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Outrun the Fireball

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When I say "run", run... RUN!
"Calculon, a fight scene has broken out at the special effects warehouse! Come quickly before a fiery explosion chases someone down a hallway!"
Monique, Futurama

A Time Bomb, superweapon, crashed car, etc. is about to explode. The heroes run as fast as they can and try to leap behind shelter, just as it explodes. Often features a cool shot of the heroes diving towards the camera.

Virtually every action series has had its share of these moments. In fact, it is easy to imagine that some remote civilization studying Earth through its television transmissions might conclude that Earthlings running causes Stuff Blowing Up, not the other way around.

Can also be done with cars, airplanes, spaceships, snowmobiles, mine carts... anything that moves, or doesn't, for that matter.

Though all are related to Non-Fatal Explosions, there are also two more directly related tropes. One is the Rocket Jump: an extremely hard-ass character may exploit the power of the blast as it propels them through the air to reach places they wouldn't normally have been able to. The second is combining this with Out of the Inferno: for a moment it seems that the characters won't make it as the flames from the explosion reach and engulf them... then they come bursting through the flames, slightly charred but unharmed.

On a rare occasion, the characters will be made to look like fools by there being no explosion after diving into the dust (toward the camera). This will be followed by a four-count beat, to share an embarrassed moment, which will be punctuated by an explosion.

The badass often showcases just how cool he is by always calmly walking away from the building or car, and perhaps casually putting on his Cool Shades or lighting up a cigarette just as the explosion goes off. Badass characters don't have to run unless it's darned important. Cool guys don't look at explosions.

Examined exhaustively at the website The Reality of Running Away from Stuff.

If this is performed by jumping into a body of water, see Dive Under the Explosion. For when a character doesn't outrun the fireball and walks calmly out of and away from the fire anyway, see Out of the Inferno. See also Convection, Schmonvection. For when a character gets a head-start on the fireball, see Don't Ask, Just Run. In Real Life, the accepted reaction to an approaching fireball is to either jump down a deep hole and pull it in after you, or bend over and kiss your posterior goodbye. See also Bomb Disposal when this is done intentionally.

The fireball is often depicted in Slow Motion.

Contrast Riding into the Sunset. See also Advancing Wall of Doom for a slower-paced version of this trope.


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  • One THX trailer featuring Pixar-designed mascot Tex has him doing it in a car's exhaust pipe as the usual Deep Note starts playing.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sailor Moon: Zoicite fires a fireball at Usagi and Mamoru in an elevator. She has to transform to get them both out in time (though how she does so is left a mystery). In a previous episode, Tuxedo Mask saves Moon from a tennis ball fireball.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS has the villains doing this. Quattro and Dieci manage to escape from Fate, only to run right into Hayate's sights. The next few seconds are accompanied by much screaming as they try to outrun a massive Sphere of Destruction.
  • In Dragon Ball Z when Frieza traps Goku inside an impact-sensitive energy ball and then spikes him into the ground, most believe that the hero's death is imminent until it is discovered that he outran the explosion and the two were just toying with each other.
    • Five minutes/thirty episodes later, Goku has to outrun the explosion of Namek, which Frieza had caused.
    • When Kid Buu destroys the Earth with a ball of energy that engulfs it, Goku and Vegeta try to outrun it to reach Kibito Kai, who can teleport them to safety. They first intend to take Piccolo, Gohan, Goten and Trunks with them, but then Goku has a Sadistic Choice to make and he decides to save Dende and Mr. Satan instead, since Dende can use Porunga's Dragon Balls to restore the Earth and everyone back to life.
  • Rather gruesomely subverted in one scene of Soukou no Strain, where a crewmember tries to outrun the fire chasing him down a hallway but one of the doors that is meant to contain such thing slams right in his face.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! uses this at the end of Noah's storyline. Gozaburo triggers the entire island to self-destruct, but Noah restrains the resulting fireball.
  • This happens to the KNT and their G-Force incarnations every three or four episodes. Either they're delayed after setting their bombs, or the bad guys starts the timer on his.
  • Future Diary: Yuno, during the second episode; she's being held indoors (where there are several motion-detonated bombs set up), while Yukiteru is outside, about to be killed by Minene/Ninth. Naturally, Yuno being Yuno, she sprints down the corridor despite the bombs (and innocents killed as a result), resulting in this.
  • A non-fiery variant is used in One Piece: As Luffy frees a bunch of inmates from the Impel Down prison, its warden Magellan, as a last resort, floods the prison with his poisonous sludge, forcing Luffy and his new allies to flee as quickly as they can and get out of the prison before Magellan's sludge kills them all.
    • A more traditional version is shown in One Piece Film: Z, where Sanji, Usopp, Zoro and Luffy all try to outrun a volcanic eruption. They only succeed because Aojiki uses his Devil Fruit powers to freeze the ash cloud and lava flow in place.
  • Downplayed in the anime adaptation of Highschool of the Dead. The tunnel Takashi and Rei go through is fairly short, but the gasoline-powered explosion that sent them through it isn't any less potent.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Kira Yamato's timely arrival in the Freedom Gundam allows him to warn both Earth Alliance and ZAFT forces that JOSH-A Base is outfitted with a Cyclops System and ready to explode at any second. Kira and the crew of the Archangel make it out in time, but most of the EA and ZAFT forces are wiped out by the explosion.
  • In ∀ Gundam, the Dianna Counter end up discovering a host of nuclear warheads still armed and tries to warn away both their group and the resistance forces from fighting. However, a bad call from both sides, jostles them active and everyone is forced to escape. The only one who dies is the leader of the Suicide Squad, who got himself trapped thanks to his idiotic actions.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run: The Stand Boku no Rhythm wo Kiitekure can create clock-shaped grenade pins that attach to anything its user, Oyecomova, touches; unless they're held in place, even the slighest impact will pull them, whereupon what they were attached to explodes. At one point, he sticks his hands in a river, making it impossible to hold the pins down. This trope ensues, as Johnny and Gyro are forced to escape by riding their horses as quickly as possible down the river to escape the explosions.

    Audio Plays 
  • In the Blake's 7 audio "Warship" the Liberator just barely gets ahead of the shockwave, but getting clipped by the outer edges was enough to bork up the remaining systems and require evacuation.

    Comic Books 
  • In the first issue of X-Men Unlimited, things go boom and the group of X-Men outfly it all... helped by the fact Storm is controlling the wind.
  • The Flash, of course, is fast enough to routinely outrun explosions and make it look easy. One time, he evacuated the population of an entire city in the time it takes a nuclear bomb's radiation to travel less than a meter; that's 13 trillion times the speed of light.
  • Subverted in a very funny way in The Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos finally defeated, suggests the heroes to "put some distance between themselves and his person." Thor's reaction? Swing his hammer so hard that the fireball sort of outruns the heroes itself.
  • Robin (Tim Drake) saves Officer Harper from an explosion and the two of them just manage to avoid the ensuing fireball as he swings away. In a more depressing take than normal, two kids Tim didn't realize were in a car right next to the bomb were killed.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): During the Final Battle involving Monster X, Godzilla, Mothra and other Titans pitted against Keizer Ghidorah; Monarch's Ospreys try to outrun the electrical/nuclear blast released by Keizer Ghidorah. Griffin just barely succeeds in outrunning it, while another Osprey just behind hers gets grazed and falls.
  • In Co-op Mode, Lisa ends up doing this, to comedic effect, when she first uses a Skillbook to learn a Skill. Taylor and James end up laughing the moment she gets out behind the dumpster she jumped to, leading her to say this gem:
    Lisa: *after learning Capoeira, with a burger wrapper in her hair* "You do know I just learned how to kick your asses, right?"
  • In Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami, the titular Dark Yagami is chasing Near in a car chase in Paris, when a nuclear explosion happens. The two have to outrun the fireball, and this is made even more difficult because it is "magic fire" that can turn corners.
  • In Manehattan's Lone Guardian, Leviathan is forced to flee a science facility's basement when an enemy agent sets fire to it, requiring her to stay ahead of the flames as they race through the air towards her.
  • A conflagration chases Light and Matt down a hallway in Point of Succession after they discover that Beyond Birthday had booby-trapped the entrance of his villain lair with explosives.
  • In The Teacher of All Things Hiroaki Ishida and his camera crew all do this with a Champion Digimon.
  • Used in one story of the Facing the Future Series, where Danny and Sam are watching a movie where a car is doing this, only for it to be cut short by a blackout caused by Jack.
  • The heroes escape the incinerated remains of the Metarex battlestation Tryphon in episode 64 of Sonic X: Dark Chaos.
  • A Thing of Vikings: When Fearless sets off a volcanic eruption, everyone inside the volcano tries to do this. Hiccup makes it. Mildew and the Screaming Death...aren't so lucky.
  • In This Bites!, Cross does this when leaping off the Bridge of Hesitation.
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space. Captain Proton and Buster Kincaid use Jet Packs to escape a Chekhov's Volcano destroying the Supervillain Lair, though the pre-recorded Health & Safety spiel does slow them down a bit.

