Become a Zombie

Words: Carol Willis, Race Director for Zombie Run South Africa ǀ Photos: pixbysuzi

Trail Running

The Zombie Run, a 5 km race course of gut-wrenching, blood-pumping, sweat-dripping fear, made a successful debut in South Africa on 7 July 2013, and will also be held on subsequent dates in coastal cities. It's the most exhilarating 5 km run of your life … if you survive.



This themed race is not your typical 5 km trail run, unless of course, your trail is infested with an army of marauding Zombies.


By using the popular zombie theme, Zombie Run South Africa creates a running narrative on a race course designed to simulate the Apocalypse, where participants either run through the course track as zombies, or as living zombie prey. Participants must run to safety, while dodging an imaginatively harrowing barrage of apocalyptic carnage. Professional, on-site, make-up artists will transform normal, everyday, warm-blooded runners into blood sucking, flesh eating zombies. If you survive, there is a gathering following the race.


Proceeds from each event will be donated to selected environmental charities and where possible, local suppliers have been used for race paraphernalia and gaming items. Thus far, R27,500 has been donated and shared between the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Carnivore Conservation Programme and Freeme Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.


I have always been intrigued by the Zombie Run concept, which has a huge following abroad, and decided to introduce the thrills of the themed run to South Africa and support charities that I am passionate about at the same time. I then contacted local companies for sponsorship, but most declined due to the unknown nature of the run and the high risk involved in supporting a first-time event. Undeterred, I took my idea to Facebook where it gained momentum and support from the public and local zombie enthusiasts, and even small businesses began to show their support. A Facebook voting war was also launched to encourage the public to vote for their city and spread the word. The final winner of the voting war was Cape Town and we are now planning our first coastal event.



So, what makes The Zombie Run so different to other racing events? The race really focuses on a story. Like a ride at a theme park, the race creates an alternate reality over an otherwise mundane experience. The focus is placed on runner or zombie experience, and a handful of obstacles designed not be a physical challenge but more of an obstruction to slow runners down, make them vulnerable to attack and generate more heart-pumping adrenalin.


Students from my event management class were used to assist with the launch event, and I have also assembled a team of professionals with many years of collective experience in running, trail running, race promotion, and live event production and marketing, to help bring the Zombie Run South Africa to more cities across the country.


So, for the most exhilarating 5 km run of your life, come and join us at one of the upcoming events and unleash the zombie in you.



For event tickets and information about Zombie Run South Africa, visit or Facebook:



31 August:
Zombie Geeks - The Twilight Run from 15h00. This event will be part of the Geekfest, a full-day festival at The Goldfields ShowGrounds in Bedfordview.


20 October:
Zombie Run Cape Town - venue to be advised.


30 November:
Zombie Run Durban - venue to be advised.