Hello to all!
Well, I didn't survive my escape from the slowly becoming infected Petco Park in San Diego Friday.
The event is flexible enough that you can be one of three roles: Survivor, Zombie, or Spectator. I participated as a survivor, meaning I was running the course while attempting to run away from zombies.
You start with a group of approximately 50 people, and you're briefed by a drill-seargent type who asks you to navigate the passageways of the park to get to the safe zone.
From there, you're immediately bombarded by people acting as zombies. Chasing you, popping up around corners, and generally taking swipes at you as you run through.
Now when I say 'run', I mean exactly that. You are RUNNING. There are many participants who bring knee pads, running shoes, and even athletic gear in order to make it through the event safely. I, on the other hand, showed up in my jeans and button-up collared shirt. From there, I hoped it wasn't going to be as intense as it seemed.
You essentially run up 3 or 4 flights of stairs to get to the top of the park, and slowly make your way down while avoiding zombies. There's sprinting, crawling, pick-and-rolls, squeezing through tight spots, climbing, and balancing a little on bridges with planks missing.
Even if you plan on taking your time, you have people screaming at you to hurry and zombies taking notice of you, so you end up treating it as an intense game of tag. One tag from any zombie, and you become infected, unable to enter the safe zone at the end.
A really cool part of the event is that the zombies have rules. For example, none of the zombies could turn quickly, and once they swiped at a person, they had limited ability to take another swipe at someone new. The best rule (and most advantageous), was that just like the show, they were attracted to sound. So if you banged on a trashcan lid, they'd come right to it and forget everyone else (except for the banger). Using that technique and some basic basketball fake-outs, you could get through 95% of the zombies. Unfortunately, there are just some of them who have your number.
While I felt I did fairly well (despite the burning muscles, the lack of air in my lungs, and the stitch in my side), I did end up infected, and was subsequently executed, receiving a red dot on my forehead indicating that I was killed.
Overall, it was a great experience. A mix between a haunted house, a game of tag, and an apocalyptic future. If you love zombies and are very interested in how you'd fare, I highly recommend it. Just remember, you don't have to be the fastest, you just have to be the fastest of the slow group. ;)