    Film — Animated 
  • Used twice in 9.
    • The first time is when the Stitchpunks blow up the factory.
    • The second is when the Fabrication Machine ignites a pile of ammunition.
  • In Anastasia, Dmitri, Anya, Pooka, and Vlad duck behind, like, three boxes a few seconds before a stick of dynamite blows.
  • Averted in Son of Batman when Ra's Al-Ghul is unable to outrun a fireball despite being fast enough to block bullets with his sword. Deathstroke (whom he was fighting) is barely able to do so, and only because he'd been forewarned to get out of the building as they were his helicopter gunships firing missiles at it.
  • Happens during Finn McMissile's introductory scene at the very beginning of Cars 2, when he is escaping the Lemons' oil rig.
  • Shows up in several animated Disney Animated Canon films:
  • In The Incredibles, Dash outruns a burst of fire from a rocket launch, and barely escapes. Admittedly, he does have Super-Speed.
  • In Shrek, Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona use this trope as they reach the bridge leading away from the dragon's castle, and the dragon takes one last shot at them with her fiery breath.
  • In The Snow Queen (2012), Gerda and Kai's father tries to outrun the North Wind's wave of ice. After a while, it catches up to him and kills him and his wife.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • At the end of Aliens, Bishop does this in the drop ship to escape from the vapor explosion of LV-426.
  • The Black Hole had the heroes trying to make it across a tunnel before a huge meteor going through the ship reached them. This was supposed to be an iconic shot for the movie; people usually remembered the robotic Dragon Maximillian cutting a hole in Anthony Perkins.
  • A particularly ridiculous example can be found in Blade II, where Blade and the Vampire Action Girl outrun the "fireball" created by a big box of "light grenades." Quite aside from the question of how these light grenades caused an explosion in the first place (or indeed, how the "blast front" flows round a curve of a tunnel in spite of the fact that light beams travel in straight lines) one wonders how fast Wesley Snipes must have been running, considering that light travels at the speed of - well - light...
  • In John Woo's Broken Arrow, Capn. Hale (Christian Slater) actually outruns an underground nuclear explosion. To be fair, though, the explosion didn't happen until he was above-ground and safe from the blast.
  • In Chain Reaction, the main character, Eddie, is in a team that's working on achieving some sort of fusion through sonoluminescence (free clean power). One evening he arrives at the laboratory to find his boss murdered and the equipment rigged to blow up. Unable to stop the chain reaction, he straddles his bike and speeds away from the lab. When the equipment finally overloads, it explodes in a very large fireball, almost akin to a small nuclear blast. Eddie manages this just barely; the back of his bike is actually lifted by the shockwave (but the forward wheel somehow remains on the ground).
  • The "sunrise" example above appears in The Chronicles of Riddick. The prison-planet Crematoria is such a harsh world that the temperature goes from -300 on the nightside to 700 degrees on the dayside, leaving only a brief 20 minute window before sunrise where the surface is actually traversable on foot and travel to and from the planet is possible.
  • In the climax of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Collateral Damage, Gordy Brewer runs away from a massive explosion as El Lobo and Selena take aim at him while chasing him on a motorcycle.
  • At the end of Dante's Peak, Harry and the family are outrunning a pyroclastic flow, which moves at 120 miles an hour in real life and would be impossible to escape. To be fair, they only escape by driving into an underground mine. Given that the volcano was something like five miles away, that gave them two and a half minutes to drive to cover. And they weren't outrunning it: examination of the scene shows the flow consistently gaining on them until they're about to "lose" the race when they reach the mine.
  • If fire isn't bad enough, in The Day After Tomorrow some characters out-run a "wave of cold", which then ices over the door they escape behind. It's particularly ludicrous given that the original scene had them running from digital wolves, which were scrapped. The end result means they're running away from something they should be able to see chasing them (and acted as such) but instead it is a "Run! It's the weather!" moment.
  • In Deep Impact, the young man who was the co-discoverer of the asteroid that strikes earth, and is creating a tidal wave 3000 feet high striking near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, basically destroying the Eastern Seaboard of the United States and probably anything within 1,000 miles, and moving across land at 1100 miles per hour is trying to outrun the tidal wave on a motorbike! Did we mention that his wife is also riding on the bike with him?
  • In Deep Rising, towards the end where Finnegan and Trillian escape on the jet ski out of the ski bay shortly after Finnegan's rigged boat dooms the cruise ship.
  • Demolition Man. At the end John Spartan runs away from the cryoprison as it blows up in flames.
  • Overdone in Der Clown: Payday: The heroine is driving a BMW and chased by an aircraft. When the whole aircraft explodes in one big fireball with its nose still above the BMW's trunk, said fireball also almost completely engulfs the BMW, which, however, manages to drive out of the flames. Without the heroine inside, the car would most likely have been blown up, too. The heroine is affected by the explosion shockwave, but the car isn't. And she gets out of the car with close to no injuries at all despite the fact that the aircraft had crushed the rear window earlier and the fireball would have to have entered the car.
  • Die Hard:
    • In the first movie, John McClane, stuck in the Nakatomi Plaza tower, straps a fire hose around his waist and takes a running jump off the roof of the tower. The second John launches himself forward, the entire roof explodes into an enormous fireball.
    • Die Hard with a Vengeance: After being told that a bomb was in a garbage can by the phone booth, both Samuel L. Jackson and John McClane try to push people aside and then dive to the ground; when no one responds and no explosion happens, the terrorist's laughing reveals the joke.
    • After they get out of the handcuffs strapping themselves to the bomb on the ship, they run as fast as they can for the water. The bomb explodes just as they jump off the boat.
  • Double Team does this no fewer than three times. The first time doesn't work out, and the protagonist ends up bedridden for 6 months from his injuries.
  • Eight Legged Freaks has Chris and Gladys escaping the mine on Bret's motorcycle as the methane in the mine was set off towards the end of the movie. Chris and Gladys are on a motorbike and trying to escape the ensuing blast. While they fail at completely outrunning the fireball and are temporarily engulfed they still manage to get out with only minor burns.
  • In End of Days, Jericho and Christine outrun an inferno chasing them down a hallway after rescuing Christine from Satan near the end.
  • In The Expendables 3, after Barney kills Stonebanks, Barney has to escape the exploding building and head for Max's chopper as the batteries stalling the C4 ran out by the time Barney kills Stonebanks.
    • Expend4bles has the climax end with Barney and Christmas outrun a nuclear explosion in a helicopter after they destroy Rahmat's ship moments before the nuke goes off.
  • In The Fifth Element, Korben and the gang speed to outrun a giant explosion that engulfed everything around their spaceship, except the windshield, prompting Bruce Willis to dramatically scream and coax the craft ever so faster to suddenly outrun the blast into orbit.
  • Lampshaded in Flyboys, a zeppelin bomber is going up, and a German airman previously seen manning an ack-ack emplacement runs across the top, just ahead of the exploding gas cells. This begs the question, "What's he gonna do when he runs out of blimp?"
  • Forrest Gump does this in Vietnam, when he rescues the wounded Bubba. The napalm strike that was announced minutes earlier to Lt Dan virtually takes place around him and still he runs away from it. Possibly justified as it's napalm, and is mostly just big balls of fire with minimal shockwaves.
  • The family outruns a small fireball as their house explodes in 4Closed and wind up perfectly fine.
  • A justified example in Freaks (2018) where Henry's time bubble allows him to carry Chloe at a light jog only a few feet ahead of the fireball.
  • GI Joe The Rise Of Cobra: Played straight during the escape by sub. Yes, underwater fireball.
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation: Storm Shadow, Firefly, and Cobra Commander do it when the prison explodes. Storm Shadow fails to fully outrun it and is very badly burned on his back.
  • Godzilla (2014):
    • During the Janjira plant incident, Sandra Brody and the other inspectors run while being followed by an enormous smoke cloud, representing the leaking radiation from the reactor. Unfortunately, none of the inspectors that were ahead of her make it before the blast shield closes.
    • In Hawaii, people try to outrun a tsunami. The only known survivors of it were the family that thought to run into (and then up) a building.
    • At the climax Ford barely makes out of the way of an enormous gasoline explosion ignited by him in order to destroy the MUTO eggs.
  • Gravity. Happens for a brief moment (yes, yes, In Space) when an oxygen cylinder explodes during the zero-G fire scene.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): When The Collector's lair gets blown up, Groot grabs Rocket and hightails it out of there.
  • Inspector Tequila has to outrun an exploding hospital at the end of Hard Boiled. Interestingly, there was a 'screw up' with the pyrotechnics that caused a bigger explosion than planned, meaning that Chow Yun Fat was really running for his life.
  • In The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, Bryce, Sonia and Kingcaid hurriedly jump out of the exploding yacht after both killing Aristotle and Bryce Sr. and stopping the virus used to destroy Europe.
  • A variation occurs in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug when Thorin is rising out of a mine shaft via pulley system while being pursued by one of the dragon Smaug's fireballs, managing to reach the top and get out of the way just in time.
  • In the second part of Hooked. The main hero jumps of the boat a moment before the bomb explodes, however it turns out that the perfect timing wasn't his -it was's the bomb's one. Or rather the bad guys' who were secretly watching him and detonated the bomb at the precise moment, so that he'd believe in his miraculous save and went on with his part of their Batman Gambit.
  • Parodied in Hot Fuzz, where Nick and Danny find a sea mine in some oldtimer's arsenal. He bangs it to prove it's harmless, and it starts ticking. Nick and Danny do the textbook running towards the camera and leaping over a hedge, followed by... nothing. Of course, the mine DOES blow up later in the film, but nobody got to run away from it that time. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
    • The climax of The World's End has the protagonists ''driving' away from an explosion. In reverse. We never find out if Basil and the creepy twins managed to outrun it on foot, though.
  • Defied with a bit of grisly realism in the first scene of The Hurt Locker, when Sergeant Thompson attempts to run away from an active bomb. He gets clear of the visible explosion, but is killed by the shockwave. Even all the heavy bomb-resistant armor he was wearing does nothing more than ensure he’s in one piece when he dies.
  • Happens in Il Ragazzo Invisibile on escaping a ship.
  • Red Water: When an oil rig blows up, The Hero and three workers make a frantic dash to dive into the river ahead of the explosion. Only two of them make it.
  • Independence Day:
    • Jasmine the stripper with a heart of gold, her cute son and her dog are running from the fireball in Los Angeles. While she has a good lead on it, the dog barely jumps out of the way of the fireball which fills the tunnel, just in time. Conveniently enough, the fire also fails to consume all the oxygen available in the confined space they take shelter in. And the explosion big enough to destroy most of Los Angeles fails to blast through the door behind which our characters are hiding. In the novelization, Jasmine, the kid, and the dog are saved by the presence of a metal grate leading down into the city's subway system. The air rushing out of the grate into the fire saves them by both cooling them and giving them oxygen to breathe. The author specifically writes that Jasmine needs to cling to the grate to avoid being blown back out into the fire. Not that that's much more realistic.
    • At the same moment, Air Force One flies like a bat out of Hell to escape the Washington fireball; at the last second, the flames touch the rear of the aircraft, but the pilot manages to escape.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a car full of Mooks tries to outrun a nuclear explosion and get smoked hard. Indy, on the other hand, survives by hiding in a lead-lined refrigerator. Maybe Indy had a major case of Fridge Logic?
  • James Bond franchise: Bond faces fireballs at times.
