PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — There are slow zombies. There are fast zombies. And then there is a blindingly fast zombie named Jacques who recently shattered the world record for his kind by running the 100 meters in 10:06 seconds!
The lean, French-born athlete pulled off the dazzling feat at the annual Undead Track and Field Tournament held in the Toussaint L’Ouverture Racetrack in Haiti, finishing many strides ahead of his eight competitors.
“Jacques’ astounding performance at this event demolishes the image of zombies as shambling and unfocused,” declared sportswriter Kevin J. Bracksley. “His speed was just a fraction of a second behind the ‘normal human’ record set by Usain Bolt in 2009.”
The remarkable “running dead” sports star is equally impressive in longer distances, recently clocked at 4.12 minutes in the mile.
Zombie racing is a tradition that dates back to the 18th century, when plantation owners would wager on their most fleet-footed undead field hands. Mark Twain, who saw one of the bizarre races on his many travels, wrote in 1896 that it was “sort of like a tortoise race, but less exciting.”
In the 20th century, the international tournament was expanded to include events such as the shot put and broad jump. Organizers hope that in future years, other athletic events such as beach volleyball will be added.
Zombies arrived from far away as Turkey to compete in the races held on November 14, brought by family members or handlers who’d purchased them. Jacques’ owner is a wealthy, unidentified British sports enthusiast whose team spent months training and conditioning the 6 foot 2, 160-pound athlete.
“Muscle break down and decay is very common among zombies and the lack of oxygen to the brain they suffer before revival usually means their motor control is shot,” explained Bracksley. “That’s a huge hurdle to overcome in competitive sports.”
Although Jacques’ full name has not been revealed, he reportedly was an avid marathon runner who took home several trophies in Europe before falling victim to a zombie outbreak in 2011. That background has doubtless aided the rotting runner, the sportswriter said.
“There’s such a thing as ‘muscle memory’ you don’t lose even when the higher centers of the brain are kaput,” he observed. “And I’d like to think that the competitive spirit that Jacques had before he crossed over is still flickering in that decaying skull of his, and that helped him across the finish line first.”
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth
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