The Walking Dead Escape 2014… aka Nerds vs Zombies!

Nerds vs Zombies - The Walking Dead Escape - San Diego Comic-Con 2014 1

I think that by now it is clear that nerds shall inherit the earth.

But if that is true we might be in trouble because, in a lot of survival situations, I am pretty sure zombies > than most nerds!

The Dilemma

We geeks are often faced with an unfortunate dilemma when attempting to go from geek to real-life superhero.

Our hobbies are numerous, but rarely conducive to building a body fit for heroic adventures. We spend our time:

  • Reading comics
  • Playing video and role-playing games
  • Programming
  • Watching movies
  • Trolling the Internet

Then we have the social commitment associated with those hobbies as well:

  • Arguing about the latest issue of our favorite comics
  • Guild raiding
  • Project deadlines
  • Midnight showings
  • All those people on the Internet that need to be trolled

So even though we might know, deep in our hearts, that eating right and exercising is something we should be doing, we are often fearful of not only adding a new time commitment to our schedule, but also the simple fact that it these things are foreign and unknown.

I have said multiple times before (and I will keep saying it I’m sure) that you don’t have to leave your geeky hobbies and interests behind to get healthy and in-shape!

There are so many ways to merge fitness into your geeky lifestyle… and today we are going to talk about The Walking Dead Escape as just one of those ways you can get out and do something physical without being bored in a gym

So load your crossbow; we are about to open the door to a fun, alternative fitness opportunity!

Nerds vs Zombies - The Walking Dead Escape - San Diego Comic-Con 2014 2

Rule #17 – Don’t Be a Hero

Any geek worth his salt has already spent hours discussing what they would do in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, and more than likely already has at least part of their zombie killing team all picked out.

But how many have actually put themselves to the test to see if they could be the hero in their own version of The Walking Dead? I mean it’s great to sit around and pontificate about which weapon has better zombie-murdering merit, the shotgun or the machete, but unless you’ve been acclimating your body to the rigors of fleeing for your life there’s a good chance you might end up as lunch for the recently undead!

So how exactly can you start to prepare yourself? Let’s take a look at a few of the cardinal rules of Zombieland and see!

Rule #1 – Cardio: This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you are slow, or if you get tired fast, you will be zombie food! So buy a pair of running shoes and get to running… we offer some great tips for beginners, but to really get yourself in the mood, I can’t recommend Zombies, Run! enough!

It is an immersive game for your smart phone that mixes story with your own music playlist, dynamic radio messages and voice recordings while including aspect of base-building and resource collection. You can play at your own pace, but those who want a serious workout can enable thrilling zombie chases that force you to speed up to escape the horde! It is a genius idea, and I wish I thought of it first!

Rule #18 – Limber Up: Last thing you want when fleeing from a horde of teeth-clacking walkers is to pull a hamstring! Sitting all day at our computer destroys our hips, legs and lower backs… and if we aren’t properly stretching out our muscles on a regular basis, both after a long day of sitting or following a solid round of strength training, there is a good chance our stiff muscles will betray us when we need them most; also being limber will help you contort yourself into small hiding spots if necessary. Bonus!

So make sure you are keeping up to date with your stretching.

Rule #29 – The Buddy System: No-one survives on their own in the zombie apocalypse. No-one. It’s also a rare bird that can complete their Heroes’ Transformation all alone either. It takes super-heroic levels of willpower to stay on track, even with an accountabilibuddy, so why not stack the deck as far in your favor as possible by having a support system in place?

Go out and find a few friends who have similar goals and team up to provide each other a support group. After working together to help each other live a healthier lifestyle and get fit it should be a walk in the park watching each others backs and making sure no-one gets their brains eaten by ravenous zombies.

But even after putting those basic protocols into place in your life, how do you really know how you will fare?

Will you be more Daryl Dixon or T-Dog? There is only one way to find out!

Enter the Walking Dead Escape

Nerds vs Zombies - Walking Dead Escape - Zombie Bruce Lee

I can’t say enough good things about The Walking Dead Escape.

The range of participants is always all over the proverbial map. You will see all types of fresh meat survivors waiting to tackle the mile-long obstacle course. Everything from screaming groups of teenage girls, to cos-players, to middle-aged guys dressed in jeans and t-shirts to free-runners wearing top of the line shoes and strapped with Go-Pros. This is seriously an event that anybody can participate in and enjoy.

There is no time. There are no winners or losers. There are only those who survive, and those who don’t.

The best part about it though is that it doesn’t matter if you make a tactical error when you run into your first pack of flesh-eating zombies or manage to run the entire thing unscathed. You all start together and you all finish it together, regardless of whether or not someone gets infected.