    • Tomorrow Never Dies, where he flies a jet through the fireball. The example is slightly more plausible than the usual fare - assuming that it was a (relatively cold) kerosene/gasoline fire from the trucks and aircraft that were in front of him, and he was flying fast enough, it is entirely possible that James could fly through with no or few ill-effects. It is the same principle as quickly moving one's hand through a (yellow!) bunsen or candle flame. So long as you do it fast enough, you'll be fine.
    • In The World Is Not Enough, Bond and Denise Richards' character outrun a fireball that shoots up an elevator shaft.
    • In Skyfall, Bond outruns the fireball during the final battle when he blows Skyfall Lodge sky high in order to destroy Silva's helicopter and kill most of his men. Though he beats the fireball that took out the house, he doesn't beat the second fireball from the helicopter plowing into it. He instead dives into an alcove which spares him the brunt of the blast.
    • Happens again in the final battle of Spectre, where Bond and Madeleine escape the explosion of the old MI6 building on a speedboat. Earlier, Bond and Madeleine escape Blofeld's headquarters after Bond blows it up.
  • Judge Dredd. Getting back into the city requires Dredd and Fergie to infiltrate the city via an incinerator vent which spews out a fireball every thirty seconds. A bit of Fridge Logic comes when Herman falls and Dredd has to save him, the fireball is coming from the direction they were running from, when it should be coming from the direction they were running to.
  • Owen and Claire do it in a gyrosphere as the volcano erupts in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and drive off a cliff into the water. Many dinosaurs are much less fortunate.
  • Kopps: After the police officers set fire to the wurst stand they remember that several gas cans are stored there. They begin to run away in Slow Motion, Benny leaps himself on the ground while the others keep running, the others hide behind the petrol car and Benny leaps himself over the hood and they wait for the bang, covering their ears. First, nothing happens, but a few seconds later the stand explodes with a huge fireball.
  • In Legion, when archangel Michael and some young girl escape the exploding gas station.
  • At the end of London Has Fallen, Banning and President Asher manage to escape one after jumping into an elevator shaft during the incineration of the terrorist's hideout.
  • In The Lone Ranger Butch throws kerosene and dynamite down a tunnel, and our heroes must outrun the result.
  • Possibly the lamest example on the page: In The Long Kiss Goodnight, Samantha/Charly and Mitch try to Outrun The Fireball from a grenade in a hallway, which couldn't possibly create a fireball, and whose frags would be instantly lethal. But there's more! The scene combines a couple more examples of when poor research fails to be overrun by Rule of Cool.
  • In Magical Legend of the Leprechauns the fire guardian of The Grand Banshee's hotel turns into a fireball and attacks Jack and Kathleen and Jessica and Mickey. Both pairs outrun him.
  • John Cena's character outruns at least a half-dozen such explosions in The Marine.
  • Mission: Impossible Film Series
    • Mission: Impossible III, when Hunt gets a weapon out of a vehicle, then attempts to run clear of the car. When the car explodes, he is blown sideways by the blast, directly into another car.
    • In Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol when Hunt is running from the explosion of the Kremlin, only to be injured in the explosion and hospitalized.
  • Played for laughs in Moonrise Kingdom when Scoutmaster Ward saves Commander Pierce from an exploding tent.
  • Almost avoided in The Mummy Returns. There's a particularly credulity-stretching scene where our hero must outrun the sunrise to make it to a temple. It is, in fact, almost correct, scientifically. Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy page explains what's happening and why it's right and wrong (he even shows his work.) In short, the character is not outrunning the terminator line of the sunrise, he's outrunning the shadows cast by the mountains in the background. However, the moving edge of the shadow is moving away from the sun and toward the temple — that's the wrong direction; it should be moving down from the top of the temple and toward the rising sun. In the DVD commentary, director Steven Sommers states that they knew they were doing it wrong but kept it in because it looked cool.
  • Happens to Jack in Oblivion (2013) during the final shootout with the drones inside of La Résistance's bunker-complete with visible Oh, Crap! moment as he starts to run away from the about-to-explode drone.
  • The end of Overlord (2018) has Boyce running out of the church before the entire place explodes.
  • Predator series.
    • Predator: The climax features an alien countdown, a spooky, ominous laugh, and an explosion with the power of a tactical nuke. This becomes even more ridiculous in the sequel, when Mike reveals that the self-destruct device is powerful enough to completely level a radius of 300 city blocks. Yet Dutch got away, despite only starting his run when the timer was almost up.
    • Predator 2. Harrigan somehow isn't burnt to a crisp while running away from the fiery exhaust of the departing Predator ship.
    • In Predators the team has to outrun the blast caused by Nicholai's heroic sacrifice.
  • Happens several times in Quick, with the most spectacular involving Ki-su and Chun-sim riding away from a fireball on a motorbike in the upper floors of an office building.
  • Rambo:
    • Rambo: Last Blood: During the Final Battle, Rambo detonates explosives in the tunnels of his ranch, forcing Martinez to make a run for it.
    • Rambo IV: Rambo has to outrun one after he blows up the Tallboy Bomb. Done realistically too, he ties a claymore to it and then runs like hell to get as far as possible from the bomb, and when does it go off the shock-wave still overtakes him in seconds.
  • In The Relic, Dr. Green sets and escapes a fire in a slow-moving freight elevator. When the room filled with volatile chemicals finally explodes, it takes forty seconds of screen time for the fireball to catch up with her — plenty of time to run a good twenty yards, climb into a metal container the size of a dumpster, wait for the motorized lid to close, and hurl a final insult at the monster chasing her.
  • Robin and Gisborne outran a cascade of molten iron the spills out of an upset crucible and comes racing towards them in Robin Hood (2018).
  • At the climax of The Rocketeer, Cliff, Jenny, and Lothar all try to outrun the fireball on an exploding hydrogen fueled blimp. What they planned to do is unclear, not that it matters. Lothar is still wearing a harness preventing him from running very far, and is killed. Cliff and Jenny are saved when Howard Hughes and Peevy fly by and drop a ladder for them to grab.
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. As tons of dynamite inside a uranium mine are about to explode, Sky Captain, Polly Perkins and Sky Captain's friend Kaji try to run out of the mine to safety. When the dynamite explodes they're blasted out of the mouth of the mine and wind up flat on their faces in the snow.
  • In Stargate SG-1: Stargate: The Ark of Truth, Mitchell sets some explosives off to kill a villain and jumps ahead of the fire just in time, complete with slo-mo goodness.
  • In Starship Troopers the three main characters outrun the fireball of a tactical nuke which was only detonated a few seconds before they left the room full of enormous locust-like creatures. This one's hard: the nukes in the movie aren't ever really described. In the book, the basically identical nuke rockets are described as using subcritical masses that use a lot of advanced tricks to get it to go off, and consequently, are really weak for a nuke. The main characters also outrun a fireball when they're launching an escape pod from their ship.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The Enterprise manages to outrun the detonation of the Genesis Device, once they restore their warp drive. Without it, the blast wave certainly would have caught them.
    • In Star Trek: Generations, the Enterprise outruns the blast wave of a supernova. Unlike the previous example, though, the issue is not their ability to outrun the supernova (even Warp 1, the lowest possible warp speed, is more than sufficient to outrun a supernova), but whether they can afford to wait around long enough to rescue the crew members currently engaged in a firefight on the nearby space station. There's a second one when the Enterprise suffers a warp core breach. They perform saucer separation and attempt to get out of the explosion. However, they can't clear it fast enough and the shockwave from the explosion causes the saucer to be knocked into the nearby planet.
    • At the end of Star Trek (2009), the Enterprise is caught in the artificial black hole that was once the Narada. Despite Kirk telling Sulu to punch it, the gravitational pull is way too strong for the ship's warp drive and its threatening to crush the ship and pull it in. Scotty ends up launching some of the ship's warp core into the black hole, its detonation giving it enough push to free them. Like with the Millennium Falcon, it also pulls an Out of the Inferno moment doing this.
    • In Star Trek Beyond, Kirk and Chekov outrun a long run when Kirk sets off the remaining fuel within the saucer section of the destroyed Enterprise. Thus, they're being chased by explosions, bad guys trying to kill them and the saucer section flipping on its head thanks to Kirk's actions.
  • Star Wars:
    • Return of the Jedi has an extended "outrun the fireball" scene as Wedge and Lando's crew blow up the Death Star II's core and have to escape the resulting blast; Wedge at least has plenty of a head start. A TIE Intercepter fails to do so and is destroyed. The Millennium Falcon is also partially engulfed by the explosion, leading to an Out of the Inferno moment and giving the visual impression of the Falcon being shot out of the Death Star like a bullet.
    • The Phantom Menace: Anakin flies into the main droid control ship, then fires two proton torpedoes straight into the main reactor. The ship starts to blow up from the inside, and Anakin flies as fast as he can toward the exit with flames shooting all over the place, feeling it necessary to quip "now this is podracing!" as he does so. There is an additional shot of a squad of battle droids failing at this.
  • In Suffragette the protagonists run away from a explosion caused by a bomb one of them built herself. It is not explained why she didn't build the bomb in a way that gives them more time to run away.
  • In the Made-for-TV Movie Super Volcano, a scientist is trying to outrun the fireball, but it catches up and kills her. The film is known for actually doing their research, but allowing for some exaggeration for the Rule of Cool.
  • The Terminator: The movie has a rare, if not unique, theoretically realistic version of the trope. Sarah is able to get away from the exploding truck as it explodes because the truck doesn't go up in only one explosion but a progressive series of them from back to front. You still have to assume that for some odd reason the truck would do that in the first place but no laws of physics appear to be violated. It could be that fuel truck's tank usually comprises of many smaller compartments (to counter the effects of inertia during acceleration and braking) hence could explain the progressive explosions. Almost all fuel trucks do indeed have several compartments in the fuel tanks for safety.
  • Happens about thirty-two times in Three Kings.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, Sam fails to outrun the explosion and is killed... but gets better. Though Sam wasn't killed so much by the explosion as by Megatron emerging from the explosion and shooting him.
  • Subverted (like so many other things) in Tremors 2: Aftershocks, when Earl sets a bomb to detonate the explosives in the back of Burt's truck. The other heroes duck behind cover, only to see Burt continue running right past them, yelling "It's gonna be big!" Burt eventually settles for a trench which will provide sufficient protection from the blast wave.
  • Undercover Brother. At the end of the movie, Undercover Brother must outrun a series of explosions and jump over the edge of a cliff. And he doesn't have his parachute...
  • In Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Steven Seagal outruns a fireball by running the length of a railroad car.
  • Volcano. In order to save the city from a volcanic eruption it is decided that a precision demolition of a 20 story building must be planned and executed in 15 minutes. Unfortunately, a random child wanders into the street directly in the path of the soon to be demolished building. The child is saved by Tommy Lee Jones sprinting (quite fast for an old man), grabbing the boy, then jumping behind cover.
  • Silk Spectre in Watchmen during the burning building rescue. She turns away from the oncoming fireball in Slow Motion, then speeds up again for her running down the corridor and across the drawbridge/hatch into Archie, the hatch slamming shut Just in Time.
  • In The Wave (2015), the protagonists have to outrun (or get the higher ground on) a 300ft Giant Wall of Watery Doom. Made a bit more fair by having a 10 minute headstart once the landslide strikes, but they still only have 10 minutes to escape an 80 meter wave. Oh, and did we mention that this will actually happen?
  • An atomic fireball no less in The Wolverine.
  • The X-Files: Fight the Future: Mulder and Scully have to out-drive a fireball when a federal building in Dallas blows up.
  • Taken to extremes in X-Men: Apocalypse, where Quicksilver notices the vibrations from the explosion, rushes in and manages to evacuate the entire building while the explosion propagates through it in bullet time.

