The vampires had their time in the sun, er, night, but it’s zombies that rule the world and terrorize humans. For the second year in a row NYCRuns hosted the Zombies Take Manhattan running event this past Sunday, Oct 26th. This Zombie race is a little different from your usual road race. You sign up either as human or as a zombie. If you’re a human, you run a 3.5 mile course to rescue “humans” (aka tokens) at three different checkpoints and wear a belt with flags representing your lives. Your task is to rescue humans and come back to the finish line with at least one flag. If you’re a zombie, you chase after humans and grab their flags (aka brains). It’s 50% capture-the-flag, 50% road race, and 100% pure fun!
Last year I volunteered as a zombie and had so much fun that I did it again this year. I was Steve, the race director’s favorite zombie volunteer and he asked that I come back again. The fabulous make up artist, Daniel, who did my face last year was back again. I requested that he make me super scary and disgusting. Daniel loves doing zombie make up because it’s so much fun. He usually does wedding make up or make up for photo shoots that involves “making pretty girls even more pretty” (in his words) and he loved that he had an opportunity to let loose and go wild.
After I was made into a zombie, I threw myself into the role of being a zombie and had SO MUCH FUN scaring the bejeezus out of the racers. There’s a lot of down time between when the racers arrive and when the race actually starts. While the racers mill around and wait, I sneek up on them and growl, “BRRRAAAAAIIIIIIINNNNNSSSSS!!!!!!” Some of the participants were so startled that they shrieked in fright. Some were too scared to let out even a peep. One of the first girls I scared remembered me from last year. I snuck up on her from behind, she yelped, and turned around. When she saw me, she brightened up and said to her companion excitedly, “This was the girl I told you about from last year!” She showed me a picture that she took of me from last year and took another one. She then said to me, “Thank you so much for scaring me! This is great!” I also chased around some kids (whose parents egged me on to go after them). I roamed around, scared people, and got them good and ready for the zombie run. Ben walked around with me to take photos and little film clips of me scaring people. Several people took pictures with me as I obligingly “chomped” on their heads.
This year there was a regular 5K race, along with the zombie race. The 5K race started first. Then the zombie race started. Steve put me in charge of the final stage. The other volunteers and I made sure the racers ran up the last small hill into a makeshift holding pen that funneled the racers to the finish line. Our job as volunteers were to make sure that the runners ran in the correct direction. Once they were in the holding pen, we pretended to chase after them.
I had a lot of fun volunteering for Zombies Take Manhattan. NYCRuns has a very generous volunteer program, where if you volunteer for a race, they’ll give you a $25 credit for any future race that they host or for select client’s races where NYCRuns does the timing. NYCRuns has some of the cheapest races in the NYC metropolitan area, so $25 either completely covers or almost completely covers the race fee. Unlike other races where I would probably be relegated to doing the usual necessary volunteer work (e.g., bag check, water stop), I get to do something more fun and different by running around as a zombie.
If you’re in the NYC area, check NYCRuns for their races. I’ll most likely be at the Running Festival of Lights on Nov 24th. Come join the fun!