By Grant Clark
Because that’s the date of the 2nd Annual JBLM Zombie Apocalypse Run – a unique 5K run/walk event that is equal parts fun run and George A. Romero horror flick as runners will not only have to overcome the course, but also an army of zombies which have been thrown into the mix.
“The cool thing about our event is we’re on an Army post,” said Bill Strock, one of the event’s organizers. “We work with the Department of Emergency Services on the base. The EMPs and the fire department are involved. The first thing runners will see is a cop car with a MP. We use some older military equipment and warehouses, which are already creepy to begin with, and add fog and music, and it looks just like you’ve been place in a horror movie where a toxic outbreak has occurred.”
Each runner will have red flags fasten to a belt (think flag football) with the goal of finishing/surviving the race with all your flags attached. It will not be easy as a steady wave of reanimated ghouls are unleashed on participants, determined to relieve you of your flags. Those who finish with at least one flag will be entered into a prize drawing.
The Zombie Apocalypse Run also provides an answer to one of history’s great debates. Yes, the zombies are fast moving.
“We were kind of forced to make them a little quicker,” Strock said. “They’re around the speed of the zombies in the (movie) Zombieland.”
Blasphemy, for any traditionalist, but at least you know what’s in store for you. Think ultra-quick remake “Dawn of Dead” zombies as opposed to slow and lumbering original “Dawn of the Dead” zombies. Technically these running creatures aren’t zombies in the truest sense, but semantics aside it does make for a far more challenging obstacle for the runner.
Now that you know what you are facing, here’s a few tips on how to survive the Zombie Apocalypse Run.
Contrary to the title of the Val Lewton-produced 1943 atmospheric classic I Walked with a Zombie, you do, in fact, want to be quick on your feet while fleeing hordes of the undead. Now, that’s not to imply you need to be the fastest. You only really need to be faster than one other member in your group. Zombies aren’t picky. The moment one latches on to some unfortunate soul the rest of the mob will follow suit and join in the feast, completely ignoring the other people they were chasing. Make your move then – it’s probably what your slower friend would have wanted.
Sure, the second floor of some suburban mall or the local pub to hole up in sounds appealing at first, but sooner or later, usually somewhere in the third act, those resurrected fiends will find a way in. And you’re right back to the chase. Skip to the end – run from the beginning. (Plus it’s only a 5K, you really don’t have time for that other stuff).
This has nothing to do with zombies. Water is just really, really important for any workout regimen. Oh, also remember to wear comfortable shoes.
If you can’t beat em…
Let’s be honest, there’s just too many of them. After all, there’s more than 10 times as many people buried in the earth than walking on it. It’s a numbers game. Unlike other movie monsters who may be more cunning or physically superior, zombies rely on pure head count to conqueror and devour. On a long enough timeline, zombies will win. So, why not save yourself and them a lot of time and effort, and just join the ranks of the flesh-eaters from the start! You can do at the Zombie Apocalypse Run.
The event is always looking for volunteers. And yes, that means cast members too. Ever dream of ghouling it up and preying on brains (or in this case, strategically-placed red flags)? Now here’s your chance.
“Last year we had 90 zombies,” Strock said. “We’re always looking for more if you can play by our game plan.”
A pre-race briefing will occur on October 10 at 6:20 p.m. with the first wave of runners starting at 6:30 p.m. Race day packets are available for pickup between 4:40 and 6:15 p.m.
Early registered participants will receive a shirt in the size requested. All registered participants will receive a medal and will be eligible for a chance to win a door prize, including a Dell Laptop, one of two $50 gift certificates to the Lakewood Costume Shop, and three tattoo gift certificates valued at $60 each.
To register visit jblmmwr.com/races/zombie or call (253) 967-4768 for more information.