag with them… and lucky for about 30 of them, they made it through uninfected by the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!
As a first time event I think that this was a definite win, and I hope that there will be another one next year, and the year after, and again and again. The organisers did a great job of keeping everyone informed in the days and weeks leading up to the event, and on the day everything was very well organised and thought out. There was even an after party thrown in, with transport arranged to get everyone there (we didn’t attend so I have no comments on that). There was more than enough food and drinks available for everyone pre and post run, the toilet facilities were clean, smelled good and enough to cater for the masses. Having the activities there during the day was something you don’t see much of at events around the city (or country) so that was a great addition.
I do however have a few constructive criticism points to note:
- There was no water available on the course (at least not in the section we were based). Standing out in the sun for over an hour, having moments of chasing after runners and exerting ourselves, and then not being able to have a drink, was not great. We thought that having a little golf cart guy drive around between the waves of runners, offering zombies (and even survivors) a bottle of water, would have gone a long way.
- When the zombies were being given a briefing on exactly where to go, what to do etc., I think that it could have been a little more pre-organised because trying to talk above the noise of the DJ, the crowds talking and just general noise, made it difficult at times to hear what was being said. A suggestion would be to send out notices to the zombies beforehand, dividing the sections up into numbers, and have a disclaimer at the end saying that on the day there will be the opportunity to mix things up if you wish. It would just make things a little easier to understand on arrival.
- A suggestion that a runner made to me was that the course could have been a bit more difficult. It doesn’t need to be at Desert Warrior level, but he found that as an obstacle course where survivors are meant to work for their survival, he found it a little easy at times.
But I would definitely take part in the next Zombie Run, so I hope that it happens again next year – thank you and well done guys!!!