Battling zombies and poor weather for a cause

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May 21, 2015 8:15 AM

Jaime Pollmateer Photo

Runners tackled obstacles, got muddy and dodged hordes of the living dead at the Hillmond Zombie Run on May 16, all the while raising money for the maintenance and operations of the Redden Centennial Arena.

Despite the cold, gloom and scattered bouts of rain, volunteers showed up in full force, close to 100 people, as well as 200 registered runners who came out to battle the elements and show their support.

“I’m pretty sure anybody who woke up this morning and took a look out the window said, ‘Yeah, I’m not doing that,’” said organizer Marlene Graff with a bit of humour.

“So I’m pretty impressed. We have 50 zombies who are all volunteers and probably another 50 volunteers between our course marshals and everybody else. Nobody cancelled out on me, so it was pretty nice they all showed up knowing that they’re sitting out there freezing for three hours.”

For the second year of the run, the organizers changed the course by adding new obstacles to make it more challenging for participants. As for the organizers, Mother Nature provided some challenges with winds that blew down signs and wreaked havoc with their tarp slides.

Despite the inclement weather, Graff said everyone seemed to be having fun and they compromised by moving the concession stands and beer gardens inside the arena.

“Last year, we were able to put everything outside and have beer gardens in the sunshine, but last night we had to make the decision when we kept looking at the weather and it wouldn’t change for us,” she said. “We had to move everything inside and that was not what our plans were but it makes it better in the long run.”

Graff said they’re always trying to come up with different ideas for raising money because they get tired of doing the same old fundraisers and after attending a mud run a couple years ago, she thought it might be a good idea to try out in Hillmond.

She joked and said people thought she was kind of “nuts” when she suggested it, but after hearing about zombie runs they do in the U.S., they figured they could try it out and “so far, so good.”

“Last year, we had such good and positive feedback that we were already talking about the next one a month later,” she said “(But as for planning next year’s event), we’re all pretty burnt out. We kind of upped the ante for ourselves and we made it more challenging.

There’s so much big work to be doing that I’m not even going to ask anybody yet or it will be a definite no,” she added with a laugh.

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