So, how's this for motivation? As you're running a race through the woods, flesh-eating zombies are right on your heels.
That's the concept for the first ever "Run For Your Lives" 5K race October 22 in Darlington. The Harford County race was started by childhood friends Ryan Hogan and Derrick Smith, who were looking to capitalize on the popularity of obstacle races and—of course—zombies.
"We came up with the name 'Run For Your Lives' first, but we needed something for people to run from," Smith says. "And this was during the first season of AMC's The Walking Dead, so zombies seemed perfect."
Smith predicts about 10,000 runners will show up to complete the 5K course, which is filled with 13 obstacles (like a crawl-through tube and climbing wall). This is all while hundreds of volunteers in zombie makeup and wardrobe try to "kill" the racers capture-the-flag style.
If the racers reach the finish line with no flags intact, their time is recorded, but they can't win awards for division or overall.
"We have a bunch of little twists throughout the race," Smith says. "While most courses are just one route, we have multiple ways for racers to reach the finish. It makes it more exciting."
Interest in the race, which is put on by Bel Air-based Reed Street Productions, has been steadily climbing, and they even received a massive overload of people wanting to be zombies. Smith also expects to sell out of participant tickets.
"What's cool is that we're making these races appealing to a zombie crowd," he says. "For a lot of them, this is their first time [running]. We're getting these video gamers off the couch and involved in exercise."
There is another reward at the finish line in the form of a zombie apocalypse party with drinking, live music, and games.
Smith and Hogan are already scouting new locations for the 2012 race, as it seems like the popularity of zombies isn't going anywhere soon.
"There's something about life, death, and what happens afterwards that piques people's interests," Smith said. "That's why the undead are so fascinating."