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OutdoorNI Does…Jungle NI’s Charity Zombie Run

Posted on September 22, 2015 @ 11:07 AM in Adventure

Imagine being chased through fields, rivers and mud over fences and through graveyards by flesh eating zombies…no I’m not describing your worst nightmare but the Jungle NI’s unique and daring 5K Charity Obstacle Run.  With three lives to protect runners must make it to the finish line with as many lives as possible intact all whilst negotiating a range of obstacles along the way.

Having never ran the length of myself never mind 5k the incentive of being chased by zombies seemed like the only plausible way I could complete my first ever run. With that in mind it was this time last year that I somehow found myself standing at the start line with a mix of terror, excitement and adrenaline pumping through me.  I was always under the impression that I couldn’t run if my life depended on it so you could say this was to be the ultimate test!

Zombie Run Jungle NI

If there was ever a time to whip out and wear pumpkin balaclavas this was it! So along with two of my colleagues we headed to the Jungle NI in Moneymore, Co. Derry~Londonderry on an uncharacteristically sunny Sunday morning last October. The operations on the day were slick from start to finish with no mad queues at registration and plenty of water and treat filled goody bags handed out.  As we got prepared and chilled out in the onsite purpose built barn and coffee shop I noticed there was a varied mix of people waiting to take part from competitive crossfit teams to charity runners and those there just to have a bit of a laugh which put first time runners like me at ease.

It wasn’t long before we were gathered together in a grassy field for a quick safety briefing before the living dead (soon to turn against us!) lead an energetic warm up to zombie themed music that would have made even Mr. Motivator jealous and added to the fun atmosphere of the event.  A number of star jumps and burpees later we were set of in heats to avoid funnel necks at the obstacles.

Zombie run

As we set off the adrenalin was really pumping as not only did we not know what to expect but we didn’t know where or when the zombies would be lurking.  The start of the course went through a field where everyone jogged, ran or walked depending on if they wanted to preserve their energy / how fit they were.  After a quick dip in a muddy river the precedence of the course was set – if you don’t like getting your trainers dirty then this is definitely not the run for you! After this the obstacles kept coming as we attempted to scale fences using the only male in our team as a human ladder before leaving him to fend for himself as we reached the other side.  Next came the balance beams (where I found out mine was non-existent) and monkey bars - surprisingly a lot harder when you’re not 5 and have your dad to hold you up.  In a cruel twist of events as we ran up and down rolling hills zombies were waiting for us at the top just as energy reserves were running low so it was a case of tactile ducking and diving or my particular favourite defence mechanism of using the person in front as a human shield.

Jungle NI

The pace soon slowed down as we made our way through the muddy forest nervous to speed ahead in case something was lurking round the next tree. It was at this point that my selfish survival instinct really kicked in as I pushed my team mates ahead of me.  A connoisseur of terror the Jungle NI is transformed every Halloween for their popular Fight Night event so the props littered across the site from its hill top graveyard where zombies lurked behind tombstones to cornfield scarecrows really added an extra edge to the event. 

Challenge run NI

Half way through the course it wasn’t long until the inevitable happened and I lost all my lives confirming the fact that I would most likely not survive a zombie apocalypse.  Determined to keep going (I literally had nothing else to lose!) I decided to finally take one for the team and act as a zombie distraction for my other team mates who still had lives left.  The authenticity of the zombies really made the event; not only was the makeup and clothing fantastic but the commitment of the actors definitely didn’t go unnoticed, some of which were definitely worthy of being cast in Dawn of the Dead.  We even met one post-race who due to his enthusiasm had pulled a muscle from contorting his body all day!  The course came to a climax with a field swarming with zombies determined to take whatever lives were left.  We made it through to find that the best had most definitely been saved to the last with a giant slip and slide down the zorbing hill.  I couldn’t have had a bigger smile on my face as I went down the water chute that could rival most waterparks with plenty of fairy liquid and water ensuring a fast flow.  After this it was the home straight to collect our blood dripping badass medals before chowing down guilt free on a giant hotdog with all the trimmings at the free of charge BBQ.  A fantastic way to end a fantastic morning.  With the local radio station on-site pumping the tunes and the sun still shining the atmosphere at the end was buzzing as we recounted our favourite bits, most epic falls and scariest zombies.

Jungle NI Zombie Run

Entry for this year’s event on Sunday 11th October is now open with booking available online at www.TheJungleNI.com.  The event costs £25 to enter with a donation from all entry fees going to Autism NI.  We DARE you to sign up!

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

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