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Class puts on Zombie Run to benefit Special Olympics


Zombies took over Main Street on Nov. 7 for a Zombie Run put on by students from COM 401: Capstone in Communication. The run's proceeds went to Area 7 Special Olympics.

The 0.8 mile course started at the corner of Bellows and Main Street and moved north down Main Street into Downtown Mount Pleasant. 

Seniors and communication majors Lauren VandenBossche and Maria Shimones organized the event with their group members. The Zombie Run initially acted as a class project for them but became a way to support Special Olympics.

“We took it upon ourselves to make this run as large as possible and get as much money together for Area 7 Special Olympics as possible,” Shimones said.

Participants were given two duct tape 'lifelines' secured around their waist at the start of the run. As they proceeded down Main Street, volunteers painted as zombies would scuffle around at each intersection and attempt to pull the belts off runners. The goal was to return to the start with both lifelines intact. 

VandenBossche and Shimones not only reached out to CMU’s campus community, but to the local high schools as well.

“I don’t think anyone’s ever put on a run the magnitude that we have decided to put on, to my knowledge," Shimones said.

VandenBossche and Shimones chose a Zombie Run for their project for a couple of reasons. They saw the positive response the community has had in the past to such events and wanted to see the same for their own project. The current popularity of zombies also sparked their inspiration to choose it as their central theme.

“I feel like zombies are really up in the air right now," Shimones said. "The Walking Dead has created such a buzz about zombies that it made a fun opportunity to be a zombie or be chased by zombies. You get to experience it outside of just watching T.V.”

The planning and organization of the event took the students almost an entire semester to coordinate.

“We had to partner with the city of Mount Pleasant to close down Main Street," VandenBossche said. "We have police coming to help maintain the street as well so people don’t get hurt.We also had Special Olympics help us with the insurance for people running and we partnered with them to get some of their athletes to come.”

Junior and Public Relations major Kris Kohler came to the event to volunteer as one of the many zombies that the runners encountered on the course.

“It sounded like fun and once I found out it was for Special Olympics there was no way I wasn’t going to go,” Kohler said. “It was something fun to do for a good cause.”