Zombies Take Over Downtown Grand Rapids
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 3:00PM
Laurie Brady - Webmaster

Halloween nighttime 5K race benefits Michigan Blood's Be The Match Program


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (September 22, 2014)
- The 3rd annual Zombie Dash will be held Saturday, October 25, 2014, at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids. The run, with waves from 6:30 to 7:00 pm, features a 5K course along the Grand River, including “Apocalypse Avenue” full of junked cars and “Kill Hill,” a challenging climb up the tallest hill in Grand Rapids.

“It’s a 5K run at night, but it is definitely more than just a run,” said Mark VanTongeren, co-owner and race director of Michigan Adventure Racing LLC. “Its part run, part obstacle course and part haunted house.” The race pits “survivors” against the “undead” in a 5K run occurring between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m. Runners follow a course along the Grand River. “Runners have three flag-football ‘life strips’ to keep from the zombies, and each strip they keep gets them a minute shaved off their time,” said VanTongeren. “The runners have the most fun at Apocalypse Avenue. We drag in old cars and have the zombies on the cars. Over 100 of our 350 zombies are in that area and the runners have to dodge them.”

The race takes place from sunset to darkness. Those beginning before sunset can almost make it home before dark if they are quick. Survivors at later start times will race as darkness falls. Runners in later waves will be required to wear a headlamp or flashlight for safety.  The cost for runners is $45 (kids 10 and under free with parent/guardian) and zombies “eat” for free (or $15 if they want the shirt).

The charity partner for this race is the Michigan Blood Stem Cell Program, which educates the public about the importance of the Be The Match registry and marrow/stem cell donation. Last year there were over 1,200 runners and 350 zombies who participated. $5,000 was raised for Michigan Blood’s Stem Cell Program. “We are very honored that Michigan Adventure Racing has chosen us (Michigan Blood’s Stem Cell Program) again this year and are donating part of the proceeds to help us add more donors to the Be The Match registry,” said Katie McClain, Stem Cell Recruitment Specialist and Be The Match Representative at Michigan Blood.  “Only 55% of sick people find a match, so adding more to the registry will help find more matches, give hope, and ultimately save lives. Through recruitment efforts at last year’s race, a donor was matched with a 10-year-old boy needing a stem cell transplant which saved his life.” 

Sponsors to date include Gazelle Sports, Sight Optical Boutique, Founders Brewing Co. The Kostume Room, Love Tattoo, Metro Health Sports Medicine, Westwind Construction and Let Us Design/Build.

For more information about the race and to register, go to www.TheZombieDash.com and visit www.facebook.com/TheZombieDash to join the conversation.

Michigan Adventure Racing LLC is the organization behind The Zombie Dash. Michigan Adventure Racing also puts on the Michigan Adventure Races (four each year), Hurt the Dirt trail race, and Dirty Duel trail race.

Article originally appeared on Michigan Blood (http://www.miblood.org/).
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