‘Day of Crisis’ Race Simulates Disasters, Coming to Boston

Want a run-for-your-life thrill without the actual threat of death? Then sign up for the Day of Crisis race.

If Michael Bay were asked to put together a race for charity, it might look something like Project Hope’s Day of Crisis, which comes to the Boston area May 9. The three-mile-long obstacle challenge mimics events like Tough Mudder and Spartan Race, with a thematic twist that forces competitors to think and act like first-responders as they navigate four simulated disaster zones.

Competitors in the Boston event can expect to find themselves working through “the first harrowing minutes of a raging flood, forest fire, infectious outbreak,” according to the Day of Crisis website. The event ends with the “ultimate flight-instinct with a ‘run for your life’ to the finish tent, called ‘The Sanctuary.'”

Run for your life, survive a disaster… The concept is the give participants a simulated experience of being a first responder, but for cities like Boston and New York, where people know a thing or two about real-life crises, is it insensitive to simulate run-for-your-life chaos?

“We didn’t get any feedback like that,” says Stacey Bowers, Day of Crisis coordinator, who notes the group did extensive market research and ran the idea through focus groups across the country. “Most of what we heard was ‘This sounds awesome.’”

Project Hope is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that works to improve the delivery of healthcare in countries with limited resources and infrastructure. It has worked in many disaster zones, from Ebola-affected areas of Sierra Leone to Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami. Bowers says the race is a new way to share Project Hope’s work while raising funds for the organization.

Bowers adds that while Tough Mudder and Spartan Races are linear in nature, Day of Crisis is different in that it is structured entirely around the four simulated disaster zones. It’s also not a purely physical challenge. For example, the infectious disease simulation is a puzzle that teams must solve. Those who can’t pinpoint patient zero fast enough will face penalties such as having to carry a teammate to the next the disaster zone.

The Day of Crisis race is slated to run in five cities: Boston, New York, Dallas, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. The Boston event is open to approximately 1,000 competitors.