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Zombie Dash pairs fitness with fun

BY HEATHER COX - hcox@h-ponline.com

The second annual HARTA-Ween Zombie Dash is coming soon, giving the community another chance to run (or walk) away from zombies and other Halloween creatures, to avoid “infection.”

The Huntington Area Recreational Trail Association (HARTA) will be hosting three different routes on October 13 at Yeoman Park, beginning with registration at 5 p.m. and the race at 6 p.m.

This will include a one-mile route and a 5K and 10K route, open to anyone of all ages. Race coordinator and chairperson Kelly Frank said each participating runner will wear a flag football belt representing their life belt, with three flags on it. As they run along their route, zombies and other Halloween creatures will try to snag the flags.

Frank said if someone gets to the end of the course with all of their flags, they are a survivor, and if someone gets to the end without any of their flags, they are infected.

Runners can register individually or with a group. Frank said they have quite a few families that enjoy doing the race together.

“It’s a great outing for families ... a lot of people who register are families but there are also other people that register, and basically, it became word of mouth. People really enjoyed it. They had fun, and it’s a really pretty course as well,” Frank said.

She explained that along with using the New Erie trail, they are also collaborating with Huntington University to utilize some of its courses and trails.

In addition to runners and zombies, Frank said people will be decorating pumpkins to place on the trail, some will be organizing Halloween scenes on the trail and there will be Bowls Frozen Desserts ice cream and food from the Huntington Optimist Club for purchase.

Awards will be distributed to the top female and top male of the 5K and 10K races, as well as awards for the volunteers, including best Halloween character, best decorated pumpkin and best Halloween themed scene.

Volunteers will be registering and checking participants in as well as keeping an eye on those running in case of injury. They will also help direct people along the routes, hand out water and of course – some will dress up in Halloween garb, in attempt to “infect” those who pass by.

Frank said they hope to raise awareness for HARTA through this event as well as get families moving.

“Basically it’s an awareness thing for the trail system and to get families out there and be active and have fun,” she said.

As of Tuesday, 177 people have registered for the race. Frank added that they encourage anyone from the public to come, even if it’s just to cheer on the runners or to support local food place that will be present.

For those who register before the day of the event, students cost $10, individuals cost $15 and a family of up to five people is $40 with additional members costing $8 each. For those who register the day of the event, a student is $15, an individual is $20 and a family of up to five people is $45 with each additional person being $8 each.

The money all goes back to HARTA to continue developing and creating trails and programs.

Frank said they would still accept help from anyone interested in volunteering. For more information, visit www.harta-gotrails.org/ or call 260-355-5103.