MASSENA - The Boys and Girls Club of Massena is letting the zombies loose this month.
The first-ever Zombie 5K Run to benefit the club will be held Oct. 26 on the John Story Trail, located on Massena High School campus.
With Halloween coming at the end of the month, race director and Publicity Committee member Benjamin R. Todd said the fundraiser fits perfectly with the spirit of the season.
It came out of kind of a brainstorm with the Boys and Girls Club Publicity Committee, Mr. Todd said, noting they were trying to find a way to not only raise money for the Boys and Girls Clubs efforts, but also spread awareness of the club.
It seemed to jive well with the upcoming Halloween holiday. Zombies seem to be so popular these days, he said.
Participants can run or walk a 5K or optional 2.5K course along the trail. But theres one catch. Theyre going to meet swarms of zombies along the way. And they need to escape their clutches.
People can walk, but it doesnt mean theyre going to walk through the zombie zone. When they reach the station they may run their butts off, then take a rest, Mr. Todd said. Weve had a great response so far.
Every runner will have a flag football-style belt with three health flags. They need to make it past the zombies with at least one of their health flags left to survive. If the zombies take all of the flags, youll finish undead.
Because of the zombie element, the goal for the run or walk isnt to speed through the course, but rather to outsmart and out-maneuver the zombies to reach the end safely with health flags remaining.
Theyll be in four separate locations, Mr. Todd said.
He noted that they plan to find a way to keep the zombies hidden so theyre not standing in the open and visible to the participants.
How it turns out, you never know. The point really is to have people come out and participate in the run or participate as a spectator and stick around afterward. We have some fun things going on, he said.
The thing thats really great about this particular format is it opens up the opportunity for participation by not only the traditional 5K runners, but zombies or people who want to walk or people who want to contribute to the Boys and Girls Club effort, he said.
That doesnt include pets, though.
Its not a pet-friendly event. Dogs dont take well to zombies, Mr. Todd said.
He said theyve been accepting registration for 40 zombies and have lined up some make-up artists to provide life-like realism to those characters.
Weve had a great response from people who want to be zombies, he said. Its going to be entertaining.
Mr. Todd said participants will receive a Great Futures Start Here Boys and Girls Club wristband, and post-race refreshments will also be provided.
We opted not go with a T-shirt because of the cost. We want to make sure all the money goes into the Boys and Girls Club, he said.
Registration is on-going for the event, which begins at 11 a.m. Human runners and walkers should arrive before 10:30 a.m. for check-in. Zombies will need to be there by 9:30 a.m. for make-up and instructions. The start and finish area will be at the Churchill Avenue extension, which can be easily accessed from Sherwood Drive.
We really need people to register as runners early so we know how many belts to get and can have everything prepared. It will make registration easier the day of the race. Were going to have a lot of people volunteering to help out, Mr. Todd said. Were hopeful we have a great turnout. Well go on rain or shine.
Participants will need to sign two waivers - one for the use of a school facility and the other the traditional race waiver.
For complete details and to register, visit BGCMassena.org/support/Zombie or email the Boys & Girls Club of Massena at info@BGCMassena.org today.
The Boys and Girls Club of Massena is using the event as one of their fundraisers as they work toward their goal of opening their doors in May 2014 at the former St. Josephs Social Hall.