The zombies are taking over Fletcher Park, as survivors run for their lives during the Zombie 5K Year 2 event to raise funds and awareness for local life-affirming ministries.
Hosted by Westwood Baptist’s college group, this unique event set for Saturday at 5 p.m., is open to all in the community. All ages are invited to join in on this journey of survival through the various obstacles throughout the run.
“This is a great event. There were a lot of people I did not know there to support the various causes and we all had a wonderful time. I met some people I still keep in touch with and am looking forward to running with again,” said John Hegeman, a runner in and survivor of last year’s Zombie 5K run.
This year the event will be bigger and better than last, with more obstacles, zombies and an added charity. Last year, more than $4,000 was raised through this fun-filled run for New Hope Pregnancy Care Center and Foundation House Ministries. This year, Second Life of Chattanooga was added.
“The atmosphere was very nice and friendly. Everyone was enjoying the day and having a good time,” Hegeman said. “Initially I went by myself last year, but I ended up running with a group of people that I have never met before. We were going at the same pace and decided to get through together.”
Whether you run alone or group up, this is a run to survive from the virus-infected zombies. Hegeman referred to the popular saying, “safety in numbers,” which was his strategy to make it to the end.
“The zombies were pretty heavily grouped in various areas and spread out over the whole course. You can go easy during those places they are scarce and can slip by some if you kept up with people and sprint through those areas. That’s not the most cunning strategy, but it did work,” Hegeman said.
Participation was high last year with over 150 people coming to the run. The 30 college students from Westwood Baptist hope to see an even greater crowd come out this year.
“This is different from other runs. It was a lot of fun and good for any ages to do,” said Timothy Shackleford, a college student from Westwood Baptist.
The “lives” of the participants will be how many flags around the waist one has remaining, like those found in flag football. Those who lose all flags are welcome to finish the course, but the goal is to stay alive to the end.
“The zombies were really well done. They all looked pretty creepy, and some were really hidden and would scare you while you ran by. They were a lot of fun to run past,” Hegeman said. “It is a lot more entertaining than other 5K runs. This gets you on your toes, interested and excited the whole way. It goes a lot faster and when you see a zombie you definitely want to run faster.
“It is definitely worth it! You can walk or run and you will still enjoy it,” Shackleford said.