SPICER -- A 5K race today at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center will feature a clash of cultures between the truly living humans and undead zombies.
The race, called the "Zombies' Bite ... 5K run!!!" takes place at 3:30 p.m. on the hills and grasslands of the center, located west of Spicer.
While running the race might be competition enough, runners will get an additional jolt of adrenaline because they will be pursued by a troop of zombies in search of the runners' brains.
Translated into race rules, participating runners wearing removable flags around their waists will run a tricky course while being pursued by volunteer zombies wearing gory costumes.
The goal of the zombies is to steal the runners' flags (i.e. brains) and the goal of the runners is to get to the finish line with their brains (i.e. flags) intact.
"Doubtful," is how race organizer Dan Hubbard describes the chances of runners completing the course with all their flags.
"They will have survived or had their brains eaten," he said, adding that there will be prizes for those with the most remaining flags.
Hubbard was at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center on Friday setting up colorful signs with dire warnings and fake splashes of blood along the route, which also includes obstacles, like large tubes that runners will have to scramble through.
Although billed as a 5-kilometer race, Hubbard said it may be a bit longer depending on which route runners decide to take to avoid zombies.
"So it's a little bit of a mystery there," he said. "Some of those routes may not be ones they can finish. They might have to turn around and go back."
His advice is for runners to bunch together to make it more difficult for the brain-snatching zombies to grab flags. Running alone, he said, could have negative results.
About 40 racers had registered online in advance, but runners can register from 2-3 p.m. today at the center prior to the race.
Hubbard said he's hoping for 80 to 100 runners.
There will be a pre-race meeting between the runners and zombies at 3 p.m. and then the zombies will be sent to their secret locations and the race will begin around 3:30 p.m.
Spectators will be able to watch a segment of the race from the deck of the main Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center building and the Gary Westby building.
The race is a cooperative effort of Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center and the Willmar Convention and Visitors Bureau. Part of the goal is to introduce people to the Prairie Woods facility through a new type of race that is popular in other parts of the country.
Hubbard has organized and promoted other races in this area. He said "adding the element of the zombies is perfect for this time of year."
For more information, Hubbard can be reached at 320-894-5882.