Zombie Run Malaysia 2013
This was our first “race” for 2013. Well, you probably can’t consider this as a race since it’s not going to run from point A to point B, but more of a “treasure hunt” style of popping into various zones to collect tokens.
The theme made us so look forward to this. Zombies appeal to us from two areas; the first being movies. You have Romero’s Living Dead series, the recent – and still ongoing – Walking Dead TV series from Frank Darabont and countless other zombies and undead movies in-between. Better ones being 28 Days Later, I Am Legend, Evil Dead (are they zombies or undead?), REC, the Resident Evil franchise, the funny Shaun of the Dead, and even off-tangent ones like Black Sheep (anyone remember this?).
The second being boardgames – Zombies!!, Last Night on Earth, Zombicide, City of Horror, Eaten by Zombies, The Walking Dead (yup, from the same movie), Mall of Horror, ZombieTown and Zombie State (Diplomacy of the Dead).
Looking for Zombies board games? Check out the list of Zombies board games in Boardgamecafe.net’s webstore.
There was never short of motivation for us to join this run! We’d in fact met up with ChaCha (organizer) in late December and were impressed with the ideas he has for this run and were really looking forward to this day. J
The Run was also well received by the Boardgamecafe.net crowd as we managed to get together a team of 15 runners to form 3 teams. Refer BGC Event Invite.
We had the worst start of the day when me & wifey drove all the way to meet the gang for breakfast in Old Town White Coffee in BU8 (Centrepoint) when we realized – once we’ve arrived at Old Town and ordered our food – that we’ve left the tickets behind!
It was already 11+ am and our wave was to start in less than an hour’s time. There’s not likely to be enough time for us to drive to Cheras and back. Emil was trying to call ChaCha (fren of his) to see if it’s possible for us to register without the tickets.
As we were driving back, waiyan did manage to confirm with Thomas (another runner), registration is simply by confirming your ID number. No tickets required. Aiyah… why print all those lovely registration tickets then?
Here’s the map of the race venue (above).
By the time we made it back to Bukit Utama, all the teams for Wave 3 have already started… and we were one of two teams late into the herding pen. Problem with this was that we’ve to tackle the zombies guarding Zone 1 on our own.
Actually we didn’t realize that was Zone 1. There was no signages or anything… we thought the zombies were guarding the lane that leads toward Zone 4 & 5 (but we were standing right in Zone 1!!)
We passed by Zone 2 but all we could see inside the Zone 2 enclosures were zombies! No runners at all… so we didn’t bother to attempt to run inside for the tokens. And this is where I think the event fell apart slightly. It can’t seem to decide if it wants to be a “treasure hunt” or “race”. And participants can’t decide either.
Ian B, one of our team members who were there earlier to observe Wave 1 & 2, reported that all runners were going down the straight path, ignoring Zone 2 and 3 on their left & right… and heading for Zone 5.
This pattern repeated itself for Wave 3. Not sure if this was the organizer’s intention.
Next up we saw a wave of 5-6 rows of zombies, each row having about 2-3 zombies guarding a stretch of dirt road that’s no more than 10m wide! And each team member has only one life strap (with the exception of the captain who has two).
We decided to just dash thru …. I was running at them and then zigzagging away from them as they come closer. Now remember one thing – the organizer stressed many times the all-important No-Contact rules (to prevent unnecessary injury)
– No direct and intentional physical contact between zombies and runners (and also between runners) is allowed.
I presume that meant while zombies can grab at your lifestrap (which is just velcroed to your vest), they are not allowed to grab your vest or shirt or any part of you in order to take your lifestrap away.
This is where it all started going wrong.
The Zombies in the first two rows were good and going by the rules.. You passed them, they let you go and they switch focus to the next freshmeat in front… they do not turn around and ambush your vest from behind. But as I moved into the middle rows, I felt these were more aggressive. They’ll come grab at you even after you’ve ran past them….
A few times I’d to duck to ward them off (and that’s dangerous as it can cause me to lose balance)… and I certainly felt a few of them were grabbing at my vest before tearing off my lifestrap. I was running at speed so grabbing my vest could have resulted in me falling backwards.
Not sure if the zombies were incentisived (paid) based on lifestraps they can take or were they simply told they are part of the event props to make sure the runners (ie paying customers) have a great experience!
Earlier waves (1 & 2) reported over-zealous zombies… There was one unverified incident (but was told someone took photographs) of commando-dressed zombies pulling a lady runner to the ground before grabbing the lifestrap from her vest.
Incidents of torn vest (not lifestrap) are plenty. We’ve two such incidents from our team; one of Emil (see picture below) and the 2nd case was Thomas.