  • In the original Artemis Fowl, Julius Root does this on an abandoned whaling vessel.
  • The "run, nothing happens, relax, explosion" twist occurs in the Discworld novel Hogfather, when the wizards react with horror to adding Wow-Wow Sauce to a magical hangover cure.
  • Though there's no actual fireball, the spirit of this trope is made evident in Kushiel's Scion. On a hunt in the Royal Forest, Imriel and Sidonie are alone together, having gotten separated from the group, when something starts charging through the underbrush. Imriel thinks it's a boar and knocks Sidonie to the ground to protect her. It's a deer.
  • In The Dresden Files: White Night, this is played with. Harry Dresden doesn't so much outrun the fireball as ride it out in a force field, generated via magic that he is powering with the lust generated by a heated kiss he shares with a succubus. Since he knew he wouldn't be able to actually outrun it, he effectively turned himself (and said succubus) into a cannon ball... or, a pinball wizard.
  • A mild take when in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Umbrige finds herself chased by lots of small mostly harmless, and incredibly difficult to get rid of, self replicated fireworks created by Fred and George Weasley when they set off a bunch of their creations to annoy her. Once she finally figures out what spells to use on them that don't just make it worse she ends up having to go all over the school chasing down the fireworks as one of her "Educational Decrees" has left the teachers unsure if they have the authority to deal with the fireworks themselves.
  • One of the traps that Katniss encounters in The Hunger Games is an artificial forest fire. Complete with literal fireballs that Katniss has to dodge.
  • Part of the Francis Carsac's novel Terre en fuite (Fleeing Earth) involves the Second Civilization (a second evolution of humans after the next Ice Age) building enormous "space magnets" at the poles of Earth and Venus (fully terraformed) in order to move the planets out of the way of the Sun going nova. The idea is to outrun the solar fireball and hide behind Jupiter until the Sun returns to its yellow dwarf state. While building the "space magnets", the scientists realize that the Sun will turn into a white dwarf and will be unable to sustain life. Thus, the planets have to be moved to another star system. Since the maximum speed that can be achieved with a "space magnet" in space is 0.8c (i.e. 80% of the speed of light), the journey takes many years. And they have to do it again later, when Alpha Centauri turns out to be inhabited by a Lost Colony who doesn't want neighbors.
  • In Song in the Silence, Lanen is in a cave while Akhor is dying painfully, heating up and smoking at the edges, and realizes that an explosion is imminent. She makes it just out of the entrance and trips, and the fireball gouts out above her head.
  • Even though this is possibly the last trope in the world you'd expect to be Older Than Dirt, it's right there in The Epic of Gilgamesh — on the titular character's journey to Dilmun, Gilgamesh had to pass through the tunnel through which the sun goes at night. The tunnel was long, and before he could get to the other end, the sun god entered from the other side... if that's not a fireball to outrun, we don't know what is.

