A group of runners pause as they prepare to enter a zombie zone during the Destination Imagination 5k in Esko on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Amid much laughing, the 46 runners zig-zagged through the zombies as they tried to keep their red ribbons from being snatched.

Several zombies raised their hands triumphantly holding ribbons after the runners had passed through the zone.

“The Zombie Run is a unique spin on the traditional 5K,” parent volunteer Jessie Graddy said.

She explained there are three "zombie zones" along the race. Runners wear flags attached to their waists, which the zombies attempt to take as the runners pass.

“Think of it as Capture the Flag meets flag football, plus zombies,” Graddy said.

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Destination Imagination students volunteer to dress up and play zombies.

“I want to be a zombie because I like brains,” Ahti Kari said. The zombies are ages 6 and up.

If a runner makes it to the end of the race with one of the three flags left, they survived.

The winners were Preston Grell, first, a fourth grade Esko student; Greg Elton, second, an Esko parent; and Aiden Peterson, third, a fourth grade Esko student.

The race began in 2018 with 54 runners. The fundraiser brought in over $650 for Destination Imagination, a volunteer-led educational organization that teaches STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) principles to students through problem-solving challenges.

Esko's DI program has six teams this year. The money helps finance their state, global and international tournaments.