By Nick BeJeaux
There aren’t too many reasons to escape from Baton Rouge on foot, but escaping the imminent end to civilization as we know it seems like a compelling one.
Inspired by the Snake Plissken movies starring everyone’s favorite square-jaw, Kurt Russell, “Escape From Baton Rouge” will transform Downtown into an unrecognizable hell complete with fire, explosions, crazy people in various states of injury and/or death, and patrolling helicopters. Sorry, no Zombies.
The run is scheduled for June 28 at 8 p.m. and registration has begun.
“Being a local event promoter, I see color runs, zombie runs – these themed experiences – all the time and I decided to create my own,” said David Poleto, owner of EFBR. “If people are going to flock to something like a color run because it’s accessible, anybody can do it, imagine what they would do if we turn Downtown Baton Rouge into a post-apocalyptic wasteland.”
Of course, everyone knows that there are different kinds of apocalypses. There are 10 forms of the apocalypse thus far presented in pop-culture: zombie, aliens, monster, man-made, plant, biblical, technological, viral, natural disaster, and the ominous “non-specific” that really only worked for Cormac McCarthy. According to Poleto, EFBR doesn’t ignore these frameworks, but doesn’t rely on them.
“The runners are not going to be fully aware of what’s going on – who would be?” he said. “All you know is that all hell has broken loose and you need to escape with your life.”
Poleto did say however that “green virusy stuff” will play a part in the 5k’s back story.
Of course, no one can show up with helicopters, explosions and burning cars in a metropolitan area without backing from police and firefighters. EFBR has managed to not only include local authorities in the planning of the run, but its execution as well.
“There’s two parts to this event,” said Poleto. “ A couple of thousand people will experience this mayhem, but the other half is that emergency responders and even the military will use this run as a training opportunity. Our fire crews and police will do a test run of how to mass-evacuate the city during a disaster without it actually happening.”
The 13th Gate is lending its actors and prestige to the 5k to help bring the idea of an apocalypse into reality. 100 actors in full makeup will line the course from the Capitol to Town Square posing as bums, hooligans and every example of derangement you’d expect in such a setting.
“When you first enter The 13th Gate you know nothing can hurt you, but halfway through you’re sweating and cringing and screaming because they bring it to life,” said Poleto. “We want people running through our 5k and think halfway though ‘is this really happening? This feels too real.’ To that point, 13th Gate will also be sponsoring our after party.”
Local bars and joints are throwing their hats into the after party, like the Roux House, Schlitz and Giggles, etc, and DJ Snow will provide the music, offering a great way to relax after escaping certain doom.
“We’re making this about Baton Rouge,” said Poleto.
For more information or to register for the run, visit www.escapefromrun.com. Registration ends on June 24 and there is no day-of registration.