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    Outbreak Mission in Intramuros mixes fear and fitness for 5,000 runners in zombie survival challenge

    Apr 6, 2014

    “RULE No. 2: Do not use your friends as human shields!” said the man in the camouflage uniform as he instructed a group of excited-looking people in running gear.

    This turned out to be the hardest rule to obey for participants in Outbreak Missions: Intramuros held within Manila’s historic Walled City last Saturday.

    Of the 5,000 people who signed up so they could be chased by the Undead in the survival challenge, no one wanted to be in the front or the rear of their respective groups soon as they see zombies waiting for them.

    Part fun run and live action adventure, Outbreak Missions took groups of 10 people who attempt to complete a specific mission, in this case finding a cure for a virus that turn people into flesh-eating monsters. Among the obstacles are 400 cast members dressed as zombies intent on grabbing their life flags, non-player characters who will either help or confuse them, and Intramuros itself. 

    The objective is pretty simple — to finish the course “alive” with at least one life flag remaining at the finish line.

    [Click here to view GALLERY]

    Runtertainment Inc., said their latest event in Manila picked up from the previous Outbreak Mission five months ago when 12,000 participants took part in the first event held at Filinvest in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. was among those invited to check out what has become a welcome addition to the running and fitness scene, an event that catered to horror genre fans and fitness buffs looking for something different to spice up their cardio regimen. 

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    “Judging by the screams we’ve heard, I can say that people got their history lesson loud and clear," said Angelo Cruz, managing director of Runtertainment Inc.

    Cruz is the brains behind Outbreak Manila, the zombie-infested race that started the trend locally. The race was inspired by the “Run For Your Lives” zombie run in the US.

    Portions of the events’ proceeds were also for the benefit of the preservation efforts of Intramuros. Travel and culture advocates Ivan Henares, Ivan Man Dy and Carlos Celdran were present during the event. Celdran, the current head of Manila’s tourism in city hall, participated in full make-up and in a bunny costume.

    “The most amazing and coolest thing ever done in Intramuros... Please do this every year!” said Celdran, who has gained fame for his ‘Walk This Way’ guided tours. 

    Participants were divided into several ‘waves’ that proceeded every 30 minutes from 9pm to midnight.

    Due to the uneven ground and the lack of lights in certain paths, several people figured in accidents, requiring the assistance of medical teams and marshals.

    Even though there were no zombies as we traveled on top of the walls, the uneven surface and dimly lit portions presented hazards to the unwary.

    The NPCs were professional and stuck to their designated roles of either helping or hindering the participants. 

    But the real stars of the show were the zombies. Some were dressed in Spanish colonial era costumes such as Katipuneros, soldiers and a Maria Clara to fit with the historic location. Several were inspired by movie characters such as Chucky the evil doll, Ghost Rider and Wolverine. Some would run, others would sneak up from behind and a good number would even agree to a selfie before grabbing a life flag or two.

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    Most of the participants were satisfied with the event although a few offered some observations and suggestions.

    Outbreak Missions veteran Shanks Madrilejos felt “there was too much walking… and too little zombies and tasks. The only new things were the light effects. And the hunt for ingredients? That sucked nothing was left for the last wave. And the worst part was the stuck up at the finish line. Not only was it crowded but the smoke was terrible. I had my friends to come along and this was their first ... Even though I have these comments they still had fun. I just wanted them to enjoy this to the max, like I did in Filinvest. Hoping the next event would be better. Please more zombies and tasks!”

    “Yes, this is more of a walkathon than a high pressure run. Ideal for first timers but not necessarily for more experienced ones. Would've been better if there were more running on the streets, but then, Intramuros is also residential, and it's not practical to disturb the peace of the sleeping residents. I enjoyed it just the same,” Nina Suzette Lim added.

    Judy Malabanan of Runtertainment stressed that Outbreak Missions is not merely a running event since participants are required to think fast on their feet as they try to make the correct decisions in order for them to finish the challenge successfully. 

    “During the last event we got nervous after we saw that most of the finishers were quiet. As they drew nearer we realized they were talking and analyzing their performance. They were really into it,” she said. 

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    Some observations from your writer:

    1. When you are chased by people playing zombies. For some reason, your mind simply refuses to differentiate the difference and simply screams, "Zombies! You gotta run!" 

    2. Guys who would use their girlfriends as shields. This is no way to survive, folks.

    3. The term 'Horde' can also mean a bunch of fellow, freaked out runners who can easily push-shove-trample you to the ground. Ouch.

    4. If you are capable of doing a 'zombie moan' you can scare a lot of high-strung people.

    5. This is a unique way to tour Intramuros which takes on a different character at the night-time.

    6. A game within a game is to spot celebrity zombies. And if you have the guts to try, take photos of said zombies.

    Among the sponsors of the Outbreak Missions are the Intramuros Administration, Department of Tourism, Heritage Conservation Society, Runtertainment, Summit Natural Drinking Water, Smart, 99.5 PLAY FM, Mogu Mogu, Booster C, Greenwich, Nestea, Impact High Performance, Whey protein, Makeup Design Academy,, Toby’s Sports, Cello’s Doughnuts, Gery’s Grill, The Coffee Bean & tea Leaf, Lactacyd White Intimate, Brooks, Runnr, Symbol Sciences, Burnwater ArtxDesign, The Aristrocrat,,, Hero,, MYX, Chalk Magazine,, Mellow 94.7, ClicktheCity and Speed Magazine. 

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