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The zombie apocalypse is here!

MWR holds annual Zombie Apocalypse Run

Participants of JBLM’s Zombie Apocalypse Run will have to run for their lives Oct. 14 as zombies chase them through the run route after sundown. Photo courtesy of JBLM Family MWR

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That's right. A zombie apocalypse is headed right for Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), and you cannot avoid it. In fact, JBLM's Family & Morale, Welfare & Recreation (MWR) program is making it easier for you to get to and encourage servicemembers, families and friends to attend it. We're talking about MWR's annual Zombie Apocalypse Run, that is. The adrenaline-filled, apocalypse-inspired race will happen after sundown Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Wilson Sports and Fitness Center on JBLM North.

"We think participants love this event because of the uniqueness of it," said Gloria Tomczewski, the MWR special events coordinator at JBLM. "All of our events ... offer a safe outlet for our community to have some fun as well as participate in recreational opportunities that can be just-for-fun or competitive in nature."

MWR's annual Zombie Apocalypse Run will include a 1K youth Monster Dash and a 5K Walk/Run. Run routes will weave in and out of JBLM North's historical WWII barracks, located near the Lewis North Athletic Complex. During the event, participants will wear flags representing life, which "zombies" will attempt to take from them as they run the course.

Registration costs only include one life, so participants will have to dodge zombies and strategically make their way through the course to make it out alive. Although participants are not required to be in costume, they're encouraged to do so. Zombies will be dressed and wear makeup to play their part on and off the run route.

"Zombie participants are very enthusiastic about participating, and they do a phenomenal job staying in character," Tomczewski said. "We also have several staff who participate in this event and do a phenomenal job getting into character, applying makeup, etc. to enhance the event."

The Zombie Apocalypse Run will also feature main stage entertainment, giveaways at the end of each 5K heat and a costume contest highlighting the Most Gruesome Victim and Best Zombie Hunter. Participants will have opportunities to take photos with lurking zombies at the end of the final race heat as well as the ability to gain up to three additional lives by visiting sponsorship booths throughout the evening.

The first 800 registered individuals will receive a free ticket to MWR's notoriously spooky A Walk in the Dark Halloween event later in the month. Despite having approximately 700 runners attend MWR's Zombie Apocalypse each year, MWR officials are hoping for higher numbers at this year's event.

In case you're wondering how the zombie run arrived at JBLM in the first place, we should tell you that the outbreak can be traced back to a single "zombie" carrier in 2014.

"A previous Joint Base Lewis-McChord garrison commander attended a similar event and brought it back to the installation," Tomczewski said. "This kind of event is very popular and is held in many different locations nationwide.

"In this case, servicemembers and their families get to participate in an activity that has a physical fitness element, which we find very important."

Zombie Apocalypse Run, 8 to 11 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, Wilson Sports and Fitness Center, 11596 D St. & 41st Division, JBLM Lewis North, $15-30, 253.967.5200, tickets at active.com

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