MASSENA The Boys and Girls Club of Massena is letting the zombies loose this month.
The first Zombie 5k Run to benefit the club will be held Oct. 26 on the John Story Trail, at the 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 it was trying to find a way not only to raise money for the club, but to spread awareness of it.
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. But theres one catch: Theyre going to meet swarms of zombies along the way. And they have 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.
Each runner will have a flag-football-style belt with three health flags. They have to make it past the zombies with at least one health flag left to survive. If the zombies take all of the flags, the runner will 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 outmaneuver the zombies to reach the end safely with health flags remaining.
Theyll be in four separate locations, Mr. Todd said.
He noted the plan is to find a way to keep the zombies hidden so they can surprise 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.
The committee has been accepting registration for 40 zombies and has lined up some makeup artists to provide realism to those characters.
Weve had a great response from people who want to be zombies, he said. Its going to be entertaining.
Registration is underway for the event, which begins at 11 a.m. Human runners and walkers should arrive before 10:30 a.m. for check-in. Zombies have to be there by 9:30 a.m. for makeup and instructions. The start and finish area will be at the Churchill Avenue extension, which can be easily accessed from Sherwood Drive.
For full details or to register, visit BGCMassena.org/support/Zombie or email the Boys & Girls Club of Massena at info@BGCMassena.org.
The Boys and Girls Club is using the event as one of its fundraisers as it works toward its goal of opening its doors in May at the former St. Josephs Social Hall.