by Sarah Einselen
---- — It's almost time to double-tap.
Organizers of the first Cass County 5K Zombie Run have been busy this past weekend setting up obstacles at the 3.1-mile course laid out at France Park for this weekend's event, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.
They're planning for at least 100 runners and zombies to participate. About 20 had signed up as of Friday, according to Jacob Fisher, one of the participants in the Loganland Leadership Academy's zombie run committee.
"Runs like that don't really have high preregistration sales," said Fisher. But about 60 have indicated on the run's Facebook event page that they're participating, and Fisher has been fielding several calls regarding sign-ups and details on the run.
Fisher is anticipating a few groups of runners to register together, he said, "So they can go try to survive the apocalypse course together."
The course begins at the beach at France Park and travels up a hill, around the quarry and back to the beach in a loop. The course includes several hills and at least one downhill slope will be turned into a slide, Fisher said.
At the park, "There's plenty of natural obstacles that would of course be tough," he added, but the zombie run committee planned to set up hay bales, string spanning the gaps between trees and old car tires to make the course more difficult.
The concept of a zombie run was new to France Park Superintendent Lucas Beach, but he said the idea was appealing.
"I actually was kind of speechless when they told me it was a possibility," Beach said. "I've never heard of such a thing."
However, he conducted some research, and found out that zombie runs have what he termed "a huge following nationwide."
"It sounds pretty cool," he said. "I can't wait to see it."
It's a marathon, not a sprint — at least for most of it. Zombies will be instructed to do their best to steal each runner's two "lives," or white flags runners will have strapped to themselves. The zombie with the most stolen flags will win a prize, Fisher said, as would the best-looking zombie.
Prizes will also be awarded in different categories for the runners, he added.
Beach expected some spectators for the 5K, as well.
"Even if people aren't racers, I think it'll be a great event for people to come out to," he said, "even more so than the triathlons and trail runs. I think it'll be one of the better spectator events out at the park."
Local businesses have welcomed the chance to support the zombie run, said Fisher, and its goal of establishing a scholarship fund for Cass County high schoolers.
"We have quite a few gift cards we've received," Fisher said.
Sponsorships for the run have also gone well, he added. "That helped us out a lot."
Eventually, the Loganland Leadership Academy graduates intend to raise about $12,000 to fund a $500 annual scholarship open to seniors in one of the four Cass County high schools — Logansport, Southeastern, Pioneer and Caston.
Fisher doesn't expect to raise all of that this year, but the group is already interested in bringing the cardio-heavy zombie event back next year.
The zombie run starts at 10 a.m. Saturday with registration and zombie face-painting beginning at 8 a.m. For more information or to register, visit the event's Facebook page or call Brya Danely at 574-702-1999, Jacob Fisher at 765-409-4565, or Brooke Stotler at 574-601-6814.
Sarah Einselen is news editor at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-732-5151. Twitter: @PharosSME
If you go: • WHO: Anyone 13 years old and up • WHAT: Cass County 5K Zombie Run • WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday, with registration starting at 8 a.m. • WHERE: France Park, 4505 U.S. 24 west of Logansport • WHY: To raise funds for a Cass County scholarship • COST: $25 for runners and $20 for zombies in advance, or $30 for either on the day of the race • INFO: Visit the run's Facebook page or register online at cass5kzombierun.eventzilla.net. More information is also available by calling Brya Danely at 574-702-1999, Jacob Fisher at 765-409-4565, or Brooke Stotler at 574-601-6814.