A new zombie horde rises, hungry for the packs of humans that flee in a desperate fight to see another day. This isn't a vision of a postapocalyptic future—it happens every fall at the Zombie Run Challenge, an event in which participants dressed as zombies chase down human competitors in a race for both survival and top prizes. After registering, competitors separate into the two factions, each with separate goals. In the course of up to two hours, zombies attempt to turn humans by capturing the flags attached to their belts. The living, in turn, try to complete challenges at four–five checkpoints, taking momentary refuge or healing at outposts scattered throughout the woods. All the while, a group of volunteer mercenaries armed with foam darts hunts down the undead attackers. Before the race begins, the special-effects gurus at Gregory F/X will provide zombie makeup to participants in exchange for a donation—100% of which goes to charity and won't be used to buy the zombies fresh brains at the local deli.
In association with Myers Park Presbyterian Church, Myers Park Wellness Center invites people of all ages and backgrounds into its facility to work out their minds, bodies, and spirits. Exercisers looking to shed a few pounds or simply stay in shape can lift weights, shoot hoops on the basketball court, or sweat side-by-side with their peers during fitness classes that include Pilates, yoga, and spinning. Sessions with a personal trainer guide visitors toward their fitness goals, and massage therapy soothes their muscles after intense workouts. The wellness center also hosts plenty of activities for youngsters, including basketball clinics, golf lessons, and extreme-sports camps.
A Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, the Charlotte Knights develop budding professional ballplayers and earn devout Knights fans in their home—the 10,002-seat Knights Stadium. The Knights have a storied history and an impressive list of orb-striking alumni, including Cal Ripken Jr., Manny Ramirez, and Jon Garland. Visitors take home free giveaways during Friday-night promotions, and mascot Homer the Dragon roams the stadium on his four-wheeler, tossing T-shirts, bopping people with his tail, and advocating for anthropomorphized-dragon civil liberties.
Benchwarmers Sports Complex helps athletes stay off the bench with a wide range of training facilities. Four pitching tunnels transform string bean arms into powerful cannons, while two automated batting cages and three live arm cages allow hurled baseballs to hone swings, instead of inflated puffer fish, which will just hone your fear of seafood restaurants. Elsewhere, its basketball court boasts adjustable rims and a gigantic electronic scoreboard, and its indoor turf fields feature granular rubber infill to support players as they work up a sweat during games of baseball, football, soccer, and lacrosse.