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The Jogging Dead

From fitness apps to Brad Pitt’s box-office win, the zombie invasion is speeding up

Author Jacqueline Detwiler Illustration Jan Kallwejt


People who have been staving off their cardio fanatic friends by reciting the old saw, “If you want me to run, you’ll have to find something to chase me,” might want to think again. Zombie-themed races and exercise apps like Zombies, Run! have been proliferating at a frightening rate. Popular culture, meanwhile, has been exploding with so-called “fast zombies.” See: World War Z. Wondering how these speedy zombies got so popular? Here are the stats.

  • 28 Days Later, oneof the first movies to include “fast zombies,” grossed $45,063,889 in the U.S. after it was released in 2002.
  • The best-selling zombie game in Capcom’s Resident Evil series is Resident Evil 5, which was released in 2009 and sold more than 6 million copies.
  • The National Post recently calculated that handguns have been responsible for 141 zombie deaths over the course of three seasons of “The Walking Dead”  (compared to a mere five for shovels).
  • According to a mathematical model developed by Robert Smith? (yes, the question mark is part of his name) at the University of Ottawa in 2009, if a zombie outbreak started in a city with a population of about 500,000 people, zombies would outnumber humans in just four days.
  • Run For Your Lives, a real-life 5k race whose participants dress up like zombies, spread from Baltimore in 2011 to 12 North American cities in 2012 and 22 cities this year.
  • To promote emergency preparedness, the Centers for Disease Control launched a fake zombie preparedness campaign on its website in 2011. It got 3.6 billion hits in a single week and continues to get 10,000 hits a month.
  • In order to “escape” a zombie horde, users of Zombies, Run!—a smartphone training app launched in 2012—must increase their running speed in real life by 20 percent for one minute after the app says, “Warning: zombies detected.” To date, users have collectively evaded 700,000 hordes.
  •  Forget about Troy or Ocean’s Eleven, what it took for megastar Brad Pitt to surpass the $500 million mark at the worldwide box office was World War Z, which this past summer saw the actor doing battle with a pandemic of “fast zombies.”

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