With Halloween approaching, Sussex was besieged by hundreds of zombies last weekend as Britain’s biggest Zombie race event, the Zombie Evacuation Race series, arrived in Nutley.
More than 1,500 runners turned out, despite rain and high winds, to race five kilometres cross-country. Many covered the course screaming in terror as they were pursued by 300 groaning, lurching, flesh-eating zombies. They crossed fields where undergrowth was infested with The Undead. Woodlands and hedgerows were also hiding places for zombies, who turned up at the event decked out in shredded clothes, fake scars and blood.
The race was held at Pippingford Park on Sunday morning. On arrival at the start line, a spoof Sergeant Major from the fictional crack British Army group R.A.Z.O.R. (Royal Armoured Zombie Outbreak Response unit) told racers Sussex had been locked down due to a spreading deadly Zombie virus.
They were told they had to be extracted from an evacuation point five kilometers away and reach safety without losing the three fluorescent, Velcro tags on their running belt. That’s what Zombies were targeting.
Zombie races are proving a hit with keep-fit fans and zombie lovers alike, providing a fresh, terrifying challenge for runners, regardless of whether they are veterans of the obstacle course racing scene or are new to the fastest growing sport in the UK.
Instead of attempting a marathon, UK racers flock to sign up for the thrill of being chased by crazed zombies. Huge crowds of spectators also braved the wet weather to cheer on relatives and friends taking part.
Chris O’Neill, manager of the Zombie Evacuation Race series, said: “The thrill of being scared made a great day for everyone. We kept details of the course top secret so that everyone taking part would be as frightened as possible. Our tactics proved a great success. But next year’s race will be even more terrifying.”