Zombie 5k: Director wants you to race until you're undead
Anyone who says they'll only run if someone's chasing them now has an opportunity to prove it.
The Zombie 5k, taking place October 17 at 8:30am, is the brainchild of filmmaker Brian Wimer and will feature two distinct groups of runners: zombies and their would-be victims, the latter of whom will get a slight head start at the race at Lee Park downtown.
"I don't think you'd get this experience anywhere else–- to look over your shoulder and see, perhaps, 100 zombies screaming and chasing you," laughs Wimer, noting that 100 people–- including serious runners from out-of-state–- have already registered for the unusual experience.
"I think we're going to have some people getting their best 5k times," Wimer adds wryly, noting that human's ability–- and desire–- to run is likely tied to our evolutionary history as hunters– or the hunted.
"One guy who does the New York City marathon confided that whenever he passes people in a race, he licks his lips," says Wimer. "That confirms the predator aspect of any race–- we're running from something or after something."
To that end, runners can choose to be zombie or victim, with the latter wearing a flag-football style tag that, if captured by a zombie, signals the victim's death. After "death," the victim will visit one of several special roadside booths to be adorned with fake blood, at which time he or she will join the zombies in running after the remaining "victims."
Those who are zombies from the get-go can come to the race already in costume, or can take advantage of several make-up artists who'll be on hand to assist the transformation. Children old enough to run 5k (or ride in strollers) are welcome, although consideration for the heart-pounding terror of being chased by the undead should be considered. Wimer says adult zombies will not be permitted to "kill" children runners–- "only child zombies can do that," he says.
Another tip: if caught by a zombie, victims should realize the jig is up.
"Please," says Wimer. "Don't fight back."
While the timing of the race is appropriate with Halloween just around the corner, Wimer appears to have a year-round fascination with zombies. Back in February 2009, he premiered "Eat Me: The Musical," a road-tripping zombie musical created around the music of local band The Falsies.
The zombie road race will be filmed and will be part of the DVD extras for Wimer's new movie–- Danger. Zombies. Run.–- which will debut October 30 at the Paramount at 7pm and again as part of the Virginia Film Festival on Friday, November 5 at 11pm at the Regal Downtown.
The race is co-sponsored by the Charlottesville Running Company, and a portion of the $20 race entry fee will go toward an initiative to bring fresh local foods into Charlottesville City Schools and to Filmmakers Republik, a Central Virginia nonprofit supporting local films.
Correction: Danger. Zombies. Run. will screen Friday, November 5 at 11pm, not Saturday as originally reported in this article.–ed.