Back in September a good friend of mine had convinced me to join the Outbreak Manila run. What is it? Basically, it’s a 5K run where you run really fast while “zombies” chase you to get your life. You’re life is equivalent to flags hanging from a belt provided with the race kit. You get three initially (there are booths around where you can get more). Click on over to the Outbreak Manila page for the full set of rules. So yeah, not your typical run. If you’ve heard of the Run for Your Lives event in the US, it’s kinda like that. This is the third time they are holding this event here in the Philippines and this time, they are holding it at Enchanted Kingdom, a popular theme park in Laguna, an hour or so outside of Manila. Yup, it’s Outbreak–Zombieland style!
Initially, I was hesitant to join. I’m no runner and if you’ve read my blog before, I can be a bit challenged in the physical events department. But I love zombies plus this sounded like fun and heck, this is definitely something I haven’t done before, so I agreed. After we registered, we decided to wear costumes for the event. We settled on a Mario and Luigi costume after Google-ing various famous duos (including Spongebob and Patrick… maybe next year?).
Jump to Z day. The day of the run. I was filled with nervous excitement as we waited for our wave to be called out. There were 34 waves. We were part of wave 3. We got to Enchanted Kingdom early so we had a lot of time to roam around and check out what was going on. There were other people in costume some in regular running gear. There’s definitely a feeling of anticipation on the air.
It was around 7pm, when they called our wave. There were three lanes, the appetizers, the main course and the dessert (? I forget). I think it’s pretty self explanatory. There’s a five second delay between each lane, the appetizers went first, followed by the main course and then of course the dessert. We lined up in the main course because it had the most participants in it and well, there’s safety in numbers, right? Not quite.
Off we went. There were several types of zombies. There were some just out to scare and there were some who were really out to get your “lives.” These zombies are fast! I think we were less than 5 minutes in the race, we haven’t even reached the gate of the park, and my heart was already beating so fast. If you’ve seen the 2009 movie Zombieland, then you know Survival Rule #1: Cardio. This is true. If you’re not in shape, it’ll be hard to outrun some of these zombies. And since we were in wave 3, the zombies were nowhere near tired.
We were about 20 minutes in the race when I lost all my lives. My companions lost theirs around the same time. There’s actually places in the park where you can earn more flags, so we were able to earn a life back at some point in the race. But when we were dead, it was actually pretty fun to run around the park and see all the zombies. The zombies aren’t as aggressive when you’re dead, so you get some time to take pictures and really take in what they’ve done to the venue. I’ve been to Enchanted Kingdom several times before, but of course, it was never like this. I think we got to explore more places of the park that you wont get to see in a regular day. Also, there’s this general feeling of dread that a zombie will spook you out of nowhere, which happened several times.
I think one of my favorite parts was what they did to a section of the park called Brooklyn Place. This part was infested! The marshal’s will inform you before you enter the section to walk like a zombie and the zombies wont run after you. We walked extra slow and the zombies really didn’t run, but that didn’t mean they wont swarm you either. I was surrounded at some point and managed to shriek. I know those zombies are really just people made up, but you can really get in the zone when you’re surrounded ten to one.
We finished the race in about an hour. I know that must be pretty long for a 5K run, but we weren’t really in a hurry to finish. And when it was over, I kind of wished there was more. Overall, it was a very enjoyable night, one I wont easily forget and hopefully, get a chance to do again.