Zombies are the rage this summer. New television series like “The Walking Dead” and movies such as “Night of the Living Dead” (in 3d this time) are back in season.
In keeping up with the Zombie craze, two young friends created the idea of live races called “Run For Your Lives”. The race is an obstacle course and the goal is to make it to the finish line, before the zombies get you!
“Daniel Smith had run over hills, scrambled through streams and climbed over walls on a recent hot Saturday here, when he came face-to-face with his greatest obstacle yet: a field full of zombies.
He dodged through about 20 groaning, glassy-eyed antagonists with oozing facial wounds and streaks of red splattered across their clothes. “I felt like it was just nonstop sprinting for my life,” said the 18-year-old from nearby Yorktown. Mr. Smith, who runs high school track and cross-country, paid $87 for the privilege, while the zombies chasing him paid $25—and got a free makeup job and, for those over 21, a complimentary beer at the end of the race.
Obstacle-course races and zombie-themed events—from proms to marches to film festivals—have been spreading across the country like a flesh-eating bacteria. Now, a series of races called “Run For Your Lives” are bringing the two together. Runners wade through pools of fake blood, duck under electrified wires and try to avoid letting zombies steal their “health flags” worn on a belt around the waist. A runner with no flags left is ruled dead—or is it undead?—and isn’t eligible for awards at the end of the five-kilometer race. Crossing the finish line alive is no small feat: Only about 20% of racers make it with at least one of their three flags left… Reed Street Productions, a company based in White Marsh, Md., and formed by two friends in their 20s, is making a killing on the races.
It held its first race just last year near Baltimore and unexpectedly drew 12,000 people, the company said. It will hold a total of 13 similar events in cities from Boston to Los Angeles this year. The company said it expects revenue of $18.8 million this year, but declined to disclose its profits. Between 3,000 and 10,000 people participate in the races, with about 5,000 at the event here…Zombies in the “Run For Your Lives” races are split into two groups. “Chasers” run after racers to grab their flags, while “stumblers” are supposed to “crawl, shuffle, drag, or perform any other type of slow movement in order to horrify runners and take their flags,” according to instructions for zombies on the race website.
Mr. Packer, a 41-year-old software designer, was a chaser. He was resting in the shade when two men dressed as Elvis emerged on the path up ahead and began jogging toward him. He looked around as if sensing the presence of the Elvises, then reached out with his clawed hands and lurched toward them and two other runners, his back stiffly bent….Mr. Smith continued on to a maze, where he narrowly escaped a different chaser, and climbed over a cargo net. With the finish line in sight, the race had one more surprise for him—a low, electrified fence to crawl under. Mr. Smith dropped to his elbows and started pulling himself forward…”
This sounds like thrills, chills, and a good exercise workout, all rolled into one. Read the entire article for more of the adventure!
Level: Intermediate -Advanced
Language Skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: approximately 2 hours.
Materials: student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.
I. Pre-Reading Tasks
• Prediction: Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Have students read the title of the post, the title of the article, and analyze the photos. Next, have them make a list of words, and ideas they might find in this article.
II. While Reading Tasks
• Vocabulary-Word Inference
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary or thesaurus for assistance.
- Daniel Smith had run over hills, scrambled through streams and climbed over walls…
- …he came face-to-face with his greatest obstacle yet: a field full of zombies.
- He dodged through about 20 groaning, glassy-eyed antagonists…
- A runner with no flags left is ruled dead…and isn’t eligible for awards…
- They looked sort of demented…
- …formed by two friends in their 20s, is making a killing on the races.
- AMC Networks Inc.’s apocalyptic zombie drama…
- He …reached out with his clawed hands and lurched toward them.
- I looked up to look at the finish line and got zapped in the head…
- …a combination of exhaustion and dehydration caused adverse reactions in some runners.
• Word -Recognition
Directions: Students are to circle or underline the correct word or phrases from the article. Have them skim the article to check their responses.
- Daniel Smith had run over hills, scrammed/scrambled through streams and climbed over walls.
- He dodged through/though about 20 groaning, glassy-eyed antagonists.
- …facial wounds and streaks/steaks of red splattered across their clothes.
- Now, a serious/series of races called “Run For Your Lives” are bringing the two together.
- Runners wade through/thorough pools of fake blood, duck under electrified wires.
- Mr. Smith had managed to hold on to his flags through several close encountered/encounters with zombies…
- He dodged to the side/slide and into a shin-deep creek to pass them.