    Live-Action TV 


  • While not shown on-screen in 3rd Rock from the Sun, the aliens when trying to understand democratic elections mentioned that leaders on their planet are chosen by who can "outrun the fireball".
  • On Day 5 of 24, Jack blows up a facility and runs from the flames, in one of the coolest looking moments on the show. Then he runs right back in.
  • The 100: Bellamy somehow outraces an explosion while crawling through an air vent.
  • In the German action series Alarm für Cobra 11 about 3200 cars have been crushed up to now, most of them in an exploding fashion with the main characters outrunning the fireball, of course.
  • Arrow:
    • Oliver does this after he is trapped in a warehouse with a bomb by the rival archer in "Year's End".
    • Combined with Super Window Jump in "Canaries" when Oliver and Roy do this to escape from a bomber by leaping through his apartment windows just after he presses the detonator.
  • In the Battlestar Galactica episode "Rapture", the Fleet is forced to evacuate its personnel from the Algae Planet and jump before the shockwave of the exploding star reaches them. The bit with the Raptors landing and Galactica jumping just before the shockwave reaches has a classic outrun-the-fireball feel. A straighter example occurs in season 1, with Cylon skinjob Anton Doral spotted and confronted on Galactica by Adama and Tighe. Unfortunately, he's wearing a bomb vest, and Tighe just about manages to dive and push both Adama and himself out of the path of the fireball and into a side corridor. Indeed, Adama does pretty much the same thing in the miniseries for Cylon Leoben, pushing him into cover from a shell dropped while loading.
  • A real-life version happened during the filming of the Blake's 7 episode "Star One". An explosion in a BBC Quarry was so loud that emergency services rushed to the site, and assistant cameraman Paul Godfrey had to run for his life when the wind blew the fireball in his direction, engulfing his camera in a ball of flame.
  • A somewhat literal example in Buffy the Vampire Slayer when Buffy outruns and rescues Andrew and Jonathan from Dark Willow's vengeance-seeking fireball.
  • The first season finale of Burn Notice climaxes with Michael and Sam escaping from an exploding boat. Michael doesn't flinch, while Sam (a retired Navy SEAL) is freaking the hell out - mainly because he'd just been tortured for a few days and didn't know the boat was going to blow.
    • The mid-second season finale ends with one of these as well.
    • And the series finale, where the final Big Bad tries to take Michael with him by bringing the whole building down on their heads and Michael escapes this way.
  • Played with on Chuck, almost exactly as stated above: The title character spots an active NSA incinerator in the car, and he and Casey run wildly to a safe distance away. (No diving, though.) Beat, embarrassed looks, then explosion. A more typical example is done in a later episode, with a pig in the Buy More air ducts.
  • From Community episode "Introduction to Statistics" Abed (as Batman) dragging Jeff and Pierce out of the library to Out Run The Collapsing Fort Made Out Of Desks.
  • CSI: Miami:
    • Played painfully straight: after surviving a super-tsunami striking Miami, Horatio then tops this by outdriving an exploding building in a Hummer. And then he drives into the building to save a kid, instead of, as a police officer, just calling the demolition company and telling them to delay the planned implosion.
    • In "Burn Baby Burn", Horatio finds a bomb in his Hummer; he calmly drives it to a piece of waste ground, takes off his sunglasses, gets out and WALKS CALMLY AWAY; as the vehicle explodes like an atom bomb behind him he CALMLY PUTS HIS GLASSES BACK ON and continues walking without showing any concern whatsoever.
  • In the episode of Deadliest Warrior "Jesse James vs. Al Capone", when showcasing the Pineapple Bomb, Al Capone calmly lights a cigarette while a Pineapple Bomb thrown by one of his gangsters explodes in the background.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The BBC's trailer for the first season of the new series featured Christopher Eccleston outrunning a fireball. The clip was shot specially for the trailer and did not appear in the series proper. There's also a very similar publicity photo for the third season involving the Doctor and Martha.
    • "The Lazarus Experiment": The Doctor attempts to kill the mutated Professor Lazarus by blowing up a lab. He then proceeds to outrun the fireball down a corridor.
    • "Voyage of the Damned": The Doctor out flies a fireball (with the assistance of robots).
    • "The Fires of Pompeii": The Doctor and Donna manage to outrun the advancing wall of volcanic ash and lava coming from Vesuvius all the way to Pompeii. Particularly impressive given that pyroclastic flows (the technical term) generally flow at around 700 kph.
    • "The Sontaran Stratagem" has the Doctor and a UNIT officer leap out of a car, run, and dive to the ground... only for the car's GPS unit to emit a small burst of sparks and some smoke.
      The Doctor: Oh, is that it?
  • The penultimate Dollhouse episode has Echo outrunning the fireball after blowing up Rossum's main computer in her unsuccessful attempt to prevent the thoughtpocalypse.
  • Emergency! had a couple. John Gage didn't make it in one case, and was injured in the explosion.
  • In the short-lived The Flash (1990) television series, one episode had Barry Allen try to outrun a missile homing on himself. The explosion somehow boosted his speed so much that he ended up a few years into the future. The missile was supposedly nuclear, although that would mean Pike would be within the blast radius.
  • Horatio Hornblower:
    • "The Wrong War"/"The Frogs and Lobsters" (part 4 of series 1): Lieutenant Horatio Hornblower and Acting Lieutenant Archie Kennedy outrun the fireball when the British Navy and Army blow up a bridge in France.
    • "Retribution" (part 2 of series 2): This time it is a young sailor Wellard.
    • Series 3 has Hornblower and his men destroy a French battery, which goes up in a fireball so violent it's astonishing anyone could survive being near it, but everyone does (including the Arc Villain, who walks out of the aftermath without a scratch). The book it was based on featured a similar explosion, but the raining debris there caused several deaths.
  • In the Jake 2.0 episode "Dead Man Talking", Jake tries to outrun a fireball, but (despite his nanobot enhancements) fails and gets engulfed and badly burned. He spends the most of the rest of the episode in an intensive care bed unable to move or communicate normally.
  • Played straight in the season five opener of Las Vegas, as Delinda outruns an explosion started by one of Danny's old marine comrades, a Shell-Shocked Veteran who was nice enough to give her a head start.
  • Lexx: the titular spaceship and its crew escape a supernova.
  • Leverage has the group try to do this in "The Nigerian Job". They wake up in a hospital. Nate fares slightly better in the season 2 opener. Parker does a sliding variant in the Hot Potato Job, in this case it is slightly justified in that the explosive was said to be thermite which actually is more of a burning effect than a more conventional explosion.
  • In the Pilot of Lois & Clark (and the Title Sequence of the series), Clark outruns a fireball while carrying Lois and Jimmy. Of course, he's Superman.
  • In the pilot episode of Lost, Jack, Hurley, and Claire run away from the falling (and exploding) wing of the plane. (They also fail to run sideways out of its path, making this an example of 1-Dimensional Thinking.)
  • When Samuel L. Jackson hosted the MTV Movie Awards, he had a sketch he called an "Acting Decathlon", where this very trope is an event.
  • In an episode of MythBusters, when Adam and Jamie were testing some movie myths, Adam had some mats set up and orchestrated things so that he could "dive to safety" as a car blew up for a myth they were testing fun. (There was no pretense of a myth, somebody donated a car, so they blew it up. Twice.) Though it did serve as an illustration of the difference between Hollywood style gasoline explosions and the real explosives used for military and demolitions purposes (The one Adam "dodged" was the Hollywood style explosion).
  • NCIS
    • Played with when Gibbs discovers a bomb in a house the team is investigating and they all dash out and dive for cover behind the car. And nothing happens. After spending 2 hours waiting behind the car, one of them suggests Gibbs might start looking into reading glasses. And the bomb promptly explodes.
    • In the season 3 finale, Abby and McGee are computer-modeling an explosion that Gibbs was almost killed in. Their conclusion is that the bomb was not actually placed where everybody assumed it had been, as there is no way Gibbs could have survived the blast even remotely intact unless he were able to outrun flying shrapnel in mid-air. Armed with this knowledge, they work out where the bomb had actually been placed and solve the mystery.
  • Person of Interest. The radical privacy group Vigilance rigs a dead drop located inside a lockup so it will soak in gasoline, then ignite if anyone else finds it. There's a brief scene where Reese helps Finch hobble away from the fireball, because he can't run due to his disability. They're already out of the lockup though, so it's just a matter of getting away from the blast area.
  • In Power Rangers Beast Morphers, Devon and Chase has to outrun the destruction of a Morph-X Tower after their final fight with Avatar Blaze. In an interesting subversion, they actually don't escape it as Chase has to carry Devon through the cybergate a few seconds after the explosion tears through.
  • Power Rangers Dino Fury: In "Void Trap", the Rangers outrun the destruction of Void Knight's machine.
  • Robin Hood: Guy of Gisborne outruns a fireball in the episode "A Thing Or Two About Loyalty".
  • SAS: Rogue Heroes. Jock Lewes runs from an exploding vehicle...and a piece of flying shrapnel catches him in the leg, fatally slowing him down when the enemy aircraft comes around for another strafing run.
  • In Smallville, Clark does this once to save Lana. Other times he usually just stands there.
  • Stargate SG-1 parodied this in the episode "Point of No Return". Our heroes find themselves in an abandoned building along with an amnesiac (but friendly) alien, and a strange beeping device. The alien tells them that the device is counting down to something, and so they all assume the worst and promptly run out of the building, screaming for everyone nearby to take cover, and dramatically leaping towards the camera at the last second just as... absolutely nothing happens. It turns out the device was counting down for the self-destruct of an escape pod that was several miles away.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: A variation in "Balance of Terror", where the Enterprise attempts to outrun an fireball-like Romulan weapon. The ship is hit, but the weapon's power is somewhat dissipated.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • In "The Killing Game", Janeway and Seven of Nine don't exactly have a fireball to outrun, but they still work in the classic dive-away-from-the-exploding-doors shot as they flee a Nazi headquarters as it's being blown up by artillery.
    • In "Year of Hell", a failed example of this trope is used to dramatic effect when the Doctor is forced to seal two crew members inside a collapsing deck (they were not fast enough to escape the approaching fireball, although we do not see it consume them).
  • In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Terminator Catherine Weaver does the Unflinching Walk from an exploding building, but doesn't even bother to out-pace the explosion, as immolation is hardly even an inconvenience for her.
  • In the Walker, Texas Ranger episode "War Zone", Walker and Trivette must outrun a bomb explosion set off in a house by a dead body whose noose activated it.

TV Movies:

  • Supervolcano: When the Yellowstone caldera erupts, the scientists monitoring the impending eruption realize to their horror that the pyroclastic flow (basically an extremely fast avalanche of burning ash and rock) is coming for them. They flee in a helicopter and a truck, but only the scientist in the helicopter survives.

  • The Lemon Demon song "Action Movie Hero Boy" parodies this trope in its chorus. Then it's parodied further when the song ends with the narrator tripping and getting badly burned by his home-made pyrotechnics.
    'Hey look at me, casually
    Walking away like Action Movie Hero Boy
    In slow-mo, everything glowing
    And blowing to bits right behind me!

    Hey, look at me, casually
    Stumbling down like Action Movie Blooper Reels
    In slow-mo, everything glowing
    And blowing to bits, including me!
  • The cover of Damageplan's first and only album featured the band members doing this, but much more badass.
  • The cover art for Metro Boomin's debut album, Not All Heroes Wear Capes, shows the producer's silhouette jumping away from an explosion.

  • A variation appears in Williams Electronics' Earthshaker!, where a jogger on the playfield is frantically attempting to outrun a fissure cracking open right behind her.
  • The sides of the Lethal Weapon 3 backbox show Riggs and Murtaugh running away from an explosion.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Paranoia has nuclear hand grenades, which work perfectly... except that the blast radius is about 500 meters, whereas your average PC can only throw them about 50. For some reason, Friend Computer has yet to be informed of this design flaw.

