Team Zombie Run


Learn2 designed the obstacle course for The Running Dead: Toronto Zombie Run – a 5km obstacle challenge on October 27th in the Riverdale East Park in Toronto. The vision created a community-building event where participants actively collaborated with other participants to keep everyone “alive” and safe during the team zombie run.

The importance of being responsible for others has never been as high and the Zombie concept allows for a natural “enemy” to promote collaboration between participants.

The general storyline goes as follows: A unique virus has been unleashed and is quickly spreading throughout the city. Those infected have adopted a shuffled, directionless pace and developed a hunger for brains. Those uninfected are frantic and strategizing how to stay alive. The zombie apocalypse has begun!

The concept for this team zombie run came to life from a love of zombie culture combined with the idea that teamwork, communication and fitness are the ultimate survival tools. The run concept was simple. Participants have 3 lives (represented by a flag football belt and removable flags). There was absolutely no contact between Zombies and Humans. Human participants had to avoid zombies while being faced with obstacles such as being linked together, performing CPR, solving riddles, collecting body parts and getting lost in the woods, in order to collect immunization stamps after successfully completing obstacles to protect them from the Zombie virus. Participants worked together to get through alive (by protecting their flags) and worked together to bring each other back from the dead – hence Undead.

Learn2 created obstacles which provided runners with a unique challenge involving either a mental, physical or combination task. More than half of these required the formation of a 4-8 person team. By designing team based obstacles, the solo mentality of running a race is replaced by moving together as a group. The idea of every-man-for-themselves becomes protecting each other to make it out alive.

Some of the more popular challenges relied heavily on strong teamwork. The first team obstacle, The Weakest Link, required teams of 8 humans to link together using hoola hoops and make it around the zombie-infested track without breaking apart. Groups held on for dear life, with some even running through water to keep their lives safe. Further down the road was Hells Bells, which had teams transport a rattling tambourine through a gauntlet of sound-sensitive zombies. Groups threw, bounced and passed their tambourine amongst each other to divert zombie swarmings and get to the end of the obstacle. At Zombie Picnic, teams had to visit zombie-filled picnic sites, scattered along a large, grassy incline, to retrieve body parts. Communication was required of each team to ensure that four different items were found in order to complete the challenge.

Although most human participants showed up in pairs or smaller groups, the teams formed at obstacles tended to stick together throughout the rest of the course. ‘Where’s my team?’ was commonly heard throughout areas like The Lost Woods, when individuals were likely to break away to avoid zombies. The idea of working together to survive caught on as a natural instinct. Crossing the finish line with a team was cause for a celebration and invited an overall sense of community.

All images courtesy of the Globe & Mail



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