It was like a scene out of The Walking Dead as UCF students ran for their lives at the Zombie Knights 5K, hoping to avoid confrontations with escaped zombies.
The ZK5K was hosted by UCF's Campus Activities Board on Thursday night. The 3.1-mile course, beginning and ending at Memory Mall, was designed to mimic a zombie apocalypse.
Runners checked in to receive their numbers and flags, which represented their "lives" during the run. The object: to make it to the finish line alive — which was easier said than done, considering zombies hid behind every corner.
Seven-hundred registered runners lined up at the start line, as emergency signals began to blast through the speakers.
"Attention! Zombies have escaped containment. Please begin evacuation procedures," blasted through the speakers, and runners took off into the course filled with obstacles and zombies.
Approximately 200 UCF students volunteered as the zombies, donning ripped clothing and gushing blood. As runners passed through the scare zones along the course, zombies emerged from behind trees, buildings and light poles, capturing the runners' flags and chasing them off into the dark.
Screams and heavy footsteps were heard all over campus, as many zombies were inspired by popular television shows.
"I watch The Walking Dead, and I feel like I'm part of the show right now," said Tyler Mullgrov, a freshman finance major, as he ran after several runners, taking their flags and adding it to his growing pile of runners' lives.
Runners who were left "lifeless" during the 5K made pit stops to the first aid stations to get help from medics, who provided them with more flags to reattach to their belts.
At the finish line, runners were greeted and congratulated by excited volunteers. Loud music from the Spotify booth blared, while the runners were offered drinks and slices of pizza, which is probably not how an actual zombie apocalypse would play out.
So what would the ZK5K runners do if it were real?
"If this was a 5K to survive an actual zombie apocalypse, then I would definitely run much faster," said Aura Reyes, a senior event management major. "I'd probably push everyone running with me toward the zombies."
CAB Special Events Director Travis Mayhew said he'd bunker down and find a secret spot to try and survive. The ZK5K is just for fun though, and actually takes a lot of planning, Mayhew said.
"It's a unique experience, other than just the general 5K," Mayhew said. "It's a cool thing to do, and it's been going on for three years, so it's becoming a tradition at UCF."
The ZK55 will return again next year, but until then, UCF students are safe from zombies.