They really worked on the backstory this year. Every runner starts out with two red flags (just like flag football), and the goal is to make it to the end of the course with two flags in order to collect 'vaccine' and save humanity. Runners can share flags in order for the group to collect as much vaccine as possible. Along the course there are not only obstacles and a grinding run through the hills of the area (at 6000+ feet in altitude!), but you have to dodge zombies (some staggering, others quick) AND a group called 'The Living Insane'. Revival stations along the way (where you could stay as long as you liked) served either water or beer, just to keep things, ahh...interesting (can you say Drunk Zombie Run?). In addition to the run there was a pre-run zombie parade and a BIG party afterwards.
While we didn't officially sign up, we still wanted to go as spectators. DEAD ONES. We never like to miss an opportunity to zombie up and have fun, so out came the makeup & props.
By the end of the day my husband's bloody makeup had run to such an extent that he was earning shocked, guarded second looks from people. The kid took along her fake arm as a zombie snack.
Since the course ran the entire town and the outlying hills, the entire town was a parking lot. We eventually found a spot.
We did feel bad for this guy, who obviously hadn't remembered that wild horses had the run of the town. I'm willing to bet he suddenly realized it when he stepped out.
The houses in VC are mostly quirky.
And the sidewalks stay in character.
They had really neat posters showing various stops/landmarks that were along the course. Of course, Virginia City fairly drips with history anyway, but today they emphathized the spookier aspects.
The starting point of the run was in the center of town next to The Bucket of Blood Saloon. Runners had a launch time for their run printed on their number bib, they launched fresh batches of runners every 10 minutes.
People had fun team names & outfits. I got the feeling that some of them traveled around the country and did this kind of thing for a living.
This trio of Living Insane girls was amazing.
And let's just say right now that this little girl WON the day. She was a total hit with everyone, her doll was the clincher.
The loading area...
They'd enter here...
And each batch would be loaded into a cargo container. Locals who every day dress in 1800's character worked the event. The guns are real, loaded with blanks, and LOUD. As the runners were loaded into the container, they'd yell things like "Get your ass IN there!" and sternly shout at them that if they wanted to survive, they'd better pay attention. To add to the nervousness and apprehension of the runners, the people outside would shout, scream and bang on the container. The participants got the whole treatment!
A countdown buzzer would sound. The costumed westerners were taking aim at the waiting pack of zombies and would fire on them as sirens wailed, the doors opened and the runners emerged. The two girls in red were throwing handfuls of red dust on the runners as well.
This is what awaited the runners. A quarter mile of zombies and Living Insane at the start, then a left turn out of town and into the hills. The spectators were cool and lined the streets and stayed out of the way, no barricades required.
Time to start running for your life...
The Deadpool team was hilarious. They'd run flailing their arms.
The Living Insane girl in the black dress & mask simply stood in the middle and stared at the guys with the guns, like a promise for later.
She was unsettling.
The westerners stayed marvelously in character the entire time and had their heroic posing down pat.
OK...you know how in horror movies there is always that *one person* who you know is a Star Trek Red Shirt? They are zombie fodder in a huge way, and if you have the misfortune to be trapped by them, your ass is as good as dead, too.
I'm looking you, person in the orange shirt/white hat cringing and plugging your ears on the right, there. The Zombie Apocalypse is NOT the time to wimp out over guns roaring in your ears, get your priorities straight and RUN, DUMMY!
But noooo, instead block the door and keep everyone behind you from surviving, forcing them to run around you.
Finally running, ears still covered though. Oh well, you know what they say: You don't have to be fast, just faster than the other guy.
The shooters do their job and a few zombies are felled...
...making it possible for most of the pack to escape.
As they get away, the zombies & Living Insane regroup for the next batch.
At this point we decided to relocate up the street a bit. We stood behind a barricade where the course took a sharp left, so I could safely take pictures and we wouldn't get trampled.
Looking back down the street, the runners will emerge from the right at the far end. The zombie gauntlet awaits as the siren sounds and shots are fired.
Here they come!
Checking to make sure he still has his flags...
Suddenly, a volunteer zombie lurches out of the crowd!
...and meekly lurches back again.
People laughed and ran around him.
We left the main street and drove around a bit to explore the course. Red arrows marked the way for the runners. Zombies & Living Insane spotted the course here and there, cheerfully waving to us.
As the course ran out into the hills, the rest stations popped up. Free water/beer!
As the runners left this station, they had to run up the dirt roads into the hills, where we could not follow in the car.
Refreshments sounded good to us, so we stopped for burgers & root beer floats. After that, it was time for us to leave Virginia City for the day.