CDC Issues Warning on Running Man Challenge

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release: May 9, 2016

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing an alert for professional and collegiate sports organizations regarding a multi-state outbreak of a mutated “Running Man Virus.”

CDC scientists first identified the Running Man Virus in 1987. Once inside a host body, the virus attacks the infected individual’s arms, legs, knees, and gluteal muscles, forcing them into a repetitive high-energy motion set to the delightful beats of New Jack Swing music. However, this mutated version of the virus causes the infected to uncontrollably jog in place, posing great danger to their ankles, knees, and the integrity of the floors beneath them. A hallmark symptom of the latest outbreak is for the infected to challenge others to a contest, in which the recipients of the challenge are expected to emulate these high-risk movements.

We’ve traced the source of the outbreak to two adult males in College Park, MD. Our sources indicate that the males—Jaylen Brantley and Jared Nickens—are members of the University of Maryland men’s basketball team. We’ve placed them, their teammates, and their coaching staff under quarantine, during which time they will watch a continuous loop of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” music video. Meanwhile, we are working to ascertain the scope of the infection’s spread and are beginning containment procedures (the Zika Virus will have to wait).

Preliminary research show that the infection has been transmitted across the nation. Cases have been reported everywhere from Rutgers University (where the virus disrupted the football team’s annual Ring of Honor ceremony) to the Los Angeles Dodgers locker room (where infected players were seen dousing themselves with delicious, salty popcorn). A CDC team of epidemiologists will also be taking a trip across the border to Toronto, Ontario, where a particularly lethal infection that appears to severely limit arm movement has infected New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and his brothers.

Athletes’ risk of injury has greatly increased as a result of this outbreak. In severe cases, athletes have been spotted gyrating in wheeled laundry bins and in street traffic. The CDC cautions any athlete that feels he or she might be in the path of the infection to take these precautions:

If you hear “My Boo” by the Ghost Town DJs, cover your ears and seek shelter immediately: Scientists have pinpointed this song as the clarion call for the virus to take hold. Resist the infectious beat of the Miami booty-bass and run.

If you live with an infected individual, force them to watch Bobby Brown’s “Every Little Step” music video: Fight the infection with education. Show your loved ones the correct way to do the Running Man—for once, Bobby Brown has done something good for society.

Suggest alternative dances: Counterattack with the Cabbage Patch or Lawn Sprinkler if possible. We do NOT suggest resurrecting the Harlem Shake, as it took CDC researchers several months to eradicate that virus.

If you believe you’re infected, just dance until you feel numb: You probably won’t tear your ACL doing it.

Please report any cases in your area to the CDC Epidemiology Tip Line at 1-800-ITS-A-FAD.


Natalie McGill is a writer and comedian. You should follow her on Twitter, where she won’t be tweeting any dance videos.