This is it. This is the end. It’s the apocalypse. Zombies have taken over and they completely overwhelmed and devoured the poor inhabitants of Manhattan. Only a few survivors managed to hold out by hiding on Roosevelt Island, a small island that is pretty much cut off from Manhattan except by a single F line and a tram.
The only hope for these survivors are for them to be rescued by band of misfits, poorly armed and trained, but full of gusto and bravery. They are ready to attack the zombies.
This was the cool premise of Zombies Take Manhattan!, an event organized by my rapidly growing favorite racing organization, NYCRuns. I found out about this a few days ago. I had originally intended to simply spectate, but I read on their website that if you volunteer at one race, you can have one free entry to any race they put on or produce (with a couple of exceptions). Volunteering sounded like fun and I knew that I would definitely do more races with them in the future. I already ran in one of NYCRuns’ races and thought it was very well organized, plus I plan on running the 10K in the Verrazano Running Festival in a few weeks that they’re doing.
I arrived at 8:30 and had this awesome make-up put on me by one of the make-up artist. He was absolutely fantastic and when he was done, he simply said, “You look f*cked up.” Excellent!
Participants starting arriving around 9 am, but the race didn’t start until 10 am. So that gave me a lot of time to run around and do a little pre-attacking. I ran up to people groaning, “Brains!” I snuck up on them while they were busy with their phones or talking to their friends. Even funnier was when the racers were pre-occupied with warming up so they were briskly jogging and I ran up to them at an angle where they wouldn’t see me until the last minute. I growled. They turned their heads and yelped. So much fun scaring them!
I had tons of photos taken of me and taken with me. This guy was one of the zombie racers (he ended up winning best male costume). He was also a popular favorite. The weird eye contact was a nice touch.
There were about 20 racers who chose to participate as zombies. They were released around 10 o’clock and were allowed to roam wherever they wished. The human racers were released about 10 minutes later with instructions to hit three different checkpoints where they would receive a token. Each token represented a human they saved. At the same time, they were to try to avoid getting eaten by zombies. Each human racer had a flag football belt on with three flags. The zombie racers would try to get the flags.
The race volunteers were placed at the last section of the race, where all the runners would be funneled through before getting to the finish line. We were to scare them a bit before letting them go. If they still had two flags, we were allowed to chase them to take one. This turned out to be a non-issue.
About a couple hundred people showed up and having 20 or so zombies let loose was apparently too much for our brave rescuers. They were completely overwhelmed and I only counted three runners who actually came through with one flag still on. One of the runners had a team of bodyguards who had already “died” protecting her. So I just had fun lunging after them and chasing a few who were still game for being chased.
This was the first year that NYCRuns had put on this event. Next time there needs to be fewer zombies or the zombies released after the human runners, so that there could be more survivors.
I had a terrific time volunteering at Zombies Take Manhattan! It really was a lot of fun. I threw myself into being the best zombie I could be and this ended up paying dividends. I got recognized for being “Best Volunteer” and got a miniature plastic model of a brain. Afterward there was a Halloween parade on Roosevelt Island (unrelated to our event). There were several costumed kids and I had more fun lurching around and scaring them.
NYCRuns plans on having another Zombie Run in the spring in New Jersey (hopefully Liberty State Park). I can’t wait to be a part of this again.