The staff do a tremendous job at crafting the perfect atmosphere to make you forget you are going to be running and climbing over obstacles for a half hour, starting with corralling you all together in a tight mass to begin the narrative outside the course.

There’s usually a solid 10 minutes between when you all come together and the madness starts so this is a perfect place to get your game plan down with your friends, or to align yourself with new people to throw in front of zombies to save yourself run the course with.

Meet new friends and increase the number of meat-shields between you and certain death? Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

Nerds vs Zombies - Walking Dead Escape - Zombie Killing Team

Remember, it’s always the one who says “let’s split up to explore” that gets eaten first!

If you’re going to be part of a small group of people who outlasts the human race, survival will be far more likely if you work as a team.  So use this as a training exercise! Watch each other’s backs and work together to get past the obstacles and stay alive.

There will be no confusion once the event starts… okay, scratch that. There will be a lot of confusion the moment the event actually starts, which is one of my personal favorite things about it. There is no slow ratcheting up of the danger and tension, it gets started with a bang and doesn’t let up! Remember those teenaged girls I mentioned earlier? Yeah, this is where they start screaming (and a lot of them don’t stop).

After that initial surge of fear and adrenaline you will quickly fall into smaller packs as you spread out through the course. Remember, the goal isn’t to get to the end fastest… it is to survive!

Nerds vs Zombies - Walking Dead Escape - Hardcore Parkour

Use the environment to your advantage!

Unless you live in the Midwest, the zombie apocalypse probably isn’t going to afford you the opportunity to just run in a flat, straight line to safety; the same goes for The Walking Dead Escape!

While the obstacles aren’t immense, or too daunting,  there are definitely some barriers that you’ll have to conquer in order to evade infection. Fences, walls, barrels, traffic barriers and burned out cars are just some of the things that are going to be between you and escape. You need to be prepared for anything (every course is different and they change each year) because things are going to get a little crazy for you and your team as the hordes of undead barrel down on you.

Hopefully when our zombie overlords take over the world they will be less “28 Days Later” and more “Night of the Living Dead“, but either way the one constant seems to be that zombies are really, really dumb.

The more “things” that you can put between you and them, the more likely it is you will survive. In order to have the best chance for success during the event, you’re going to want to tackle these obstacles with some speed and finesse.

Employing some basic parkour will definitely boost your survival rate, as well as ratcheting up the intensity of the workout you are getting. Vaulting over small barriers, rolling in between attacking zombies or running over cars will definitely improve your chances (not to mention being super fun for the spectators to watch). No wall-running or backflips necessary!

Note: The Walking Dead Escape is great about setting up obstacles. I keep stressing that this course is for everyone, and I mean it! There is always a way around for those who aren’t up for climbing over or crawling under things.

The coolest thing about this event?

Not only can you give it your best shot as a survivor or a blood-thirsty zombie, you can buy an all day pass and do both! Run it once and then return to terrorize waves of unknowing wanna-be survivors for the rest of the day! How cool is that?

Anyway, this year I followed my own advice and brought a buddy to the San Diego event; here is how it went!

Still Too Scary?

Does that seem like a bit too much for you right now?

No worries; there are other zombie-based activities that you can use to motivate yourself to get up and moving! Zombie walks have quickly been gaining popularity over the last few years, and they are popping up everywhere.

Instead of binge watching another George Romero triple-feature, why not zombie-fy yourself and then go for a long walk with hundreds of your closest undead friends? You get to:

  • Get out of the house and move around
  • Enjoy some fresh air
  • Have fun turning yourself into a frightening creature
  • Meet a ton of like-minded people all into the same thing

It could not be more of a win-win situation!

So whatever it is that gets you on your way to surviving the impending zombie apocalypse (be it the Zombies, Run! app, The Walking Dead Escape or just a good old-fashioned zombie walk) I am all for it!

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Favorite zombie movie? Let’s chat about it in the comments below!

Also check out our YouTube channel (if you want access to our Nerd-Core Fitness exercise videos), follow me on Twitter, and like us on Facebook and Google+ (there is content on both not available here on the site.) There are so many different ways for you to get your daily dose of Jerdly goodness so don’t miss out!

(Photo #3 credit,Photo #4 credit) 

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9 replies
  1. kemeah
    kemeah says:

    Running is my least favorite way to work out, but this defiantly sounds like a good way to make it more fun! This article also reminded me that there are zombie 5Ks in my local area, I may have to look into them.

    • TheJerd
      TheJerd says:

      I hate running, but anytime I do one of these I completely forget about the fact I am running and get lost in the experience. Such a great way to trick yourself!

  2. Mike @
    Mike @ says:

    That video is getting me so pumped for next weekend when I run the Zombie Trail Run! I don’t think it will be as cool, but I’m sure I’ll have a lot of fun!


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