By: Alivia Melius (grade 12)
Tussey Mountain High School and local community members rose from the grave and to the occasion to participate in the first ever Zombie Run held on the evening of Nov. 2, 2019, at Warriors Path State Park in Saxton, Pennsylvania. The event began at 6:30 PM, at dusk, giving participants a truly spooky experience. Tussey Mountain’s PRIDE Team–the school’s citizenship organization–sponsored the community-wide event and encouraged students and their families to join in on the fun.
The Zombie Run was a 5k long distance run. The cost to enter was $20.00. Participants in the run were given the option between playing the role of a zombie or a runner. Zombies came dressed in chilling attire to the event. Their goals were to “infect” the runners by grabbing all of their flags before they finished the race. About 25 zombies and 15 runners took part in the run. “I volunteered myself as a zombie for the run,” freshman Chloe Ritchey said. “My favorite part was crawling across the ground to attack people. It was really fun.”
A lot of preparation went into the Zombie Run event. “A lot of people tossed around wanting to do a run at some point,” Amanda Adams, a PRIDE advisor, said. “I was the one who really wanted to do a ‘zombie’ run. We also had a color run in mind and a couple other ideas, but I love Halloween so that’s the one I pushed for.” Robert Hummel— another advisor for the PRIDE Team— planned out the trails. On the day of the event, the PRIDE Team visited the location to remove any obstructions on the path. “We set up a canopy where we had registration. We did zombie makeup and organized the students to decide who was doing what,” Adams said. “We had to reserve the state park and do all the paperwork for that; there was a nominal fee of about $25. We designed t-shirts as well.”
There were no defined winners, but those who completed the race without getting infected received medals proclaiming them “survivors.” Those who completed the race but did get “bitten” were awarded medals that deemed them “infected.” “I felt really accomplished! I was so shocked that I survived,” 6th grader Michael Ritchey said. “[My favorite moment was] whenever I came up to my sister Chloe–she was one of the zombies. I would totally participate again.”
The Zombie Run was a non-profit event, and any proceeds raised went back into the costs of the function by the PRIDE Team. “I think that everyone who came out had a really, really nice time.” Adams said. The PRIDE Team plans to host another run in the future.