Run2Survive fun for living and undead

Run with zombies supports Evergreen School District Foundation

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Can a zombie run three miles?

Purists claim that their bodies are far too decayed for running, much less long-distance running. And yet, behind the fields of Endeavor Elementary School, a breed of enhanced zombies laced up their sneakers and ran in search of human flesh.

Run2Survive was one of three events Saturday in support of the Evergreen School District Foundation. It was the first time Energy Events, which also sponsors the Vancouver USA Marathon, jumped onboard the zombie run fad, said race director Brian Davis.

The foundation gets most of its money for scholarships and grants from a spring gala. Park Llafet, vice president of fundraising, said he wanted to add a fall fundraiser that was more geared toward the community.

Survivors took off at dusk with a two-minute head start on the impending horde of the undead. The zombies ran wearing what they died in: hospital scrubs, tutus and pajamas. Some had the foresight to put on compression capris and running jerseys before their untimely demise.

Although winner Dan McElrath finished in just 18 minutes, he did not survive. Being ahead of the pack turned out to be a disadvantage; he was ambushed by zombies hiding out along the course who jumped out of the bushes and snatched both of his red lifeline flags.

“When you’re alone, you’re doomed,” he said. “I guess, like in the real zombie apocalypse, safety in numbers.”

The 44-year-old, who wore army fatigues and carried a 2-pound machete as he ran, said his wife was running as a zombie.

As others approached the finish line, the zombies carried fistfuls of red lifelines and their scabs started to slide from their sweat-soaked faces.

About 350 people/zombies participated, including 75 kids in an earlier run. Davis said he plans to host a similar zombie run next year.

Patty Hastings: 360-735-4513; http://www.twitter.com/col_cops; patty.hastings@columbian.com.