Zombie 5k

Devin Stalder, dressed as a zombie, reaches for a runner during the 2016 Zombie 5K run at Optimist Park.

SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer

Running a 5k race — a distance of about 3.14 miles — is no easy feat. Running a 5k while dodging zombies is an even greater challenge.

Laramie residents of all ages will have the opportunity to do just that during the Zombie 5k today, hosted annually by the Friends of Community Recreation Laramie.

By participating, runners will help fund local recreation needs, FCR Laramie President Jasmine Parten said.

“Right now, our main goal is to raise enough money to purchase a wheelchair-accessible swing that would go into one of the parks,” Parten said.

“And that would be the first swing (of its kind) in Laramie.”

Runners will be given flags, as in flag football, and invited to take a detour through the Zombie Zone where volunteers, city staff, WyoTech students and FCR board members will try to snatch those flags.

“If you don’t lose all of your flags, that means you survived and so you get two beer tokens,” Parten said. “If you don’t survive, you get one beer token.”

If runners choose to test their luck in the Zombie Zone, they will cross through the zone twice. Taking part in the race’s Zombie Zone aspect is optional.

“If runners just want to dress up and have fun and run the course like normal, they don’t have to go through the zone,” Parten said.

For runners who do not like beer — or runners too young to drink — there are still incentives.

“It’s open to everyone,” Parten said. “If you’re under 21 and you want to run it, then you get a free day pass to the (Laramie Recreation) Center or the (Laramie) Ice & Event Center.”

The beer tokens are redeemable following the race, during the Zombie Apocalypse Party at 8 Bytes Game Cafe, which plans to offer zombie shots and zombie-themed food.

Friends of Community Recreation Laramie is a nonprofit organization whose mission is providing recreation to all Albany County residents, Parten said.

“Our main goal is to provide funding for anyone who can’t afford recreation,” she said. “So, we do stuff like scholarships. We’ll pay for basketball registration for kids whose parents can’t afford it, or if they need new shoes, we’ll pay for that.”

The nonprofit also provides the Downtown Clinic, Laramie Soup Kitchen and Interfaith-Good Samaritan with shower tokens so that anyone visiting those places can use the Laramie Community Recreation Center’s showers free of charge.

All proceeds from the Zombie 5k will go toward the nonprofit’s current goal of purchasing a wheelchair-accessible swing, Parten said.

“It will cost us about $40,000 to purchase and install it,” she said. “You wouldn’t think it would be that expensive, but we have our work cut out for us.”

Registration for the Zombie 5k starts at 4:45 p.m. today in Optimist Park. The race begins at 5:45 p.m. Registration is $20 for the public, $15 for seniors, military and students and $10 for youth. Email the Friends of Community Recreation Laramie at fcrlaramie@gmail.com for more information.

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