Fourth annual Zombie Run grows in popularity, returns to Bluffton

mmccombs@islandpacket.comOctober 24, 2013 

It's unclear whether it's part of an emerging American fitness craze or a side effect of the popularity of the hit television series "The Walking Dead," but one thing is for certain.

People in the Lowcountry are increasingly excited about outrunning zombies.

The fourth annual Subaru of Hilton Head Bluffton Zombie Run, hosted by Bear Foot Sports, will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday in downtown Bluffton, and the relatively new Halloween tradition continues to grow in popularity.

"We've already exceeded (the number of runners) we've ever had before," said Bear Foot Sports owner Mark Weisner, who said the number of registered runners has shot past the previous high mark of 160 and should end up somewhere between 200 and 250 by race time.

"There are lot more people doing zombie runs now than there were four years ago when we started this," Weisner said. "Holiday races do better than typical runs, and this has become the fun thing to do. It's really snowballed. People have embraced it, not only here, but around the country."

The 1-mile and 5K family twilight fun run and walk have a Halloween theme and many contestants wear costumes. Both courses start at Pin Oak Street and finish at the Calhoun Street Promenade.

The post-race Promenade Zombie Fest Halloween Block Party will feature refreshments, a costume contest, trick-or-treating, a kids play area, story telling, pumpkin toss, a pub crawl, and much more. It is open to all, not just race contestants, and will have a festival environment, according to Weisner.

There will be awards for the top finishers in both races and for best costume for groups, individuals and pats.

The added twist this year involves zombies participating in the actual race.

"'We have Beat the Zombie," Weisner said. "There will be a zombie running the 5K, and everybody who beats him will get a prize."

Zombies will be present along to course to scare contestants, as well.

The event benefits the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life and the Bluffton Fins Swim Team. According to Weisner, a percentage from registration fees go to the charities, which will also raise money by participating in and collecting donations at the post-race festivities.

Racers who register late may not be guaranteed a T-shirt. Weisner said the great response for the race has meant organizers underestimated the number of T-shirts needed. They will accommodate as many people as possible.

Weisner said it shouldn't dampen the participants' Halloween spirit, though.

"It should be a lot of fun," Weisner said. "Every year it gets a little bit better."

Fourth Annual Subaru of Hilton Head Bluffton Zombie Run

5 p.m. Saturday, downtown Bluffton

Late registration: 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday

Cost: $20 for kids, $25 for adults

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