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Runners brave mud, oil and the ‘undead’ in Aurora Zombie Invasion 5k

Blackberry Farm will be invaded by zombies Sept. 21 when Fox Valley Park District hosts its second Zombie Invasi5K. Registratideadline

Blackberry Farm will be invaded by zombies Sept. 21 when the Fox Valley Park District hosts its second Zombie Invasion 5K. Registration deadline is Sept. 12. | Sun-Times Media file photo

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Updated: November 8, 2012 11:41AM

Well, I think we all knew that I had little hope of surviving the zombie apocalypse.

Lest you think that training for such an eventuality is silly — mind you, I’ve made zombie preparedness a priority this year — the CDC maintains an admittedly tongue-in-cheek web page devoted to the possibility.

This spring, I learned to shoot a gun for the first time, thanks to Geneva-based proprietor of Manticore Arms, Sven Jonsson. I did manage to nick a zombie target on the ear, but that hardly counts as a kill-shot.

But everybody knows that those in the best cardiovascular condition are the humans most likely to survive when the undead rise.

Which is why I was so pleased to join with a few other hundred runners Friday evening in the Fox Valley Park District’s Zombie Invasion 5k Run.

The event, staged at Blackberry Farm, drew hundreds of runners of all ages and a few dozen zombies, largely in their teens and twenties, I noticed, but let’s face it — when the zombie invasion does finally happen, it will be my generation, too distracted by their phones to notice a risen shambler, that will be most at risk of getting bitten themselves.

Volunteers showed up early to transform into the walking dead, some convincingly, with glassy eyes, bloody wounds and severed limbs.

But the hordes of risen undead chasing runners constituted only one of the obstacles along the 5k trail. In between running for my life alongside my teammates, I crawled through mud, slid over oil slicks and fell into a creek during my dash to safety.

Whether a runner survived the infection depended on whether zombies managed to steal flag football-style brain-flags from the runners, and while only one in my team of five lived, I am proud to say that I made a decent showing by surviving the first mile, then took advantage of the scenery of the delightful Blackberry prairie fields and pioneer village.

Should a true undead virus ever infect Aurora, I’m sorry to say we’ll be in a sad state of affairs. Just 65 of the 200 racers who started survived to the end.

But I was heartened to see the teamwork and camaraderie that developed quickly on the course. Which is good, because experts agree that tight-knit communities like ours are essential to faring well in disasters — be it an earthquake or pandemic of the undead.

Tight-knit communities. And cardio.

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