The zombie apocalypse is upon us, or at least it was this past Saturday, October 9, 2010, at This is the Place Heritage Park during the “Night of the Running Dead” 5K run and 1-mile “Creep n’ Crawl.”
Over 1200 people came to the park dressed up, or not, as zombies or the survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Runners and spectators were not required to dress up but it was encouraged and for $6 attendees could have their face painted like a zombie.
A limited number of red and black “Night of the Running Dead” t-shirts were also available to purchase for $10. The t-shirts had “Survival Rule #1: Cardio” from the movie Zombieland screen printed on the back, along with a list of sponsors.
The race was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. with the “survivors” lining up first to get a one-minute head start. However, due to the unexpected amount of people that wanted to participate, the race was delayed.
At 3:11 p.m. the “survivors” took their place at the starting line and began running to the theme of Ghostbusters. A doctor in scrubs and rubber gloves, a prom king and queen and a girl dressed up as a bag of Jelly Belly’s was among the “survivors.”
Right after the “survivors” were allowed to take off, the “zombies” began lining up to get ready for their chance to “chase” them. At 3:12 p.m. the “zombies” began to run, lurch, and hobble their way around the track, in true zombie-movie fashion, to a slow and dramatic classical song.
The 1-mile “Creep n’ Crawl,” which began at 3:30 p.m., was a chance for people to participate in the race without actually having to run the whole 5K. The only stipulation was that the runners and walkers of the “Creep n’ Crawl” weren’t given race bibs that allowed them to compete.
A case of Pabst Blue Ribbon, a boy pushing a lawn mower, and a lady in a white dress covered in blood and pushing a casket-like stroller were among the participants of the “Creep n’ Crawl.”
Racers started crossing the finish line at about 3:30 p.m. with the first winner, a “survivor,” Brenden Cassidy finishing the 5K in less than 19 minutes.
Participants in sweat-smeared makeup were greeted with cold water bottles, halved bananas, oranges and cookies as they finished the race.
The winners of the “Night of the Running Dead” were divided into four groups, the female and male “survivors” and the female and male “zombies.”
The six winners from the “survivors” were given a gold, silver or bronze “shotgun shell” and the six winners from the “zombies” were given a gold, silver or bronze “brain.” The winners from each group were also given a cash prize of $75 for each of the four first place winners, $40 for the four second place winners, and $25 for the four third place winners.
Live music from bands Red Pete and Bear Proof entertained race spectators during the run.
Several companies including Overstock.com and 1-800-Contacts helped sponsor the event. Other companies donated things to a raffle, which proceeds went to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, including two lift tickets to Brighton Ski-Resort that were drawn for at least six times before someone finally came up to claim their prize.
A portion of the proceeds from the race fee’s, $25 for 5K runners and $10 for the “Creep n’ Crawl,” were also donated to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation.
The “Night of the Running Dead” 5K was a huge success and the organizers of the race hope to have a “bigger and better” one next year.