Camp Gladiator founder Ally Davidson’s childhood obsession with the outdoors and sports led her to pursue a degree in exercise physiology. After her 2008 win on the TV show American Gladiators, Ally decided to share her love of fitness with the world at large. Camp Gladiator reflects Ally's passion for fitness in its mission, which espouses their desire "to positively impact the physical fitness and ultimately the lives of as many people as possible." Her boot camps have since expanded to 13 U.S. cities, with each hosting multiple training locales. The upbeat staff of certified trainers lead patrons of all ages and fitness levels through four-week outdoor boot camps, earning Camp Gladiator a Hot Spot title from Women's Health magazine's Fitness Awards in 2013, Best Boot Camp from Rare magazine in 2010, Best of Big D 2010–2013 from D magazine, and Best Outdoor Boot Camp 2012 from Austin Fit magazine.
While some runners run for glory, self-discovery, or a personal best, participants in the Walking Dead Run 5k Adventure Race run for their lives. Guests surmount obstacles and duck and weave down dirt paths as they try to protect an affixed flag from two types of zombies: Stumblers and Chasers. The former ambles menacingly, and the latter sprints; both types sport grotesque makeup and drip fake blood as they hunt racers, trying to tear the flags from their flag-football belts. At the untimed race’s finish line, participants dust themselves off before a post-race party, complete with beer, food, and live music. Proceeds from the race go toward supporting the North Texas Food Bank.
The inspiring trainers at each MetaBody location lead troops of workouteers in results-oriented workouts several times weekly. Sweat sessions utilize a variety of exercises and disciplines to produce full-body results in a supportive environment, ideal for beginners and hard-core core-hardeners alike. During any class, motivational instructors will use the instinctual distrust of routine to their advantage. Begin a day of litigating with a refreshing early-morning boot-camp session, or wind down by burning evidence and pounds with a late-evening yoga class. Muscles are kept guessing with new and challenging moves during each session, so participants never fall into a boring, ineffective routine, such as regular teeth brushing. In addition to the fitness classes, students receive a success guide to help prepare for imminent pound loss, a nutrition guide, and a $100 gift certificate for individual coaching. Because the pass sets a 10-class cap at any given location, roving fitness mavens can further shake up their workout regimens by vetting a series of classes or instructors that work best for them.
Clean running clothes have no place at Mighty Mud Dash, a 5K-challenge course that beckons runners of all fitness levels to plunge through stretches of mud in search of glory. Friendly competition is encouraged as waves of runners forge a path through more than 20 rugged, slippery obstacles—including wall climbs, cargo net-covered crawls, 30-yard mud-filled trenches, and a sprawling tarp slide.
Though the main race is only open to competitors age 14 and older, a scaled-down 100-yard obstacle dash welcomes children as young as 6 to test their agility and endurance. After the competition, participants gather for celebration and music at the post-race party, where they can rinse off or roll all over an expensive white velour sofa to a soundtrack of upbeat tunes. A portion of the proceeds from the event benefit the work of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, a non-profit organization working to conserve Texas's natural resources like its hunting and fishing grounds.
In order to escape a pack of zombies, it’s helpful to know the strengths and weaknesses of each cannibal in the horde. DFW Zombie Run equips its participants with this type of knowledge, as well as the training that may be necessary for survival in the unlikely event of a zombie apocalypse.
During DFW Zombie Run’s obstacle runs, four types of zombies chase down racers, trying to snag the four health flags worn on the racers’ belts. Among zombies, there are walkers, who “simply walk around looking for an easy meal,” and then there are runners, who are “starving, ferocious, and incredibly fast,” according to the site. Transition zombies occupy the middle ground: they may look like harmless, sleep-deprived milkmaids, but can be unexpectedly triggered to hunt viciously like their runner brethren. Finally, there are creepers who lurk in narrow spaces.
As runners traverse 3K, 5K, or 7K obstacle courses, they dodge all types of zombies in a quest to keep their health flags and gain eligibility for cash prizes. Zombies and racers only interact via flag—there’s no other touching allowed. Zombies are limited to snagging one flag per runner, and runners are limited to using their feet and hands for locomotion.
According to founder Jeff, a passion for “amusement parks, thrill rides, and fitness” inspired the creation of DFW Zombie Run. He also cited “a love for action, adventure, and horror movies.”
The D4L 5K Zombie Mud Run challenges its participants to think the unthinkable: “Could I survive a zombie apocalypse?” Throughout the 5K mud-slicked course, only the savviest runners will maintain their humanity, dodging hordes of the undead and navigating strength- and agility-testing obstacles. Runners start with three flags that represent their life force. Those who can keep at least one flag safe from the zombies’ corpsey clutches remain human, and those who lose them all make the harrowing transformation into a brain-hungry zombie. But the D4L 5K Zombie Mud Run is more than a grueling race; it’s also an attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the largest zombie gathering on Earth.
After the race, every participant’s name is entered in a drawing for the grand prize—a trip for two to Las Vegas—and event hosts dole out speed prizes to those with at least one flag remaining. Zombies also compete for a set of undead awards and strut very, very slowly in a zombie beauty pageant.