Tarpon Springs recreation department officials are preparing to put on a show similar to the one pictured here that was held in Dade City last December. The Zombie Run is set for Oct. 19 and will take place in conjunction to the grand opening of a new fitness park and a new dog park. ANDY JONES/TRIBUNE
TARPON SPRINGS — Just visualizing the finish line is motivation enough for some distance-race competitors. Keeping up with or surpassing fellow runners can provide another form of drive. At an event next month in Tarpon Springs, a decidedly more morbid stimulus is going to be in play — being chased down by the undead. The city’s recreation department will present its inaugural Zombie Run on Oct. 19, during which volunteers dressed up as reanimated corpses will try to terrorize racers along the 5K obstacle course. The event’s format is one that has gained popularity all over the country in recent years, bringing a mix of athleticism and entertainment.
Tarpon Springs’ version will take racers through a Haunted Forest as zombies try to snatch off flags worn around the competitors’ waists. There will be other obstacles tasks set up along the way and awards will be given to winners in different age groups. The Zombie Run will be the featured event of a packed day in the area of Live Oak Street and Safford Avenue. Prior to the race’s 10 a.m. start there will be ribbon-cutting events for two new public areas, a fitness park and adjacent dog park. “This is the first one and they’re going to do it in conjunction with opening the fitness park,” said the city’s information and research officer Judy Staley. “That’s why we’re starting and ending it there.” The dog park’s grand opening, just north of Live Oak Street across from the fitness park, will be held at 9:30 a.m., followed by other pet-related activities. City officials will cut the ribbon at the fitness park shortly before the 10 a.m. Zombie Run. The area is also where a sewer main ruptured, causing lane closures to both Live Oak Street and Safford Avenue. Staley said it’s unlikely construction repairs will be finalized by Oct. 19, but they will not interfere with the day’s events. The Zombie Run entry fee is $20 and all other activities are free. T-shirts are guaranteed to the first 200 pre-registered racers. Call (727) 942-5628 or go to www.tsrdonline.com to sign up or find more information.