Another team member, LC fell into a longkang! Literally out of five team members, only two ie waiyan and myself (coz I’ve extra life as captain) made it to the “safe area” with one lifestrap intact.
That was all of err… 5 min and 50 metre of experience? For RM75?
No physical contact? Yeah sure… aanemesis (another team member) has a pretty bad scratch wound on his arm. That didn’t come from a fall or looks like some zombie fingernails? Ouch.
The Zone enclosures were literally death traps that you wouldn’t be able to survive. There were even incidents of zombies coming from behind to ambush-grab your lifestrap while you were waiting for the marshal to give you the token you risked your “life” coming here for. Aduh…
The ratio of zombies to area space, and against number of runners were simply wrong! At times I can see 6-7 zombies chasing after a runner in a very cramped space. Aiyoh.. Get a couple of zombies to run after him la (no need the whole battalion), let him run around a fair bit before he ran out of breath… zombies were there to make the run/event more atmospheric right?
We saw a number of runners carrying injuries but given this is a somewhat “contact” sport, you do expect some of these “bruises”. And to be fair, not all injuries were caused by zombies. Some of them were runner-related.
So while I was not happy, I also felt this was par for the course.
Until waiyan – who’s the only runner with a lifestrap – decided to run back from the safe area (in the middle of the zones) to the herding pen so that we can call it a day… I was watching her from the herding pen and can see there were 6-7 rows of zombies in front of her so it’s not likely she’ll be able to “survive” that.
That’s not the point. What’s important is supposedly for her to make a dash for it and see how far she can go before one of those zombies caught her. Btw in the early dash, she told me she was screaming her lungs out at the sight of the zombies!! So I take it she was enjoying herself. 😛
And then the ugly incident happened! As soon as she crossed the first row of zombies, they made a grab for her vest… literally grabbing it. Not letting go. Dragging her. Her hairpin came off. Her cap came off… then even one of her shoes came off!!
I saw she was spinning around trying to shake off the zombies grab on her vest! All this while, I suppose her lifestrap was still stuck to the back of her vest. Were they going for the lifestrap or her vest?
At this point, I lost my cool and started shouting at the zombies while walking up towards waiyan. A marshal was kind enough to stop the crazy tugging.. And was trying to help waiyan recover her shoes, her cap, her hairpin and whatever else that fell off!
Can someone pls brief me about the No-Contact rules again?
As I passed each zombies, I was literally daring them to come near me since they love to play it “rough” and have broken the No-Contact rules again and again. I supposed those zombies got stunned by this angry dude and forgot their “zombie duties of aggresively grabbing lifestrap at all costs, even violating No-Contact rules”. They went back to brain-dead mode and were shambling around…
Not everything’s bad about this event. So let’s give credits where credits due.
Good zombies. There are a number of good zombies. Those who knew their job that day was not to carry the ego of seeing who can grab more lifestraps or to prove they are better than the runners. But simply as part of the event organizer who’s objective is to deliver a great outdoor experience for their customers (runners) who paid RM75 to attend this event! After all, if you have happy customers they’ll only be too glad to come back again next year!
These zombies were there to scare you, chased after you a fair bit so that you huff and puff to get away from them and were just happy to be sharing the same stage with the runners and enjoying themselves immensely (instead of needing to satiate their ego of taking out runners).
Zombie makeup. Awesome… some of the zombies look so realistic they could give you a scare! Waiyan was literally screaming herself flat…. I suspect that freaked out the zombies more than herself. 😛
Goodies bag collection. This was well organized. Only the captain’s allowed to enter the Collection Zone to get the goodies bag for his entire team. The bags were already sorted, checked and the right-sized Zombie Run t-shirt all packed into bags. Smooth and well done.
Zombie Run t-shirt. Chacha did mention to me this will be one of the highlights for this event and he’s not wrong. We like the t-shirt (from Salty Customs) and they even have ChicFit for waiyan (vs Regular Fit for guys). Thumbs up!
Note: The finisher medal left a lot to be desired so I’ll not mention it here. 😛
Lastly a quick share of a video snippet of the Run for Your Lives (zombie) run event in the USA. Noticed how the zombies in this video were pretty aggressive and fast… but they didn’t have to have physical contact with the runners becoz the lifestraps were designed to make it easy for the zombies to grab without any contact with the runners.
And they gave you more than 3 lifestraps. So no one gets eliminated in the first 5 min.
All said, this being their first event let’s hope they take all the feedback onboard and come back next year to make it the ZOMBIE RUN event for Malaysia!