The Running Dead

It first spread to Hollywood with “Dawn of the Dead,” “Shaun of the Dead,” and the hit AMC show “The Walking Dead.” But now, Zombiemania is invading the fitness world with the first annual 5K Zombie Survival Run set for April 7 in Cherokee Park.

Presented by The Alley Theater, the event will feature more than a typical 3.1-mile race course. Trained theater zombies will lurk behind trees and bushes along the trail and sporadically jump out and chase each runner sprinting toward the finish line.

The Voice-Tribune spoke with Kenn Parks, coordinator of the Zombie 5K, to find out more about the race and the fright and fun it will entail.

What inspired the Zombie 5K Run?

Ironically, we had thought about this before we knew anything about the others (held in other states). This is really for a fundraiser for the Alley Theater’s (The InHuman: A Festival of New American Undead Theater) … We wanted to come up with a good idea for a fundraiser and I’ve been involved with the zombie walk for 5 years, and we’re thinking why not have a zombie run?

How does the 5K course work with zombies?

Chaos is part of the equation. We’ll have the crawlers, the walkers, “The Thriller” (zombies) – the dancing ones.

Are the zombies allowed to run?

Oh yea! But, it’s going to be a safe event. No tripping, no weapons are allowed. There will be a lot of surprises along the way and people will have to go through the woods.

How many zombies will be on the course?

We have not gauged the ratio of runners to zombies. The majority of the (zombies) are actors with very professional makeup and latex and body parts hanging from them. Runners may not want to wear their nicest, most pristine running outfits. They may get “blood” on them.

Anyone can be a zombie. It’s only $5 to be a zombie. We encourage costumes (for the runners.) Zombies are going to have special arm bands and wristbands. We’re going to have training and specific placement. We’re offering professional theater makeup for anyone who wants makeup for $10. Kids can be zombies, too. There’s no age limit to that.

How do you win the race?

To win you have to come across the finish line with at least one flag, and whoever is the top three fastest runners (male and female in each age group) with the most amount of flags will win. I don’t want to give too much away but the trophies are going to involve a brain – that’s all I can tell you.

What else will happen on race day?

There’s an after-party and award ceremony at about 11 a.m. That night we’re having the after-party at the (Alley) Theater. It’s really two parties in one. The closing party for our festival and … It’s also going to be a continuation for the after-party for the zombie race. We’ve got food trucks; about five bands. We’ll have zombie face painting and information about all our upcoming shows.

There will also be some filmographers doing a documentary on (the race).

What are you most excited about for the race?

The thing I love about this most is we’re going to have a very diverse group of people and people who are into the health community, the zombie fans, the music fans, the theater fans, the craft beer fans and that’s what makes Louisville so great. It really is about celebrating diversity and bringing people together in unity.

The cost of the Zombie 5K Run is $25 with packet pick-up at event sponsor Blue Mile Running Store; $30 day of race. Registration is at 7 a.m. with the race beginning at 8 a.m.

For more information and to register for the Zombie 5K run, visit www.thealleytheater.org/shows/special-events/zombie-survival-run.