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Swoopocalypse Run: zombies plague brave runners

Photo by Luiza Motta

Video by Michael Herrera
Living students faced off against the undead on Thursday night in a battle of the mortals–otherwise known as the third-annual, 2.7-mile Swoopocalypse Zombie Run.

UNF Health Promotions hosts this free zombie run each year to offer students an opportunity to get fit in a fun way.

“We want a safe place for students to have fun and celebrate Halloween, and one great way to do that is to be active in the zombie run,” said Ashley Ballard, assistant director for the Department of Health Promotions.

Runners received three flags, representing their “lives.” Once runners were released, they had to run through the course, avoid multiple zombie attacks, solve a riddle and drag themselves across the finish line with at least one life left to get a Swoopocalypse tee, and bragging rights as a survivor.

“I got terrified, I got pushed, I got rolled, I got tumbled and tucked and ran, but it was fun,” Swoopocalypse runner Luel Degrove said. “I liked the riddle – the riddle was great – and the token, because I didn’t think I was going to make it out alive.”

Junior criminal justice major Annessa Comfort, who is training to run a 10k, participated as a runner in hopes to improve her skills in a fun way. But what did she see in this bloody race?

“Probably just running and just seeing if I can run a little bit faster, like not on a treadmill,” Comfort said.

Apart from the serious runners at the showdown, a bunch of zombie-combatants braved the underworld just for kicks.

Senior business major Michael Degrove, who wore a full bodysuit throughout the event, could be heard making jokes for the crowd.

“How many Frenchmen does it take to win a war? No one knows. They ain’t won one yet, and that’s why I’m ashamed,” said Degrove.

While Degrove enjoyed making fellow students laugh throughout the event, he was able to pause for a moment to reflect on the run itself.

“I had a great time out here,” Degrove said. “All them zombies was pretty terrifying. Anybody who’s anybody should be out here.”

Daniel Butts, senior business management and marketing double major, said he wasn’t really sure what to expect going into his first battle. Unfortunately, his indecision was his weakness and the zombies struck him down.

“Throughout different times at the zombie run I did feel a little scared,” Butts said. “Especially one time running through one of the courses where they had the caskets and coffins in like the steeple area where the zombies were in close quarters, to where they actually could grab your flags. I wanted to have a little bit of pride ending the race with one of my flags, but they eventually got me.”

Although Butts lost his three lives in the Swoopocalypse, he was able to secure a token from solving the riddle and came out with a free t-shirt.

One group of students only made it as far as the stadium when one of their friends actually got injured avoiding zombies. However, this has not discouraged them from coming out again next year to smite some zombies, and encouraging other students to do the same.

John Hamilton, freshman civil engineering major, has a simple reason for why students should abandon their dorm rooms and celebrate Halloween together next year.

“Netflix is still going to be there when you get back.”

Photos by Kimberly Appleby and Luiza Motta

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact features@unfspinnaker.com.

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