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Cape Coral 5K Zombie Invasions

By Staff | May 5, 2017

Beware: The grounds of Rotary Park will be teaming with the undead and those trying to survive the zombie apocalypse Saturday, May 13, during the second annual 5k Zombie Invasion, presented by the Red Headed Witches costume shop of Cape Coral.

Once again benefitting the Cape Coral Caring Center, those wishing to participate are encouraged to sign up ahead of time, so organizers have a better idea of what to plan for next weekend.

Participants have the choice of attending as an undead wandering zombie, their blood thirsting for fun-run runners, or as a survivor, trying their best to outrun the hordes of blood-thirsty beasts and their dragging body parts.

“This is such a great way to have fun, help a fantastic local cause and be active, getting out and enjoying Rotary Park,” said Crissy Barchers, lead organizer of the second annual fun run and owner of the Red Headed Witches. “Last year, we had about 350 participants, with a nice variety of zombies, super zombies and survivors. We’re hoping this year is even better.”

The actual run begins at 4:30 that afternoon, but for the zombies of the day, they should show up in their wardrobe between 1 p.m. – no later than 3:30 – for a full, undead make-up makeover.

“We’ll have about 15 makeup artists on hand that day, and participants can be anything from a ‘fresh’ zombie to one who’s been decaying for a while. We’ll use prosthetics and other products to really bring out the dead in them,” Barchers said.

Zombies will also go through an undead clinic prior to the run, to learn just how to move and act like these garish ghouls.

“They should be more of the slow-moving, ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ type of zombies, rather than the super-fast ones from ’13 Days Later,'” Barchers said.

Harnessed with three-flag life belts, runners/survivors will start off along the zombie-free outer edge of Rotary Park, with the Cape Coral Police Department on hand to ensure everyone is safe. About a mile in is when survivors will come across the undead milling about the premises. They’ll claw and drag and charge you, and you have to do your best to protect your life flags before making it across the finish line.

“We’ve already made some great upgrades since last year’s event, the best being pro-flag-football-style belts, with D-rings and sturdy Velcro, so they stay on the runner even as zombies are trying to pull the flags off,” Barchers said.

After the run, prizes will be awarded to both sides of the competition.

“We’ll have prizes for the first human to cross the finish line with all three flags intact – as well as the runner up – and we’re also giving prizes to the ‘hungriest zombie’ (zombie with the most life flags) – and their runner-up. Our costume contest will have three categories of winners: best human, best zombie, and best group of three or more,” Barchers said. “We want people to see that it’s fun dressing up throughout the year, not just on Halloween. Feel free to get into costume. For the runners, think of living in a post-apocalyptic world. Maybe you were part of the military called out when things started getting bad, a healthcare provider, an EMT worker. We even encourage people to come dressed as characters from their favorite zombie TV shows and movies, like The Walking Dead and Zombieland.”

Everyone participating that day receives a commemorative 5k Zombie Invasion backpack to hold all their post-apocalyptic necessities, and the on-site Culligan hydration station will keep everyone hydrated, with chances to win fun prizes from the raffles and other giveaways.

The cost to participate is $25 per human or zombie ages 10 and up. The day of the run, the cost goes up to $30, and $10 for junior zombies (under 10). Kids who’d like to be zombified without participating in the fun run may do so for $10, with all proceeds going to the Cape Coral Caring Center.

“This is the second year we’ve chosen to have the Cape Coral Caring Center and food pantry as our benefactor. We love working with them; the No. 1 reason is because everything they do is strictly for the Cape Coral community and Cape Coral residents – the funds stay right here. Anyone who needs assistance, all they have to do is show their Cape Coral drivers license,” Barchers said. “All donations are welcome during the event, and those coming to watch the fun are encouraged to bring canned food for the local pantry, if they can. We are so thankful to our many sponsors, including Modern Auto Sales, Gulf Coast Family Center, and Salty Sam’s Waterfront Adventures.”

Any business wishing to offer sponsorship or make a donation in the form of a prize for the fun-run’s raffle, feel free to contact Barchers, 239-573-6566, redheadwitch33@gmail.com, or stop into the shop at 1910 Del Prado Blvd., anytime.

To RSVP as a zombie or 5k survivor or offer to volunteer that day, visit CapeCoralZombie5k.com or stop into the costume shop to register on-site and avoid extra fees. Spectators are encouraged to come by and watch all of the undead fun and peruse the merchant and food vendors on site. There’s no cost to enjoy the show.

“And if you come into the store and mention the 5k Zombie Invasion, I’m happy to offer 20% off any one item,” Barchers said.