October 25 – Halloween nighttime 5K race is one of only a few in the U.S.
The 3rd annual Zombie Dash will be held Saturday, October 25, 2014, at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids. The run, with waves from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m., features a 5K course along the Grand River, including “Apocalypse Avenue,” full of junked cars and “Kill Hill,” a challenging climb up the tallest hill in Grand Rapids.
“It’s a 5K run at night, but it is definitely more than just a run,” said Mark VanTongeren, co-owner and race director of Michigan Adventure Racing LLC. “Its part run, part obstacle course and part haunted house.”
The race pits survivors against the undead in a 5K run occurring between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m. Runners follow a course along the Grand River. “Runners have three flag-football life strips to keep from the zombies, and each strip they keep gets them a minute shaved off their time,” said VanTongeren. “The runners have the most fun at Apocalypse Avenue. We drag in old cars and have the zombies on the cars. Over 100 of our 350 zombies are in that area and the runners have to dodge them.”
The race takes place from sunset to darkness. Those beginning before sunset can almost make it home before dark if they are quick. Survivors at later start times will race as darkness falls. Runners in later waves will be required to wear a headlamp or flashlight for safety.
You can register as either a runner or a zombie. The cost for runners is $45 (kids 10 and under free with parent/guardian) and zombies “eat” for free (or $15 if they want the shirt). For info and deadlines to register, go to http://thezombiedash.com.
The charity partner for this race is the Michigan Blood Stem Cell Program, which educates the public about the importance of the Be The Match registry and marrow/stem cell donation. Last year there were over 1,200 runners and 350 zombies who participated. $5,000 was raised for Michigan Blood’s Stem Cell Program.
“We are very honored that Michigan Adventure Racing has chosen us (Michigan Blood’s Stem Cell Program) again this year and are donating part of the proceeds to help us add more donors to the Be The Match registry,” said Katie McClain, Stem Cell Recruitment Specialist and Be The Match Representative at Michigan Blood. “Only 55 percent of sick people find a match, so adding more to the registry will help find more matches, give hope, and ultimately save lives. Through recruitment efforts at last year’s race, a donor was matched with a 10-year-old boy needing a stem cell transplant which saved his life.”