On Saturday, runners had to evade about 100 actors dressed as zombies as they made their way through Cherokee Park to benefit the Alley Theater in Butchertown, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal reported.
Runners wore belts with three red flags; whenever a zombie took a flag, it represented a wound. The goal was to make it to the finish line with at least one flag.
Zombies were stationed throughout the course, with a horde close to the end.
Jessica Easterling said she almost made it to the finish with all her flags, but they were captured in the end.
"The zombies were fast," said Easterling, 29, of New Albany, Ind. "I didn't think they'd be that fast. They're not that fast in the movies."
Adam Greene, 27, confirmed the zombies were startling.
"It was perfect serenity," Greene said of his run, "and then you'd see a zombie ahead of you, and the crowd parted like the Red Sea."
Dixie Crompton, 28, who played a zombie during the run, said it was hard work.
"You're starting and stopping a lot," Crompton said of the experience. "People see you coming and they start running for dear life."
Kenn Parks, the Alley's marketing director and a run organizer, said the theater was only expecting 200-500 participants and chalked the higher turnout to people's fascination with the walking dead of horror movie lore.
"There is this love affair with zombies," Parks said. "I think there is something very human about zombies."
Parks added he expects the 5K Zombie Survival Run to return next year, though the organizers may change the venue and add obstacles besides zombies.