    Video Games 
  • Assault Retribution: A few levels end with the player running for dear life while everything explodes behind them, until they reach an exit. Notably the second stage, after a Kill Sat destroys the mutant base and the player is informed to leave before everything goes up in smoke.
    "Half-toasted and nearly eaten alive, all in one day. I love this job."
  • First Encounter Assault Recon:
    • There's a point where the player must shoot the lock off a gate, but in doing so they ignite a a burst gas main, causing a massive fireball that they must then outrun. Irritatingly, the lock cannot be blown up with explosives or shot off from a distance, and the explosion cannot be triggered by firing a weapon close to the main.
    • Earlier on in the game, your first encounter with Alma plays out like this: she slowly stalks you down a hallway as everything around her starts exploding or spontaneously catching fire. Run towards her or let her catch up to you, and you die. Run away from her and everything explodes anyway, but you get thrown out the window by the shockwave instead.
    • The last two intervals of the game involve you setting the Origin Facility to blow just after Alma is released from the Vault and escaping, all while Alma sends her ghosts after you. You narrowly make it out just as the place blows.
    • The expansion pack Perseus Mandate has a point where you witness the Origin Facility's destruction from the Sergeant's perspective. In this sequence, you have to escape through a hallway that leads underground to avoid being caught in the blast.
  • Half-Life: The player is climbing through a narrow pipe when a soldier throws a satchel in at one end — the player must then back quickly out of the pipe to avoid getting caught in the fireball.
    • The fireball is only scripted to go in one direction, and the satchel charge that causes it does no actual damage on its own, so you can also avoid the blast by running towards it and getting on or behind the satchel charge before it goes off.
    • In Episode One the ending sequence involves Gordon and Alyx taking a train out of City 17 before the Citadel reactor explodes. They don't quite make it far enough.
  • Halo has many of these occurrences in some of the games:
    • Combat Evolved has you escaping the Pillar Of Autumn in a Warthog before it blows, taking the ring with it.
    • Halo 3 has two of three of these sequences:
      • The first has you arming a bomb in the UNSC Crow's Nest base as a "little going-away gift for the Covenant". You make it to the elevator just as the bomb goes off.
      • The second one occurs in the Flood-infested High Charity, where, after rescuing Cortana, you destroy the city's reactors and escape.
      • The third one is a callback Combat Evolved example above, with you escaping in a Warthog once again. This time, from the activation of the newly-constructed replacement for the ring you destroyed in the first game.
    • Halo 4 has another vehicle escape sequence earlier in the game, but this time in a Ghost. After the Didact's awakening, the player has to escape from a collapsing canyon that's being sucked away by a gravity well.
  • Hardspace: Shipbreaker: Quasar-type thrusters, found most often in Atlas-class ships, have a baffling design flaw that ensures the only way to reach the valve that shuts off fuel to the whole assembly is to burn your way through the cutting points holding the engine, which means everything will catch on fire anyways. You must then quickly yank out the engine and race the fire to the end, so you can pull the valve and shut off the fuel before the flames reach the fuel tank and blow everything up.
  • Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime: Sometimes after rescuing friends, a bomb appears and explodes which you have to escape from to avoid massive damage. Thankfully, the explosion is pretty slow.
  • Renegade Ops: The renegades open a prison box, hoping to find Genawi. instead they find an armed LVA warhead with 10 seconds on the timer. Time to step on that speeder across a rapidly crumbling bridge.
  • Freelancer: When the archaeological site in Planet Sprague is blown away, you can see a Red Shirt trying to run away from the explosion that slowly approaches in slow-mo... However, he is also running in slow-mo, and thus he gets swallowed by the fireball.
  • Star Fox 64 ends with you trying to escape Andross' underground base before being consumed by a fireball behind you in both the easy and normal/hard playthroughs. In an easy playthrough, the chase is all part of a cutscene, but in the normal/hard playthroughs you have to navigate the narrow passages yourself while being led by (the ghost/a hallucination of?) Fox's father.
  • Spider-Man (2000) ends with you being chased by Monster Ock, the combination of the Carnage symbiote and Doctor Octopus. After the level, a fireball begins to chase the pair of you down a corridor, but Spidey manages to avoid it by spinning a web up an alcove in the ceiling, dodging the fireball. Monster Ock is not so lucky, but the symbiote manages to save Doctor Octopus and leaves him simply unconscious.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • At the end of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic outruns the fireball caused by Robotnik's exploding mech. This is pretty standard stuff for Sonic, considering he can run at the speed of sound, but if one turns on the game's debug mode, stops the scene and then restarts it, the player can control Sonic and the fireball will follow Sonic wherever he goes.
    • Sonic tries this again during the finale of Sonic Colors, this time up against a black hole created by the rampant Hyper-go-on energy. Seeing that nothing—not even light—can escape it once pulled in, Sonic, who can only normally break the sound barrier, actually fails. (You do get to play the sequence, where Sonic manages to keep away from the black hole for 30 seconds at most.) Fortunately, Wisps save him while also neutralizing the black hole (presumably since it was made from Hyper-go-on energy, which the Wisps naturally produce and control).
    • This happens during Sonic Generations in Chemical Plant where the plant suffers a meltdown and the Sonics have to run away from the destruction.
    • In Sonic Mania, Tails, Knuckles and a fewer-than-seven-Chaos Emeralds-collected Sonic will hop into a cart to escape Eggman's base as it explodes. In the Sonic Mania Plus update, Mighty and Ray join in on the escape and if you collect the Chaos Emeralds in Encore Mode all five turn Super and zip past an escaping Eggman, who gets sucked into the rampant Phantom Ruby.
    • The fan-hack game Sonic Boom (no relation to the 2014 Sonic Boom game series) has the game's final level be Sonic outracing a massive fireball caused by the Power Plant's reactor going critical; getting caught in it saps your rings, and the explosion is fast enough that you have to be racing away at max speed the whole level if you don't want to die.
  • A very literal example of this happened in the first Baldur's Gate game. The original Dungeons & Dragons spell "Fireball" is instantaneous; you can't run away from it once it goes off. The game, however, animated the spell slowly enough that running away from it was plausible. The expansion pack Tales of the Sword Coast "fixed" this by letting characters run away from Fireball spells and not get damaged.
  • Kingdom of Loathing concludes one pivotal battle with "a slow-motion bomb, magically enchanted to make the ensuing explosion happen so slowly that anyone could just barely outrun it and find shelter." Not only that, but "You even have time to pick up the adorable puppy who is staring at the explosion and whimpering."
  • Resident Evil 4. The game ends with Leon and Ashley on a Jet Ski outracing an incredibly large mass of water.
  • In the first mission in Jedi Outcast, you have to blow up a generator blocking your path in order to proceed with the mission, but any attempt will result in Kyle Katarn becoming a very crispy corpse. Instead, avert 1-Dimensional Thinking by running into a room and letting the fireball pass you by.
    • Another way to do it is to simply shut down the generator and casually stroll past it, though admittedly this makes for a less dramatic moment.
    • It is also possible to JUST make it with a well aimed thermal detonator to get a head start.
  • Again in Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance, the final mission has you flying the Millenium Falcon, into and subsequently out of the Death Star. Which is exploding after you're done with it. Rogue Leader on Gamecube depicts the same battle from the movie and also features an example.
  • Once again in Shadows of the Empire, which had you trying to escape the Skyhook... Except unless you are extremely good or just plain cheat, won't be able to make it out, and the ending goes by normally. In reality, Dash actually survives thanks to a very precise hyper-space jump, as the medium mode reveals.
  • Tomb Raider III has a rocket in the Area 51 level where you had to launch it in order to progress. The button to launch it is at the base of the rocket. Once you press it, the rocket takes off and its flaming exhaust starts filling the room, forcing you to sprint into a narrow room to outrun the fireball and you'll die instantly if it touches you. Similarly, Tomb Raider II has an escape sequence where Lara flees from a fireball formed from the collapsing lair after killing the Big Bad and the explosion throws her outside.
  • In Final Fantasy X, Cid blows up the Al Bhed stronghold Home, and the resulting fireball actually catches his fleeing airship for a few seconds. No harm done, though. Not even the airship's "skirt" hanging from the aft is singed.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: At the end of "The Ultimate Weapon", the final storyline quest of A Realm Reborn, you ride a Magitek walker out of the Praetorium as it self-destructs in the wake of Ultima Weapon's defeat.
  • In Descent, every level ends with you outrunning the blast from the exploding reactor at the heart of the mine, regardless of how much time there is actually left until said explosion. This brings up an interesting question or two when doing multiplayer, where each player will see themselves outrun the blast, even if someone else still has time remaining.
  • The final mission in FreeSpace 2 starts out as the second half of an Escort Mission in which you try to evacuate as many people as possible from the Capella system before the only remaining jump point gets collapsed, preventing the massive fleet of Shivans from following into human space. With still half the evacuation fleet minutes away from the jump point, Command sends out an urgent message to all ships that the Shivans just blew up the star and there are only seconds left to reach the jump point before the shockwave arrives. If you kept to the back of the convoy to protect stragglers, you're probably not going to make it.note 
    • During one of the special missions, your reconnaissance wing discovers huge mysterious machines deep within Shivan space. When you destroy them, your commander notes that there are strange energy readings coming from the collapsing wreck and you should get away as fast as you can.
    • Also happens any time you destroy a capital ship with a bomber and you try to get inside the minimum range of their point defense weapons to ensure your missiles aren't shot down.
  • Jackson's squad does this with a nuke in Call of Duty 4, saving the pilot of a downed helicopter while they are at it. But the shockwave was faster.
    • There's also the bit in the flashback mission "One Shot, One Kill" where you have to abseil out of the abandoned hotel before the attack helicopter blows up your sniper nest. And running for the blast door in "No Fighting in the War Room" when the remaining missiles launch.
  • The first Russian mission in Call of Duty: World at War has you escape an explosion TWICE. The first time the player jumps out a window as an armored car and flamethrowers attack your building, and while you make it out in time, your comrade is blown out the window by a massive explosion. At the end of the mission, the two of you are escaping a tank, and this time your positions are reversed where YOU narrowly avoid getting blown up by a tank by jumping out the window into the river.
  • Deus Ex has this as one of the endings. The last you see of JC Denton is him running away after he blew up Area 51's bunker while still deep inside.
  • At the end of the original Turok for the Nintendo 64, Turok had to escape from an exploding tower with a pillar of flame only a few inches from his backside. If you take sufficient damage by the end of the preceding boss fight, Turok's right leg is broken in the cutscene - and he still manages to get out safely. Pretty sure the leg thing is a glitch.
  • The ending of Metal Slug 4 has you running for your life in a crate-littered tunnel as explosions chase you. Fail to shoot one of the crates and you end up smacking against it and being burnt to a crisp...
  • Avernum 2 has an enemy fortress you escape by running across the roof while quickfire devastates everything right behind you. There are plenty of other times you have to outrun quickfire as well. Fleeing from quickfire wasn't retired from gameplay until Avernum 4. Before that it was featured in every game, and the Exile trilogy before that.
  • Max Payne 2 has Max outrunning multiple fireballs in an exploding restaurant. Causing and dodging fireballs is also required in order to progress. Thankfully, bullet time helps. Same for Punchinello's restaurant in the first game.
  • Mario Party 4: In the minigame Avalanche!, the characters have to slide through a snowy mountain and jump off a cliff before an avalanche engulfs them. Whoever gets there first wins; but if the avalanche ends up engulfing everyone, the minigame ends in a draw.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: There are multiple instances of characters escaping from the Subspace Bombs. Yoshi is the only character to literally run away from a bomb, which he does while carrying Mario. Everyone else is ferried either away by Kirby's Warp Star, or Captain Falcon's Falcon Flyer.
  • In Onimusha 3: Demon Siege, there is a cutscene where the protagonists manage to (barely) outrun a fireball caused by an exploding Mont Saint-Michel by car.
  • Metroid:
    • A regular feature as the final challenge of games. Upon felling the Final Boss— who is apparently a Load-Bearing Boss— with your 11th-Hour Superpower type weapon, the whole place starts coming down around you and you have a running timer to get to your ship before the place explodes and you die.
    • Shortly after authorizing the Wave Beam in Metroid: Other M, Samus is forced to outrun an avalanche after activating a lift. Since this happens after you get Speed Booster authorized (and you had to use it multiple times in that very room), you can guess how Samus gets out of the way.
  • The escape from the Juda Central System in RayStorm after you defeat the last boss.
  • In Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, there is a scene where you must contain a conduit explosion (which creates a fireball, naturally) with a force-field, while a redshirt is trying to outrun it. You can trap the redshirt behind the force-field and watch him being vaporized with no penalty.
  • In Axelay, after defeating the stationary Final Boss, the Organic Engine that makes up the last stage explodes; the ship must then escape the destruction... and fend off the Final Boss one more time. Touching the boss or its projectiles is deadly, but backing into the explosion at the left edge of the screen is not.
  • Contra:
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, one level has Anakin racing to escape from the Harvester before it consumes him.
  • In the ending of [PROTOTYPE], Alex dumps a nuclear bomb into the ocean and flies away in a helicopter, but isn't fast enough to get out of range of the explosion. Earlier in the game, Elizabeth Greene's One-Winged Angel form has the ability to shoot out a huge blast of fire from the base. The screen will go grayscale, time will slow down, and you'll run your ass off hoping to make it to high ground before it fries your health to critical no matter how much you have.
  • In Soldier of Fortune, the protagonist John Mullins can't seem to end a mission without having to run away from an explosion (usually one of his own making).
  • One of the built-in missions in the Elite remake Oolite is to outrun the fireball of the sun in your current system going nova.
    • Another variation from the same: Properly deploying the Sphere of Destruction-generating Quirium mine relies on this tactic ("proper deployment" in this case involving dropping the mine, then running as fast as your witchfuel injector can take you).
  • Basically the whole point of the online game Dino Run, where you play as a dinosaur outrunning the asteroid impact explosion. You can even get bonus points for 'surfing' the 'pyroclastic wall of doom' and surviving.
  • In Mass Effect 2, the Normandy is forced to outrun the explosion that takes the Collector Base and kills the Human-Reaper for good. There are two choices; take the other and you're outrunning a timed radiation pulse instead.
    • Also in the cutscene at the end of Jack's loyalty mission, when Jack detonates the bomb a bit prematurely.
    • In Mass Effect 3, all endings have the Normandy trying to outrun the space magic wave, complete with the equipment in the cockpit beginning to overheat and explode. The Extended Cut has it escape unscathed if your EMS is high enough.
  • The Demoman does this in his Meet the Cast trailer for Team Fortress 2.
In the end of the Axis Chemicals level in Batman Doom, you press a switch that causes a huge wall of explosions to chase you down a street all the way to the Batmobile, all while you're trying to avoid pesky landmines on the way.
  • The "Final Run" level in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. You have to run from the encroaching fire and explosions behind you, while quickly taking down constant waves of Mooks in front of you.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has most of the bosses exploding after being defeated, making Snake duck and cover, but The Fury's post-boss cinema gets a special mention for this trope: Being a specialist in using a flamethrower, his explosion manifests into a 'giant fiery face' that Snake literally has to outrun. The look on Snake's face is 'priceless'.
  • Chris does this in the ending cutscene of Resident Evil – Code: Veronica.
  • Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty has a mission where you must outrun a fire wave caused by a supernova, while building up your army to fight through the enemy and retrieve an artifact.
  • In F-22 Lightning 3, you can equip your Cool Plane with tactical nukes, that, when fired, can take down your airplane if you don't outrun fast enough the shockwave/EMP Pulse.
  • During a cutscene in the last mission of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, CJ does this to escape an explosion in Big Smoke's "Crack Palace", complete with Slow Motion.
  • Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi follows the movie counterpart in the final level. After destroying the Death Star's main reactor, you have to pilot your ship through a labyrinth of tunnels without crashing into too many walls or the fireball will catch up and quickly drain your shields.
  • Played straight in a cutscene of the Sid Meier's Pirates! remake during the siege of a city. After the player beats the guard captain, the cutscene shows the captain being pushed into a tower full of gunpowder barrels. The player character throws a lit torch into the tower, and both then try to outrun the explosion. The player character is seen diving off the fort wall just before the fireball reaches him.
  • In R-Type 2 (also known as Super R-Type on the SNES) the player's R9 Arrowhead destroys the Bydo Core and then escapes the exploding base by flying through a narrow shaft. However, the ship slows down —the shaft led to a dead end! It's then that four allied R9s (previously kept captive by the boss) emerge from the fireball, Wave Cannons charged and ready, to blast an opening through the wall.
  • In the first Far Cry game, Jack Carver and Valerie Constantine detonate a nuclear bomb and must fight their way out of the bunker to avoid being caught in the blast or mutated. They outrun the explosion, but are rendered unconscious. It is revealed the anti-mutagens they had taken were fake and the bomb had mutated them.
    • Earlier in the game, Jack detonates a bomb to blow up a communications dish, and must run down a corridor to escape, as the fireball chases after him.
  • Played interestingly straight in Neverwinter Nights (and similar Dungeons & Dragons based games) when it's possible for Area Of Effect spells to hurt the caster. In particular with the Hellball spell which has to be cast from within its own blast radius, meaning the Player Character must run away immediately after casting in order to avoid being hit by the blast.
  • Veigues: Tactical Gladiator shows this in the ending cutscene, after the battleship's core is destroyed. The TurboGrafx-16 version reduces the animation to one still frame.
  • You can pull this off in the space rogue-like Transcendence if you destroy a station that makes a big enough boom. Firing the last shot while going over top of the station starts the explosion, and if you’re flying away from the station when you do it, it’s entirely possible to stay just ahead of the shockwave if your ship is fast enough. Trying this in a freighter is more likely to turn into an Out of the Inferno moment instead (as long as your shields aren’t completely roasted in the process).
  • This can happen in Minecraft if a player gets careless with TNT. A pile of TNT can easily kill a player and vaporise anything they're holding; as such, if one happens to ignite (from a nearby lava source, a sudden spread of flame, or a griefer), standard operating procedure is to abandon whatever you're doing and run like hell, hoping you escape the blast radius.
  • In Time Crisis 5, Luke, Marc, and Keith do this upon defeating Wild Fang.
  • In Wing Commander III, after Blair drops the Temblor Bomb on Kilrah, the game switches to a cutscene of his fighter trying to outrun the Planar Shockwave of the exploding planet, but fails to avoid crippling damage, leaving him stranded in space until his fighter is tractored aboard a Kilrathi Dreadnought.
  • Pony Island: It's technically a full system dump you have to stay ahead of, but the trope still applies in the finale of the game.
  • In one room of Ori and the Blind Forest's Lethal Lava Land Final Dungeon, Ori has to run from an Aladdin-style lava flow.
  • Dino Crisis in each ending has the protagonists outrun not an explosion (although there are explosions going on), but a time warp that's consuming the entire facility and possibly throwing it back to the dinosaur age.
  • Shadow of the Wool Ball: The end cutscene of every level shows the protagonist running away as the facility blows up. The ending likewise shows the hero and his girlfriend cheerfully running away from a final giant explosion.
  • Doom II has "Barrels O' Fun" for its 23rd level, involving several segments where enemies can set off large chains of exploding barrels.
  • Red Faction:
    • The first game has three of these occurrences: first, after the player defeats Capek, a 60-second self-destruct sequence is initiated. Second, the player initiates a missile launch sequence with the missile bay doors jammed closed by Hendrix, and has to rush back to the tram to escape. Finally, to destroy the space station, the player overloads the station's reactor.
    • Red Faction II has two occurrences: first, you plant three charges and have to return to your squadmate Quill before they detonate. Second, you plant three charges to destroy an ammo dump and have 45 seconds to get out, with the cutscene afterwards showing Alias and Repta running away from the explosion.
  • The fight with the Armor Spider in Demon's Souls requires you to do this a few times. In addition to literal balls of fire that you have to dodge, one of the spider's attacks is to fill the entire area with a huge, spreading wall of fire; the only way to avoid it is to run back up the corridor and wait for it to stop. In the remake, this was visually changed to spraying flammable liquid on the floor and lighting it.
  • At the end of ZeroRanger, after destroying Despair, you have to escape the alien planetoid as it explodes. As the explosion gets closer and closer your ship starts to shed its weapons in order to go faster. Depending on whether you've already beaten the game at least once, your ship either gets crippled as it flies out into space, or survives the escape.

