GV students to participate in area’s first Zombie Dash 5K

Courtesy Photo / michiganzombie.com

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo / michiganzombie.com

Joel Campbell

On April 28, Grand Valley State University students will rise from the “dead” for the Zombie Dash, a 5-kilometer trail race.

The Zombie Dash is one of eight races this year, organized by Michigan Adventure Racing and sponsored by Gazelle Sports and Robinette’s Apple Haus and Winery, which is hosting the event in their orchards.

As part of the race, runners will collect small items at several designated points to prove that they were there and survived. During the race, “survivors” will have to avoid the undead while completing the course.

“It’s for the storyline of a zombie apocalypse,” said Mark VanTongeren, director of the Zombie Dash.

VanTongeren said the idea came from another race called as Run For Your Lives, which incorporates more of an obstacle course than an actual race.

Though this is the Zombie Dash’s first year, VanTongeren said there are plans to bring it back on Oct. 27 for Halloween.

This event’s charity partner is Michigan Blood. As part of the national “Be the Match” campaign, survivors and the undead are invited to do a cotton swab to see if they are the match for anyone in need of a bone marrow transfusion.

“It’s kind of cool having them as a partner because it’s dealing with zombies,” VanTongeren said.

VanTongeren said they are still looking for zombies to chase the runners, with a participation fee of $4 without a race shirt and $12 with one. There will also be a costume contest for the best zombie.

Registration for “survivors” is $28, and 10 percent of all proceeds will go toward Michigan Blood. Headlamps will be required for some of the races, which start every five minutes between 8:30 and 9 p.m.

The event will go on rain or shine.

Sara Simons, a GVSU student, was one of the first to sign up for the race.

“I had actually read about a different one somewhere in the U.S. and thought it was cool, Simons said. “I never thought it would be in this area.”

To register as a runner or as a zombie, visit www.

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