Race director Matthew Ross and his #1 volunteer, his wife, Jennifer, welcomed 831 runners, walkers, creepers and crawlers to the 9th annual Zombie 5K Run, starting and finishing at the Right Brain Brewery on East 16th Street. The Zombie Run website says it all: ”The Zombie Run has become a Traverse City Halloween tradition. What’s not to like? Zombies and beer have always been a winning combination. Over the years we have seen zombies from all walks of life, or should I say death. Who will show up this year? The only thing we never saw was someone not having a great time! Right Brain Brewery will be hosting the run as always. The run wouldn’t be the same without our friends at the Brain, get it? Stick around after the race for the medal ceremony and best costumes prizes. We may have a few other surprises as well. Plus the beer will be flowing, who says you can’t drink before noon? Besides, you’re already dead anyway! All event proceeds go to support TART Trails.” For more surprises including hilarious videos, visit the website at http://www.tczombierun.com/ . The race “spawned” a full length movie, “Thaw of the Dead” produced locally and featuring many area scenes. More on the movie later.
Sponsored by Right Brain Brewery, Meijer, KLT Radio featuring on air personality Ida Reed, Williams Honda, Interlochen IPR Radio, Allen Kent Photo, Crawford Art & Design, Cone Drive Gear, Patient Care Specialists, Michigan Auto Law, Kathy’s Auto Repair, S. M. Smyka DDS, Dr Robert Dotterer and The Cheese Lady, Race director, Matthew Ross, called on Mother Nature Zombie. Raining heavily prior to the race and again after the race, mysteriously, Mother Nature Zombie, who was actually attending the race, prevailed. Rain held off during the event. We had great Fall running weather. If you want to see how your friends did, view the results of the Zombie Run at this link; Zombie Results.
Who “won” the race? He was not the fastest, but my vote for “winner” goes to Gary Keyes, age 68, from Traverse City. Gary had polio when he was four years old. Gary runs because he can. I have known Gary for about 40 years. Today, I learned he had polio as a youth. Congratulations to my “winner”, Gary Keyes. Gary, you are a lesson in perseverance to many who sat at home today. Gary’s Zombie costume was creative and colorful.
The Beaumont Hospital Pediatric Nurses came all the way to Traverse City from the Detroit area to run as a team of, get this, Pediatric Zombie Nurses. They ran as a group including Matt Nelson, Jade Gamber, Jordan Boyton, Bryn Bisson, Arron Brisson, Janie Green and Marissa Cimini. Everyone enjoyed the pleasure they brought to the other runners. Quite a juxtaposition to the serious nature of their profession. The Pediatric team stayed in motel rooms for two nights proving the economic impact of the Zombie Run.
Sara Pyszora, 36, from West Branch, was a scary Zombie bride. Sara says she wants to run more often. Celin Williams, 22, Ran as Jesus. And he was a remarkable likeness with his long hair. To complete the image, Celin ran the race in sandals. For Sandi Sebastian, 47, from Vermontville, the Zombie Run was her first race. Judging from her smile at the end of the run, the race was a big hit. Sheri Oja, 50 of St Ignace, and Ashley Bosley, 30 of Traverse City, ran as Zombie Lumberjacks. Why do they race? It’s a mother-daughter activity. Mom and daughter entered several races as a family fun activity. They made a great Zombie team. Tom Harbaugh, 68, from Boyne City runs because running keeps him young. Rylie Kaltenbach, 8, and mom, Eirn Kaltenbach were a family of zombies who run because it is a family activity. Brenda Pierce, 59, Kingsley, was a “Beatle Juice” zombie. Brenda has auto-immune illness, suffers from severe arthritis and has many allergies. Running keeps her body loose and controls the impact of serious arthritis and allergies. Gailann Foster 62, of Interlochen, and Cindy Parski, of Grand Rapids, ran as Zombie sisters. Cindy says running keeps her mentally healthy and helps her fight depression. Mark Sanchez, a pastor, 41, of Traverse City, runs to stay healthy and so he can enjoy his family longer. Justin Smith, 37, ran as a Panda complete with a battery powered air source to enable his Panda costume to stay inflated. Jennifer Bovee, 37 and Brittany Mcguire, 25 both of TC, ran in clever Pennywise clown costumes. Running helps them avoid anxiety. Mike Dakoske, one of my former training buddies, ran his 9th consecutive Zombie Run. Mike has 9 Zombie Run tee shirts!
Bonnie Mobley 48, came all the way from Chicago with her husband Norm, 62, to run the Zombie. They run to bring clean water to kids in Africa, kids who often have to walk 6K or more to bring the water home. She has raised $3400,00 for Team World Vision to bring water and commerce to African villages. Bonnie is a team captain in Chicago. She just finished the Chicago Marathon, her third in a row, with over 2,000 Team World Vision members. If you scroll down in this blog, you’ll find an article on our own Global 6K for Water. Victoria and Matthew Frye, both 55, from Columbus, Ohio, started running so they could enjoy an activity with their kids. He works at Abbot Labs. Abbot is a sponsor of the Chicago Marathon and other major races around the globe. The Frye’s are moving to Traverse City next year. Running keeps them active as they age. Running must work. They look very young.
Volunteers were critical for the Zombie Run. Mike Ross and his daughter, Olivia were “everywhere” before and during and after the race. Mike is the twin brother of race director Mathew Ross. They really look alike. And to make matters more confusing, both work at Munson Hospital. Three important volunteers worked at registration, Marta Hepler Drahos, John Parker, and Barb Solomonson. Milixa Milan usually wins the costume contest with her “horrendous” gelatin make up, but this year she was one of two costume judges. Arron Tackett was the other member of the judges committee. Aaron should know costumes. He is a special effects make-up artist. Aaron’s skills can be seen because he was the make-up artist for the local movie, “Thaw of the Dead”, spawned from the Zombie Run.
Matthew and Jennifer Ross hope to see you at next year’s Zombie Run (or the Dune Dash which Matthew also directs). You’ll enjoy the fun time and great costumes. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. Run, Walk, Crawl or Creep, but be there!
Your author, Mickey Fivenson, has trained over 150,000 miles in 48 years of running. He has completed over 60 marathons and holds one marathon world record with his sons, Zack and Adam. Mickey is the former director of the National Cherry Festival Runs. Mickey’s doctors credit running toward surviving several strokes. If you’d like Mickey to cover your race, if you need tips on training, email mickey at telecomclassifiedads dot com. Today, Mickey took second place in his age group.