Did you watch the video first? Creepy right? That was not a joke at all, believe me. The 5,000 participants of the outbreak manila 2012 will surely agree at me. I was lucky and the other survivors, I mean runners to experience the first zombie run in the Philippines held in Nuvali, Laguna. This is one-of-a-kind challenge that runners are looking today to overcome. Despite the fact that this is a 5K race. I felt this is the longest 5K I ever participate with. This event is the longest horror booth of my life. I feel exhausted after the race but the experience is totally WORTH IT! But before all the excitement let me tell you what really happen earlier that day.
So we arrived at Nuvali at around 5 in the morning. You can feel already the excitement and the anxiety while parking. You can see runners already doing their preparation for the race. Warm-up, stretching, little chit-chat, and securing bib numbers and health flag. After we did our preparation we roam around and look what the sponsors booth has to over. Of course many freebies are up for grab before and after the race. We also took some photo-ops around the premises and on stage before the race briefing starts and the actual race. While waiting for the race briefing I bump with few friends and have a little talk about the race and our game plan for this event. Unfortunately we didn’t come up with the plan. We all agreed on enjoying the race and finishing it injury free since we all expect this will be a tough race. When our wave briefing starts (wave 4) I felt Goosebumps. My gosh, this is it! After a few minutes the race will start and we will start to run, dodge, jump, and crawl to finish line. But before the race, while in the starting area I met these guys from Quezon City – Sir Lawrence, Sir Al and Sir Mic. One of them recognizes me and said I look familiar. He said that he read my blog about Salomon. I don’t mean to brag but this is fun about blogging. You can reach others by writing and the easiest way to have friends. Back to my story , and so from that moment we stick together from the beginning until we finish the race.
I’m not an expert when it comes in trail running and I don’t claim to be one but in my scale on how hard a trail route is. Nuvali scored 4 out of 10 to me. That is if we’re talking pure trail running here. But when you added a running, crawling, growling, jumping from the tree, surprising, dancing, macho, skinny, chubby, eye-popped, army, prom queen, pretty, student, handsome, cute, and scary zombie in the picture even you knew it was just a make-up, this trail route score a whopping 100 to me. Imagine as soon as the siren blown a zombie not far from the starting area will charge at you to grab your precious flag and after his attack a small group of zombie before turning right at the trail is waiting for you. If you think the attack will stop there, you’re wrong. As soon as you hit the trail the zombie just keep on coming. On our way to the first safe zone I check if my flag is still complete and luckily it does. I heard this one guy complaining that the zombie took two flags of his. We all knew that per zombie will grab one flag per runner according to the zombie rule number 2 under zombie page. Poor guy we just started and he lost 2 flags and only one left but don’t worry my friend on the first obstacle, the crawling obstacle you will receive your extra health flag (color white). I salute those who manage to keep their flags intact (4 flags) until the end of the race. At first I’m confident I can manage to finish the race with 3 or more flags as we all expect that all obstacles will give us extra flag, but we all wrong. Well according to how it works rule number six under survival page “There will be obstacles in the course where you can choose to go through to attain additional health flags.” But I did the entire obstacle and the only obstacle that gave an extra flag was the first one, the crawling obstacle. Anyway enough with the complaining and let’s get back to story. Before we reached the second obstacle, the garter obstacle we tackle countless zombies along the way. This is the part some of the runners got bruises and got injured because others are pushing and trying to save their health flags. This kind of action cannot avoided even the organizers said direct and intentional physical contact with any runner or zombie is strictly prohibited. Everybody will do anything just to survive. By the way the four of us is still intact. Like I’ve said earlier “we stick together from the beginning until we finish the race”. When we reach the 2 kilometer mark, the part where you have choose between the easy way or the horde way. Of course we chose the horde way even though the chances of survival are slim we still took the chance and some regret it after the horde of zombies attack us. By the way the difference between the two is that Easy way – less zombies but longer and Horde way – more zombies but shorter. I hate this part because this is the part I got separated from my group and I have to make it on my own and catch up with them. Because if I let them ahead of me more zombie will be focusing on me and that will decrease my chance of survival. Plus it’s hard for me to maneuver because I’m holding hydration bottle on the left hand on camera on the other. I said to myself if I will switch on career mode the risk of getting injured is high so what I did is cross-over some zombie, spin and even jump just to protect my flags even I knew I might get injured and risky for me because of the uneven terrain. Luckily I manage to catch up with them but unfortunately the zombies snatch my two flags. After that wave of zombies we reached the part we’re we have to take a zombie guts and pretend to be like them and then escape. I like this idea because this is the classic way to escape zombies which usually done in zombie movies and series. Where they opened up a zombie’s body, take its guts then wipe the blood all over their body and act as one of them just to escape this mindless eating machine. So almost there but not almost because there is one more obstacle left and that is the maze. Just like in Takeshi’s castle you have to find your way out of the race and if you’re unlucky, zombies will get your remaining flags. After that maze I was able to keep my 2 flags intact and thought it will be easy on my way to the finish line but I was wrong again. I thought that was it, it’s over. But the organizers really made it hard for all the participants to cross that finish line that they placed the best zombie-flag snatchers they have in the last stretch. So when I approach the last kilometer, exhaustion kicks in. I just need a couple of minutes to regain my strength so my strategy was to take pictures with zombies who will try to get my flag then outrun them after the photo-ops, clever huh? But its effective. As soon as I regain my strength I head on the last stretch of the race with zombie approaching to us with bad intention. My moves were clearly set in my mind. The setting was in slow motion environment where I perfectly dodging those zombies, spin moves, cross-over and ankle breaker moves, lean-to the left and lean-to the right and ducking. I imagined it with an epic finish. Jumping one zombie over head then falls to the finish line. That was just in my mind; but in reality I can’t hardy outrun the last two zombies on my way the finish line. After few minutes of trying I manage to squeeze in the middle that two zombies and thank God they only got one flag and I still have one flag left to claim that surprise finishers medal, that’s right a finishers medal. I didn’t expect the medal part because there was no medal mentioned on their site and their facebook page. I saw the crew giving medals earlier that day when we’re still in the starting area to those who cross the finish line. I said to myself maybe they were the fastest on their wave and just turn my focus on the event itself. I’m so happy with the result. All the finishers, our pain and suffer didn’t lead in vain. We got the medal and the bragging rights that we truly SURVIVE THE OUTBREAK!
If there’s a lesson to learn in this event. That would be… “There is always strength in numbers. The more individuals or organizations that you can rally to your cause, the better.”
The organizers made sure that the runners would have the best trail/zombie run experience. I did have. And I hope you do, too. And also I heard that they’re planning a midnight run this coming July for the next leg. Hopefully this time in an abandon building. Scary…
Thank you for giving us this one-of-a-kind experience and see in the next zombie run. Cheers!!!