HARRISONBURG — Run! Zombies are coming!
This weekend, the fifth annual Zombie Run returns to the grounds of Fear Forest to raise funds for Brain Injury Connections of the Shenandoah Valley. Unlike a conventional race, Saturday’s 2-mile course brings runners through a spooky cornfield and woodlands as they’re being chased by zombies.
The race is a family-friendly event, but the chase is meant to haunt and frighten, so be aware when bringing kids along. Each year, the race includes over 450 people, according to Tamara Wagester, executive director of Brain Injury Connections. Wagester said the race is the biggest fundraiser for the organization, which works to provide financial and social support to survivors of brain injuries.
“Brain Injury Connections of the Shenandoah Valley helps individuals in a seven-county radius here in the Valley who has sustained a brain injury. Primarily we provide case management services to them. But we also do other services like consultations and support groups,” Wagester said.
The nonprofit serves the counties of Rockingham, Augusta, Page, Shenandoah, Bath, Highland and Rockbridge, and all the cities within. This year, it aims to raise $16,000. All proceeds go to providing case management services, consultations and support groups.
Randi Metcalfe, an Augusta County resident, is participating for her third time alongside her daughter. Metcalfe said she often goes to local competitive runs, and she enjoys the twist of the Zombie Run, which creates a fun adventure for her family.
“I do the Zombie Run with my daughter. We have a friendly competition to see who can ‘survive!’ That is the best thing about this race because it can be for anyone who just wants to have fun,” Metcalfe said. “I love spending the time with my daughter to participate in such a fun event for a great cause that brings together the community together for a ton of smiles and laughter.”
Runners wear a flag football belt with three flags that can be snatched by zombies. Survivors make it to the finish life, while those who lose all three flags are “infected” and must go through a “vaccination quarantine.” All racers can win prizes and enjoy light refreshments after escaping the zombies.
Rebecca Penrod, event coordinator, brings the Zombie Run to life each year. All the features of Fear Forest, including the light, fog and animatronics, are active to add an additional layer to the run.
“Sometimes there’s surprises throughout Fear Forest. … It’s completely different than anything else that happens in the area. I know that we do have a lot of 5K races in the area,” Penrod said.
Runners who choose to opt out of the zombie fiasco run in the first wave. To participate, individuals must donate in person the day of or online. Adult registration is $25, students are $15 and T-shirts are $17.
Registration for the race begins at 10:30 a.m. and runners are off the line at 11 a.m. Fear Forest is located at 6340 Oak Shade Road east of Cross Keys.