Zombies are coming to Provo


“The Walking Dead,” a popular TV show, has created quite a stir in the zombie world. Ryan Freeman and Jordan Gluch put their brains together in hopes to create a stir with their own zombie fantasy — the running dead. Freeman and Gluch will infect Provo with the zombie virus on Nov. 3 with the Provo Canyon Escape 5K race.

The Provo Canyon Escape is a 5K zombie-apocalypse-themed race for anyone wanting to test themselves against the zombies. For a race fee, registrants are considered survivors who have to run from the starting line to the evacuation point without being captured by having their flag pulled by the zombies.

“The survivors will have a head start, then the zombies will be released when we can’t hold them back anymore,” said Gluch, co-director of the race.

Zombies will chase and capture the survivors by pulling their flags. Only those who make it across the finish line still wearing their flag will get the survivor T-shirt.

There is nothing to fear, as the zombies are volunteers. However, they will be dressed up with fake blood and makeup for a frightening appearance, said Freeman, co-director of the race.

“It should get your adrenaline rushing, being chased by people with fake blood and makeup,” Freeman said.

There is also no need for the slow runners to fear; the zombies are not necessarily going after the slow people.

“The zombies will only be allowed to take a certain number of flags, so the people who are a bit slower, don’t worry you still have a chance,” Freeman said. “There will be at least one safe zone where participants can get a drink of water and rest if they have to without the zombies pulling their flags.”

Race strategy may come into play as the survivors choose when, or whether or not, to take a break, hoping to avoid the zombies.

Zombie enthusiast and co-director Jordan Gluch writes stories on the Provo Canyon Escape blog with stories building up to the day of the race, or the contamination. Many of the stories are fictitious adaptations of real events that help the story come alive.

“We love the public participation,” said Gluch. “We love input and want people to get really into it. That’s really the reason behind the back story, so that everyone can get excited about it and make it real for just that day.”

The recent popularity of zombie entertainment is the inspiration behind this race, particularly the movie “Zombieland.”

“In the movie, the first rule to survive a zombie apocalypse is good cardio, so we’re kind of playing off that,” Freeman said. “It’s all about the cardio.”

Both of the race directors would classify themselves as “zombie people” and are putting on the race for the community to have fun and get out and exercise.

“Some people do races for charity, some do it for money; we wanted to organize a race that would be fun, particularly to college-age students and other people around the state,” Freeman said.

Becca Jackson, an exercise and wellness major and avid runner, says the race sounds creepy but fun.

“It seems exhilarating. It would be more of a competition if you are running for your life,” Jackson said.

For those preparing for the apocalypse, a co-director gives some valuable advice.

“If you can run from them, you’ll survive,” Freeman said.

The zombies are coming on Nov. 3.  For more information about the apocalypse, visit provocanyonescape.com.

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