Zombies could be seen running in the rain at East Tennessee State University for the fourth annual 5K last Saturday.
Participants in the 5K Zombie Run is put on each year by the ETSU Department of Physical Therapy and their first year graduate students. These students are in charge of planning the event.
Runners are given two flags to wear during the race while zombies are hidden throughout the course. The goal of the zombies is to try and steal the flags. Runners who reach the finish line with one or both flags are considered survivors.
Runners and zombies had to pay a fee of $25 or $20, respectively, to enter the zombie fun run.
According to a University News press release, all proceeds go to the non-profit Pittsburgh-Marquette Challenge, a fundraising competition among physical therapy students across the nation to support the Foundation for Physical Therapy, which supports physical therapy research and physical therapist student education.
“Money is raised to benefit these physical therapy researchers, because as a clinician or student, we are not the ones doing the research. It is the people behind the scenes in the labs actually figuring out what works best on real patients. They are constantly trying to find ways to make things better,” said student Catie Cox.
The event takes place during this time of the year since October is considered national physical therapy month. Because the event always takes place at this spooky time of year, dressing as zombies has become a key element of the event.
“It has been a tradition to dress up as zombies,” Event Coordinator Conner Hensley said. “It’s in October, and we wanted it to be fun. We didn’t want it to just be a 3k or 5k.”
According to Hensley, the event is for people of all ages, with some being as young as 8-years-old and others being in their 70s.
For first time participants like physical therapy student Bryan Wood, being a zombie made the event that much more fun.
“I thought it was kind of fun being out in the woods as a zombie looking for someone to scare. It makes it more fun for the runner to have some excitement,” Wood said.
The race began and ended at Tri-Hall Field behind Centennial and Governors Halls and in front of Davis Hall. Approximately half of the course was located on the trail in the ETSU woods.
The top three finishers in the race were awarded prizes as well as a prize given out for best zombie costume.
The event had a Facebook page this year, and according to organizers, the page will hopefully attract anyone interested in joining next year’s event. Flyers and media coverage will also provide general information about the race before it takes place in the years to come.