Last week, I participated in the first run of The Walking Dead Escape: San Diego. For those that missed out on our earlier coverage, Petco Park was taken over and converted into a Walking Dead-themed obstacle race. We posted the first photos from the event last week, and I wanted to offer my impressions, along with more photos and video.
Adventure or obstacle course races have exploded over the last few years. It went from a handful across the country to hundreds each year. There is currently a zombie 5k that is touring across the country, but what makes this different is that The Walking Dead Escape is designed for anyone to participate in.
As you can see in the video and photos below, everyone is grouped together at the start in a quarantine zone, when zombies break out. The goal of the race is to not only complete the obstacles and get to the end, but to avoid getting touched (or infected) by the dozens of zombies spread across the course. At the end, a medical team investigates you to see if you've been infected or if you survived the outbreak.
What you get out of this course is based on what you put into it. For example, someone could literally walk through the course, skip the obstacles, and not care if they get touched by zombies. However, if you really get into it and treat this like a real zombie outbreak, you'll find yourself having fun running, dodging, climbing, and jumping away from zombies.
For those that don't feel like surviving the zombie apocalypse, you could also choose to be a walker and it will be your job to catch humans in your way. All of the zombies were made up by Greg Nicotero's KNB EFX and you could pay extra to be a zombie hero and get enhanced zombie makeup.
This was the first run of The Walking Dead Escape and I think it is something that will continue to improve over time. While I didn't have any issues with the course, I feel like some of the scares, zombie placement, and implementation of story elements from The Walking Dead universe are things that can be perfected for future events. I really enjoy haunted attractions and would love to see a bit more of a haunted attraction/adventure race hybrid, especially considering the material. While not definite, I know that other locations are a possibility and we'll let people know as soon as anything is official.
Overall, I had a great time at The Walking Dead Escape: San Diego as a way to experience the zombie apocalypse with a group. I feel that this is great for a group of any athletic level to go in, test their survival plan, and have fun together.
Here is our entire collection of photos from the event, plus a video segment from Kristian Hanson, who ran the race with me during the first wave. If you look through all of the pictures or watch the video, keep an eye out for Robert Kirkman, Glen Mazzara, Charlie Adlard, and others who are part of The Walking Dead:
**Note: There are some quality issues with the default setting. If able, switch to the 1080 version of the video by clicking on the gear icon above.