Zombie run to raise funds for City Park cabin restoration


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Most 5K runners don’t expect to be chased by rotting flesh and dripping blood.

But those who participate in tonight’s Zombie Run at City Park will.

Iowa City Parks and Recreation will hold the first such run at 7 p.m., followed by the Monster Splash, a night swimming event at the park’s pool. The 5K costs $25 per person, or $75 for a team of four. The funds will go toward the restoration of two commemorative cabins that stand in the park as a reminder of Johnson County’s pioneer roots.

Connie Marburry, a Kirkwood mathematics professor, came up with the idea for the event after participating in various fun runs and triathlons around the country. Though organizers will hand out awards for the run’s top female, male, and team, the event is intended to bring the community together for some healthy fun.

“The real focus for this event has gotten a little lost in the shuffle,” Marburry said. “We want to restore the cabins in Upper City Park through an event that brings the community together for some fun.”

The log cabins were built in 1889 and 1913 as a commemorative effort on the history of Johnson County. The cost of restoration is $100,000 to replace two foundations and roofs and various rotting logs.

Joyce Carroll, the program supervisor for Iowa City Parks and Recreation, said the Zombie Run and Monster Splash, along with a Pioneer Festival on Oct. 6, should raise roughly $33,000 for the cabins.

The restoration of the cabins is a joint effort among the city, the Friends of Historic Preservation, the Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission, and the Johnson County Historical Society.
“Money is a little slow so far, but that’s OK,” Carroll said.

The ultimate goal of the restoration project is to register the cabins on the National Registry of Historic Places. Carroll called the project a “huge process,” one officials expect to be completed by May 2013.

Carroll said the cabins were used by the Old Settler’s Association and also by a Girl Scout camp in the 1940s. In the 1970s, the cabins held exhibits as a children’s museum. The Johnson County Historical Society also used them as pioneer camp until the ’80s.

“The cabins have a lot of history,” Carroll said. “We want to start using them again, and there are so many ways that this will benefit the community.”

Zombie Run participants must dash through the park and protect their two “health badges” from zombies lurking throughout the five-stage course. The run is open to anybody over the age of 16 due to the scary elements.

The Monster Splash, however, has no age limit, and it is scheduled to begin after the Zombie Run. Those who did not participate in the run will be able to swim at the pool after hours and enjoy a live band for $5.

Event supervisor Katie Jochum said participants choose their role as either a human or a zombie depending on if they want to run the entire 5K.

Zombies are encouraged to dress up in their best costumes and make-up. They will be restricted to zones, and may only take one bandage from each participant without the use of force or physical contact — like flag football.

“The Zombie Runis not meant to be a competition,” Jochum said. “The event will be fun and different than anything we have done in Iowa City.”

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