- Zombies preparing for the rats/race here lined up…
- Zombies in the Run For Your Lives races are split into two groups/groupies.
- Mr. Smith continued/continually on to a maze, where he narrowly escaped a different chaser…
• Reading Comprehension: Fill-ins
Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the article, have them complete the following paragraphs taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.
Mr. Smith, who ___high school___ and___, paid $87 for the___, while the zombies ___him paid $25—and got a free makeup job and, for those over 21, a complimentary beer at the end of the race.___ races and ___events—from proms to marches to film festivals—have been ___across the country like a___. Now, a series of races called “Run For Your Lives” are bringing the two together.
Runners ___through pools of___, duck under ___and try to ___letting zombies ___their “health flags” worn on a___ around the waist. A runner with ___left is ruled dead—or is it undead?—and isn’t___ for awards at the end of the five-kilometer race. Crossing the finish line alive is no small feat: Only about 20% of racers make it with at least one of their three flags left.
Mr. Smith had ___to hold on to his flags through ___close encounters with ___when he suddenly found his path blocked by a pair of female twins in checkered blue-and-white dresses, their faces___ and heads cocked to one side. “They looked sort of___,” he said.
several, zombies, steal, privilege, runs, belt, demented, avoid, track, no flags, eligible, cross-country, spreading, Obstacle-course, chasing, zombie-themed, managed, bruised, fake blood, flesh-eating bacteria, electrified wires, wade.
• Grammar Focus: Identifying Parts of Speech
Directions: Students are to identify the verbs in the following paragraph, then use as many of the terms as possible to write their own paragraph about zombies.
“He dodged through about 20 groaning, glassy-eyed antagonists with oozing facial wounds and streaks of red splattered across their clothes. “I felt like it was just nonstop sprinting for my life,” said the 18-year-old from nearby Yorktown…”I went for the wide-eyed, slobbering, drooling zombie growl,” said Mr. Packer. His startled targets leaped into a sprint down the path to escape.”
III. Post Reading Tasks
• Reading Comprehension Check
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
• WH-question format
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
• Essay Writing
Directions: Have students choose a topic and write an essay to share with the class. Review ESL Voices Modes of Essay Writing.
- The article states that “Between 3,000 and 10,000 people participate in the races, with about 5,000 at the event here.” Write an essay that provides reasons for so many people joining this type of event.
- Write an essay giving reason why you would (or would not) enjoy an event of this type.
- Some people like to be frightened. For example people like to ride on roller coasters 15-20 feet high in the air, then scream on the way down. People also like to visit “haunted” houses where deaths have occurred. Write an essay in which you describe other ways people might like to be frightened.
IV. Listening Activity: Video Clip: Video: How to Survive a Zombie Attack
Listen as you are given important instructions on what to do if you meet a zombie.
• While Listening Task: Multiple choice
Directions: Click on video to play. Students are to choose the correct response from the ones provided from the video.
1. How to Survive a Zombie Attack was a
a) compact disk
b) television show
c) video tape
2. During this instructional tape one thing you learned was
a) how to become a zombie
b) how to find shelter
c) how to play basketball
3. The first question explained was
a) what is a zombie?
b) what is a good book about zombies?
c) how to find a zombie?
4. A zombie has
a) cool clothes
b) sunken in eyelids, blood stained lips and clothes
c) several bicycles to ride
5. Activities zombies enjoy are
a) playing basketball
b) reading a newspaper
c) just walking around
6. Activities zombies do not enjoy are
a) biting people
c) playing basket ball, riding a bicycle, and reading the daily print
7. If you spot a zombie doing any of these things they probably are
a) not a zombies
b) having a good time
c) not having a good time
8. A good places to hide from a zombie is a
b) trash can
c) a house that is abandon
9. Good weapons to defend yourself from zombies are
b) bug repellent and work gloves
c) baseball bats, butcher knives, or hammers
10. How do you kill a zombie?
a) hitting them in the knees
b) hitting them in the head
c) using a lighter on them
• Post-Listening Tasks
Questions for Discussion
Directions:Place students in groups and have them make a list of questions they would like to ask the “actors” who created this video clip.
- Would you consider joining a zombie “acting” group? Think about the original article.
- Might this be a dangerous sport for some people? If so, explain in what way.
- In your opinion, will this new game ‘Run for Your Lives’ Races going to become popular in other countries?
Please come back again.