Can Zombies Run?

This week the film World War Z opens in the UK so we ask the golden question ‘can zombies run?’

Ok, so the unimaginable has happened: the zombie apocalypse and the time has come to venture outside. Every zombie film you’ve ever watched is running through your head and you are faced with one burning question.

Can zombies run?

Do you trust Romero and believe the undead will slowly shuffle towards you, groaning? Or maybe we should trust Synder, and prepare for zombies to race towards you at great speed, snarling like animals.

Does it even matter? Of course it does.

Let’s consider a few scenarios…

First up, the morgue zombie. This zombie has been dead for at least 12 hours before re-animation occurs. The corpse’s muscle membranes have started to contract causing Rigor Mortis. The corpse is stiff. A leisurely walk should be enough to outrun this zombie.

But what if it’s the zombie that bursts from the grave? It’s been dead for longer than 72 hours, Rigor Mortis has passed.The living microorganisms and bacteria have started to breakdown the dead cells including the muscles. Don’t panic ! Even if this zombie were able to use his leg to push off without his ankle snapping then there’s a strong chance he’ll fall apart with the impact of a run.

But before you breath a sigh of relief, there’s one last possibility to explore. What happens if ‘re-animation’ occurs immediately after an infection? This one could run, right? It’s muscles are intact and could spring into action.

Luckily, we’re forgetting one crucial point – deterioration of the brain. The brain is still functioning, but the classic zombie traits; aggression, memory loss, hunger regulation, unable to feel pain etc, reflect that the brain has deteriorated. We can probably safely assume that the cerebellum is also affected, resulting in uncoordinated movements and…wait for it…a lumbering walk.

So, don’t worry. Keep your bike in good shape and your sword handy – they may be coming – but they’ll be coming slowly.

Or will they?

Disclaimer: We cannot ensure that the information above is correct until the apocalypse comes.