    Web Animation 
  • Mystery Skulls Animated: In "Ghost", Arthur, Vivi and Mystery just barely manage to outrun a giant explosion of purple fire as it engulfs the haunted mansion, jumping out the doors as a blast of fire follows after them.
  • Season 6 of Red vs. Blue ends with the Reds and Blues driving away from an EMP pulse before their cars and the Epsilon memory unit are affected by it.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Burden"; after the demented six-year-old school hamster Chris Morris turns a lamp and Bunsen burner into an explosive trap, Gumball and Darwin are forced to outrun the explosion. They dramatically jump too soon, then the wall of flames engulfs them.
  • This is also done on Beast Wars on more than a few occasions. Not to mention that it's seen in the opening sequence of every episode of the first season.
  • Spoofed in Family Guy in the episode "Peter's Daughter": Stewie and Brian jump out of the way from the blast of a house blowing up. Stewie and Brian, as well as the house exploding, are flashed on the screen numerous times at several different angles.
  • Parodied in an episode of Futurama, when a movie the main characters were watching featured a fight in a special effects warehouse, causing one of the characters to say, "Hurry, Calculon, before a fireball chases someone down a hallway!"
  • Parodied in the Invader Zim episode "Walk For Your Lives", where the entire episode is focused on a bomb that explodes and creates an explosion that is incredibly slow. As the episode title suggests, civilians could literally outwalk the aforementioned explosion.
  • Justice League and Batman: The Animated Series had inversions of this trope. Batman and the Flash each had scenarios where he grabbed a bomb and ran it out of town as it detonated, in his hands in super-slow motion. At normal speed, The resulting fireball OUTRAN the civilians.
  • All the Looney Tunes style "run straight away from the falling tree". But in those, they never do outrun the fireball falling tree.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Parodied in "Homer Badman", when Homer is running away from an angry mob at a candy convention he kicks a soda kiosk, catches an ejected soda can, grabs a bag of pop rocks out of his pocket, opens them with his teeth as if they were a grenade, combines them, shakes them, and delivers the Pre-Mortem One-Liner "See You in Hell, candy boys!", throws it at the angry mob. He leaps towards the camera as the convention center explodes in a huge fireball behind him. The producers described that scene as a parody of "every Bruce Willis movie ever made".
    • Similarly, "The Twisted World Of Marge Simpson" features Homer hiring the mafia to protect Marge's pretzel business from competitors. They blow up the competitors' falafel wagon. Maude is talking to Chief Wiggum who guides her through the process for throwing herself on the floor in front of the fireball.
    • Spoofed in "Viva Ned Flanders", in which just after Monty Burn's Casino is demolished Homer and his family get into his car to try to escape of the dust cloud caused by the demolition. However, Homer's car enters in reverse into the dust cloud.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • "Rising Malevolence": At the climax, Anakin has to fly the Twilight out of a debris field to where it'll be safe to pull a Hyperspeed Escape with the giant wheel-shaped ion blast from the Malevolence's superweapon bearing down on the ship, which will deactivate its systems and leave it easy prey for the giant warship's turbolasers if it catches them.
    • "Jedi Crash": Everyone has to run to the escape ship from Aayla's exploding cruiser. A couple of clones don't make it, and Anakin realizes the rest of the group is going to be overcome as well, so he stops and Force-pushes everyone else past the next blast door. While he's able to keep the flames mostly off himself using the Force, the concussive blast knocks him out and Ahsoka and Aayla have to cut the door open and drag him the rest of the way.
    • "Defenders of Peace": When the Defoliator cannon is being tested, Captain Rex and Commander Bly, who were out in the tall grass scouting what the Separatists were doing, are forced to flee the advancing wall of fire from the anti-organic weapon so they can fire grappling lines back into the tree where the Jedi are. Bly nearly doesn't make it due to tripping on a stick on the ground just as he fires his line, so Aayla Secura does a Vine Swing to rescue him.
    • "Landing at Point Rain": After sending down the explosives to blow up a Separatist barrier wall, Anakin and Ahsoka Force-throw Rex off the wall without warning before jumping off themselves, leading to the three of them falling through the air as the wall blows up behind them.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In "Zero Hour", once Ezra and the Mandalorians manage to destroy one of the gravity well generators on the Interdictor, Ezra has to outrun the blast because he doesn't have a jetpack, just a limited thruster. He makes it in time, partially due to getting to a point where the explosion itself gave him a bit of a boost to the ship the group is escaping on.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: In "Apokolips... Now!", Darkseid abandons Bruno Mannheim to die on an island with an exploding nuclear reactor. Mannheim desperately gets in a motorboat to leave the island, but he doesn't get far enough and still dies when the reactor blows.
  • Thunderbirds Are Go: In "Flame Out", Virgil and firefighting expert Kip Harris are attempting to plug a gas leak at a hydro-methane storage facility when an explosion out at sea sends a shockwave towards them. They turn and run as the gas ignites and explodes behind them.
  • An episode of Xavier: Renegade Angel spoofed this in its usual manner; it featured a sentient explosion which actively chased the protagonist as he asked everyone where the lake was, so that he could drown it. It was one of the more believable scenes of the series.

