The annual Zombie Run by the Association Communautaire Fransaskoise de Moose Jaw (ACFMJ) brings the living and the dead into conflict in Wakamow Valley’s Connor Park for a five-kilometre race — with extra motivation to go fast.
The date is Saturday, Oct. 15, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Participants are meeting at the Connor Park Pavilion.
“Francophones and Francophiles, English and French, it’s a city event. We have a number of people who will be dressed as zombies, and then a number of people who will be dressed as… Well, they’ll be human,” laughed Papy Kasangaki, president of ACFMJ.
“L’humanité a besoin de vous,” proclaims the event poster — Humanity needs you. The theme of the event is that the humans are racing for a cure through a crowd of ravenous zombies.
Runners will be given a belt or sash to wear at their waists. As they run, the zombies try to take that belt. This makes the zombie run, luckily, more flag football and less CFL-style sacking.
“Keeping in mind, they’re not only running to save their own life, but to save all of humanity. It’s a kind of fiction (role-playing),” Kasangaki grinned. “So, you have that belt that you have to keep with you, that is the symbol of your life.”
The run is notoriously entertaining. Many people show up dressed in their own costumes, including a local cosplay group with elaborate Resident Evil-themed outfits.
Post-run, everyone will gather for photos, poutine, and a drink. Kasangaki said he is expecting about 50 people to show up. It could be more, however, because this is the first Zombie Run since COVID.
Although it is the month of All Hallow’s Eve, Kasangaki said the zombies do tend to be more fun than scary — especially for the kids.
“The zombie makeup can definitely be a scary part of it. We try to minimize (that part) for the kids. Make sure they’re safe, that they’re not traumatized.”
The greater purpose of the Zombie Run is to promote community ties and spread Francophile culture. Kasangaki and other ACF members travel to local schools, especially those with French programs, to promote the event and encourage students and teachers to come out and bring their families.