As you dodge fear-mongering PSAs from FEMA (September is National Preparedness Month, after all) and wait for The Walking Dead to come back in October, the zombie apocalypse feels close. Too close. There’s no escape on YouTube, either. Traceurs absorb “Zombie Parkour Movie” for inspiration (more than 2 million views and counting), a Michael Jackson parody called “Parkour Zombie Thriller,” and a freerunning riff on the AMC series called “Flipping Dead.”
“What better way to get away from zombies than to do parkour?” says Michael Aguilar, director of “Zombie Parkour Movie.” “Parkour enables you to go places a human wouldn’t [normally] be able to go. It seemed like a natural fit.” Production for a sequel begins in November, but not even two movies makes Aguilar confident of his chances of surviving the zombie apocalypse. “I think my skills are okay, but I’d probably get eaten alive,” he says. “I’m pretty sure I’d be done.”
You can improve your own chances by participating in Run for Your Lives a 5K event that pits “zombies” against mortals. Participants wear three flags around their waist and become “infected” once the zombies snatch them away. The course features two kinds of zombies: the plodding Night of the Living Dead type and a quicker, cunning 28 Days Later variety.
“[Participants] are really there for beating those obstacles, beating the zombies, getting to the finish line, and leaving their friends for bait,” says Lauren Gambler of Run for Your Lives. “It’s outwit and outrun the zombies. A lot of [participants] come with the mentality of ‘Can I survive?’”
“It’s so much more interesting than any other race I’ve run,” says Mark Yajcaji, who ran in June’s race in Medford, New Jersey. “It was a lot lot more fun, a lot more festive. The atmosphere was great.”
Run for Your Lives conducts events all over the United States, including September races in Georgia, Illinois, and Southern California. Secure your place as a survivor or a zombie, and come with a group, Gambler recommends.
Secure your place as a survivor or a zombie because spots sell out. For traceurs who think their moves alone will save them, Gambler has one important piece of advice to avoid ending up as brain food: “Definitely bring friends and family to sacrifice if you need them.”