Escape the Nightmares 5k was originally scheduled for December 21 – 4 days before Christmas. I signed up in October, in the midst of horror fun, but as Halloween came to a close and Christmas carols started filling my ears, I started to get a little less excited about a Horror Holiday Race (?). Needless to say, I was a little relieved when I received the email that the race was postponed to February.
The race rolls around, and Lauren (+1) didn’t feel that this would be the best activity to participate in, and Deanna was wrecked after a whole week of sales meetings. So I enlisted my last trainee, Jess (who had just returned from a month in Australia) and my horror guru/makeup artist/best friend Madeline (who also did the Drenched 5k with me) to help me Escape the Nightmares.
We arrived a little early, expecting to see a line of cars to follow for parking instructions. When we didn’t, we thought we were lost and that we’d ask some of the staff at the front of the Fairplex to tell us where to go. They informed us that we were in the right place, and to pay them $10 and drive through a virtually empty parking lot (is it spooky yet?). We managed to find a group of other cars and made our way into the horse track, where we saw a couple of tents, food trucks, some creepy music was playing and we could hear bloodcurdling screams (how about now?).
We registered and received our “monster repellant” LED flashing necklaces, which were supposed to tell the monsters not to bother us. Madeline and I opted out (we like to be scared).
Jess set up her GoPro as we attached our bibs and took some pictures, wandering around aimlessly looking for the starting line. We saw a group of about 10-15 people at the other end of the track near some ropes, so we headed over and discovered that yep, that was the starting line. (If you’re a new race, please don’t have wave times. It really “thins the herd,” so to speak.)
The Pros of the Escape the Nightmares 5k:
- The theme had promise. With a little more production and organization, it could have been really cool, and not something we’ve ever seen before.
- The staff was really friendly and helpful, and the spooky masks were an added bonus. Having friendly staff at an event is such a big plus!
- The volunteers along the course were really fun; in particular one volunteer who ran alongside us (stay tuned for the vide0). The hoodies and masks also helped the overall creepy feel of the event.
The Cons of the Escape the Nightmares 5k:
- The course was both a pro and a con. We got to run through some creepy stables, an old west town and through a wooded area, all while creepy music was playing and loud screams could be heard. We did hear when we arrived at the finish line that, due to poor race directions, we missed an entire clown area of the course. Bummer! They said we could run the course again but we opted to head out for some bomb ass Thai food.
- The race instructions said that to avoid the monsters you could hide from them, and that they’d be marking you with pens that would glow under a black light when you crossed the finish line to see if you survived. There were hardly any monsters and there were no pens or a black light at the finish. Not sure what this was due to…on the same note, there also weren’t enough monsters!!
- There were no obstacles! Booooooo.
- An issue we had with Fustercluck as well – a note that all new races should take – Don’t have so many wave times! Too many waves and not a large turnout = sparsely populated race. In this case, that may have been the point because we were running by ourselves for a good portion of the race, which did make it creepier.
- This race should be held in October to capture the excitement of Halloween; having it either near Christmas or Valentine’s Day just seemed off-season.
Overall, we really liked the theme of it and think that with a little more production and planning, this race has a lot of potential. We would love to offer our thoughts to the race director and would be excited to help make this event better next time!
Here’s a cool video from one of the runners – check it out!