October 19, 2013

Participants run for their lives at annual Wichita zombie event

There was no place to hide for the living who participated in the second annual Wichita Zombie Run 5K.

There was no place to hide for the living who participated in the second annual Wichita Zombie Run 5K.

Runners had to survive a tunnel, maze, abandoned cars and shoot paintball targets of the dead throughout the grounds of the Kansas Coliseum on Saturday afternoon – all while trying to avoid hundreds of brain-eating zombies.

“This definitely has a unique flavor,” said Randy Mijares, one of the owners of Go Run and coordinator for the event. “It’s great fun to see how people get involved with the costumes, and I think some of them think there really are zombies.”

Many of the attendees said they were fans of AMC’s hit show “The Walking Dead,” including siblings Catalina Bradley, 14, and John Bradley, 16, who drove up from Texas to run with their cousins Maria and Jerry Bradley of Wichita.

They all dressed in Mario Brothers costumes – complete with moustaches – as they ran for their lives.

“We always fantasize about what we would do if (the zombie apocalypse) were to happen,” said Maria Bradley. “Our family is so tight-knit, our biggest thing is to come together. The first thing that comes to my mind is to drive to Texas or have them come up here.”

Husband-and-wife zombie duo Sean and Danielle Rourke of Mulvane said the event was “more family fun than ‘World War Z.’ ”

“I’m a huge zombie nut – ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ everything,” said Danielle Rourke, who is a business analyst for Cargill when she’s not eating human flesh. “I love zombies. They’re scary and one of those things that are really hard to beat. It makes the terror that much better.”

Before the run, Sean Rourke said, he had to take the dog for a walk – in full zombie attire.

“Ironically, nobody even acknowledged me. They were all looking at the dog. It’s a husky, but kids are all like ‘Look at the wolf dog.’ But no one paid attention to me, just the dog. I got done and thought that was really disappointing.”

This year, the event lured about 350 runners and 250 zombies, fewer than last year, said Clark Schafer, one of the event coordinators. Proceeds from the run go toward Go Run Wichita’s foundation, Schafer said.

There was complimentary make-up and a free hotdog meal – no brains included – for those who wanted to volunteer as zombies.

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