    Real Life 
  • 9/11:
  • After the second of the three blasts of the 1970 Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, in which three members of the left-wing Weather Underground terrorist group were quite literally Hoist By Their Own Petard, Cathy Wilkerson and Kathy Boudin, both of whom survived because they were two stories upstairs from where the victims were either building the bomb in the basement or re-entering the building, were able to escape the ruins just before the third and strongest blast, which knocked over a police officer trying to catch up to them,note  leveled what was left of the building and rendered the neighboring buildingsnote  uninhabitable.
  • In-air explosions are weak against Soft Water, as demonstrated by the MythBusters in "Dive to Survive".
  • A photograph exists of a pyroclastic cloud tumbling down Mount Unzen in Japan. On the road in front of the cloud is a fire engine, in front of THAT is a single man running for his life. You can see the video here. The pyroclastic cloud never actually reaches the place where the man was. However, it unfortunately kills a group of people who film volcanoes who were in the valley itself where the cloud was being channelled down. If it had reached the place where that man was, he probably wouldn't be alive today.
  • A small but amusing example, but there have been some rather off phenomena with storms - not hurricanes, mind you, but small rain showers and blizzards. They actually seemed to travel up a street, or even up and down a street, literally going back and forth! Thus some people have tried (For fun) to try to outrun the storm, but at least it's better than trying to outrun a pyroclastic flow.
  • According to tales told by some USGS employees, a team of vulcanologists outran the blast at Mt. Saint Helens in a car; they were miles away, but their starting position was inside the (eventual) radius of the pyroclastic cloud (it should be stated that if their starting point was near the starting point of the flow they would not be alive).
    • Two other geologists were in a chartered plane almost directly above the summit of Mt. Saint Helens when it blew. Their pilot applied full throttle and put the plane into a steep dive to get away from the blast cloud; even at their top speed of approximately 200 knots, the cloud nearly caught up to them, but they managed to outrun it and land safely in Portland.
  • This is possible but mostly with high incendiary and low kinetic reactions that may just be borderline explosive. Napalm, thermite, and gasoline explosions come to mind. Rapidly expanding pyroclastic flows can be outrun IF you're in a vehicle, or if you are far enough away that you can reach cover or get out of the flow's range before the flow catches up to you.
  • Pyroclastic Flows and Pyroclastic Surges [as well as volcanic eruptions in general] are possibly the only exceptions to this trope in real life due to the fact they can reach well over 500 mph, even when going up hills. Very few people have survived pyroclastic flows, mostly because they weren't actually in the killer currents, rather they were either inside a structure when it passed over, or they were caught on the edge of one, but somehow still lived despite very ugly burns. One guy on the Island of Martinique happened to be a prisoner locked in an underground dungeon at the right time the minute Mt. Pelee snapped and went John Rambo on the city of Saint-Pierre. Due to how hot Pyroclastic Density Currents are and how human brains (and heads) explode when engulfed in intense temperatures, we all knew what the results would be for the poor sods who happened to get caught lacking by the mountain.
    • Then there's Vesuvius, another volcano, that lost its marbles on two Ancient cities in 79 A.D. and brutally neutralized all the residents that were trying to escape the mountain's wrath going Postal on the poor bastards... with a fucking pyroclastic surge. Mind you, the unbelievable high temperatures of Pyroclastic Flows and Pyroclastic Surges are capable of exploding entire human bodies though this is usually very rare and for good reason, but because human heads are far more susceptible popping under extreme temperatures because of being made of mostly water... their heads exploded.
  • Fires are definitely this due to the fact they move very fast when it's very hot.
    • Back drafts are this times 8. A back draft (for those who don't know) is the abrupt burning of superheated gasses in a fire, caused when oxygen rapidly enters a hot, oxygen-depleted environment; for example, when a window or door to an enclosed space is opened or broken. In other words, it's like a Pyroclastic Flow, only smaller yet still capable of blowing your head off and immediately combusting you. This only happens when fire is burning in an enclosed area and someone is stupid enough to open a door, break a hole in the wall, or find some way to bring in fresh oxygen into a sealed up area that's currently burning.
    • And the mother of all burning structures, flashover points are this taken up to eleven. A flashover point is when anything and everything around a currently burning fire begins to automatically and spontaneously ignite. Think of a flasover point as lava touching a completely wooden house doused with gallons of gasoline, except without the explosion.
  • Volcanic eruptions in general can be this depending on the VEI rating they receive.
    • Mt. St. Helens was this when it erupted in 1980. It knocked down an entire forest like a stack of cards and murdered whatever animals happened to be in the way. Humans, deer, any animals that were within 3 miles of the mountain were screwed!
    • Supervolcanic eruptions are definitely fireballs you don't ever want to see close up. They're the largest of volcanic eruptions and usually, the main eruption is always the deadliest.
  • Try running away from a lava flow down the steep slope of a volcano. Go on try it, we dare you.
  • Just plain being on a volcano can potentially turn into this because they are highly unpredictable to the point where most predictions are just mere guesses on when they might erupt. In fact, one news broadcast some few years ago saw an American tourist and her group of friends visiting one of the Icelandic volcanoes (apparently their first time seeing one of them in person) and it erupts without warning with lava flying everywhere.
  • Semi Trucks carrying tankers full of flammable fluids and even static storage tanks are practically ticking time bombs without fuses. There have been a few incidents where people had to escape tanker trucks that were on fire. One incident involved a Texas oil storage tank that exploded gave people third degree burns no matter how far away they were from it. It was like being in the center of a forest fire.
  • In The Toyota War between Libya and Chad, Chadian forces got past anti-tank minefields by driving their Toyota Hilux technicals as fast as they could over them counting on being past them by the time they explode. This worked repeatedly, but resulted in casualties.

Alternative Title(s): Outrunning The Fireball


See you in hell, candy boys!

For a few moments, Homer was an action hero.

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Main / OutrunTheFireball

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