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Run For Your Lives: My Review

12 Jun 2012

As much as I enjoy working out, I was never interested in a traditional road race or distance run of any kind. As you can expect from a trainer, I like exercising for the sake of fitness — just for the intrinsic reward of being healthy.

I changed my mind for obstacle races.

After reading about obstacle course races, and after blogging about them for nearly a year, I was ready to make an exception.

Sure, obstacle races add fun to fitness, you get a free beer after the race, and you get a sense of accomplishment afterwards. But here is the reason why an obstacle course race sounded like a lot of fun to me: it was an extensive circuit workout integrating running and tests of physical and mental strength.

So, I decided to try my first obstacle race: Run For Your Lives. Run For Your Lives held their first two-day event outside of Boston on May 5 & 6.

How did the race compare with my expectations and other reviews?

Run for Your Lives – Boston was fun, but I was looking forward to more obstacles and not quite as many zombies. There must have been at least 200 scattered around the course. They were conveniently stationed around the more uneven terrain segments of the course and oftentimes right after shallow mud pools. This made hanging onto all three flags a challenge — as it should be.



White Cap Before Run For Your Lives

To start the race, you wait in a dark tunnel, then walk/crawl/climb a steep, muddy hill, met by zombies at the summit. There’s no time to catch your breath, just be ready run. This is where I lost my first flag — yes, 30 seconds after starting.

Most of the obstacles (at least the man-made ones, excluding the zombies) were at the beginning and end of the course. In all, there were about 8-10 obstacles. If you’re reading, and you did the course, let me know if I am missing any:

  • Muddy water pit: this was towards the beginning, before even reaching the first mile marker. Some had to lunge into this shallow pool in efforts to escape running zombies.
  • Three tunnels: two required crawling — one was close to the beginning, another towards the end. Another was a dark, cool cave-like tunnel with electric-charged wires hanging from the ceiling.
  • Maze: this was about the size of a small shack, and if you took a wrong turn, you’d find out pretty quickly.
  • Crossing with “logs” underneath: to get past a creek, you had to balance on these.
  • Two slides: one about 15 feet long into a shallow pool of what started as red dye, but by the time my wave got there, it was pretty much dirty water. The other slide was a longer, down a tarp-covered hill into muddy water.
  • Electric shock fence: to get to the “safe zone,” you had to crawl under a low fence. You had to be sure to get low enough to avoid the shocks.

As much fun as I had in the race, I was hoping to try some of the obstacles I heard of in other reviews like cargo nets, hay, and plastic replicas of tripe hanging overhead. There were a couple different ways to finish the course, though, so I may have picked the alternative that excluded some of these obstacles.

After speaking with others who have tried this and similar obstacle races, it looks like this race was muddier than other 5k’s. This may be more of a function of the venue or a combination of the venue and actual design of the course. Some of the parts were like quicksand, and you needed to step quickly so as not to risk losing footwear.

White Cap After Run For Your Lives

Key Takeaways

As I expected, Run for Your Lives is a great race for beginners – bring some friends! This race is also good for a runner looking for a fun alternative to a traditional road race. Be careful not to turn an ankle while running away from zombies.

Note on what to wear: I thought I wore comfortable clothes, but looking back, I would dress differently. Since it’s a muddy course, tights/fitted bottoms may be more appropriate than any other athletic pant since they won’t weigh you down as much once you’ve dived into mud. For this race and course, I recommend shoes with some ankle support that you wouldn’t mind parting with or will be easy to clean afterwards.

I would do Run For Your Lives again, but after trying other obstacle races to see how this one measures up with other dashes/sprints.

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2 thoughts on “Run For Your Lives: My Review

  1. Hey Melissa,

    Thanks for the review. You also posted how you trained for this event back in April. Looking back on your training, do you find it helpful? If you could have done your training differently in anyway, what would it be?

    I’ve never ran an obstacle race, but as a huge zombie fan, I can’t resist signing myself up for a zombie run next year. I am looking for a good training plan so that I can survive the apocalypse.


  2. Hi Michael,

    Probably the most challenging part of Run For Your Lives was avoiding the zombies. A good training plan that incorporates running, strength, flexibility, core, etc. will help you with conditioning for the race.

    But to prepare you to actually escape the zombies over unsteady terrain, I recommend devoting one or two days a week to agility training — even if it’s for a short 10-15 minute segment of your entire training session. Some have also recommended Parkour (if you can find a school near you). Another thing I recommend are single leg exercises leg single leg squats or deadlifts because you’ll need some balance and strong ankles to be able to weave around zombies over muddy and uneven ground.

    Hope that helps! Thanks for visiting my site and posting a comment. As a huge zombie race, you’ll love Run For Your Lives!


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