Zombie Dash October 13, 2012

October 13, 2012 Zombie Dash Update

The following is a repost of an email Update for Saturdays Zombie Dash!

We are just a few days away from what we believe is the only night zombie race of its kind on earth. If that isn’t enough to get you excited, then go run with my grandmother in some daytime Halloween fun run.

Everything you need to know about the race is in this Race Update or under the Race Info page. This is likely the longest and most detailed race update you will ever read! Sorry about that. It will be worth the time though – the best things in life require some work to enjoy. Well, not sunsets or the neighbor’s puppy. Anyway, moving on.

If you have a family member or friend going with you but not racing, they can best experience the event by being a trail monitor. Trail monitors are assigned a place on the trail to make sure everyone is aware of rooty or rocky sections, call in any medical or other needs, and report on any backups.
Bib/Shirt Pickup
If you are in the Flint area, we’d love it if you would pick up your shirt and/or bib at The Complete Runner at 915 South Dort Hwy on Friday from 12-7 pm to keep lines short on race day. Yes, we’d love it if you pick up bibs and shirts for your friends. Pick up last minute running gear and gels here too.

For runners who will do same-day shirt/bib pickup, please arrive at least an hour before your wave. You’ll need the time to park, take the shuttle, and get through bib/shirt pickup. We previously said 45 minutes but that did not include parking time. Those who did early pick up can arrive closer to 45 minutes. Please bring a bag to put your shirt in if you are not wearing it. We won’t have a “bag check” system but we will create a corral for bags, extra clothes, race shirts and a volunteer will monitor. Do NOT keep valuables in this corral. Wear a hip or hydration pack for keys and other valuables or keep them in your car and out of view if possible. The only cash you might need is $20 for an extra shirt if we have some left or $3 for a bumper sticker.

You do not need to bring a confirmation sheet. We have you on our list. However, please remember your wave NUMBER (more so than the time) as we may send waves off before or after the actual wave time. We can look it up if you forget but here they are: 6:15=W (walkers), 6:30=1, 6:35=2, 6:40=3, 6:45=4, 6:50=5, 6:55=6, 7:00=7, 7:10=9.

Zombies should pick up their shirt after the race so that you avoid runners seeing you and ensure you are at your “feed zone” by 6:00 (Groveland Park access) or 6:15 (McGinnis Lake Campground) when the walker wave starts. We guarantee a shirt will be waiting for you after the race.
We have just a few slots available if you are unable to do your own makeup. Pleaseemail me by Friday and indicate if 5:00, 5:15, 5:30, or 5:45 is preferred. Thanks to Ashley Obsborn for offering this service.

Start/Finish, What to Bring
To set expectations, this is a “rustic” event and campground, which should add to the authenticity of the experience. There is no power/lighting so we’ll be using generators to run our computers. It’s as if the power grid has permanently failed! Everyone should have a headlamp on or flashlight handy. Please check the forecast and bring appropriate wet weather gear. The trail is well covered by the tree canopy but the start/finish not as much.

Trail Conditions
Keep in mind that this is a trail race with uneven ground in many locations. We will have volunteers and/or glowsticks at some of the really rooty or rocky spots. IF YOU HAVE A PHYSICAL CONDITION WHICH COULD PUT YOU AT A HIGHER RISK FOR INJURY (E.G., WEAK ANKLE OR KNEE) ON SUCH TERRAIN, WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU WALK THE COURSE IN THE 6:15 WAVE or contact mark@miadventureracing for a partial refund (the shirt is still yours if you can pick it up).

  • Must bring: headlamp or flashlight with new(er) batteries (headlamp preferred)
  • May bring: reflective running clothes, rain gear as needed, warm clothes for after the race, camp chair, food and beverages
  • Don’t bring: any valuables that you can’t run with

Parking and Where to Go From There
Entry into Holly State Recreation Area may require the State of Michigan Recreation Passport. The $10 fee covers entry into all Michigan state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, non-motorized trail head parking and boat launches for one year for those who sign up when they renew their license or it’s good until your plate expires. I don’t know if they will be collecting but just a heads up.

A good Google Maps address is simply “McGinnis Road, Holly, MI”. That will get you to a spot between Heron Lake parking and the Organizational Campground to the east. Check the map on the race site. Because the main parking area is a mile from the start/finish area, it’s important for everyone to understand your options for parking and getting to where you need to be. The great thing about this is it better allows zombies to get into their “feed zones” without ruining the surprise and the “survivor vs. zombie” feel.

Zombie Parking Options
1. Park at Heron Lake, take one of two Michigan Blood “zombie shuttles” up to McGinnis Lake Campground. Spread out on the trail, heading primarily to the north/3K mark. A few can head toward the 5K mark where the trail eventually widens. After the race, return to the drop off spot next to the aid station to get picked up. One shuttle can go to Heron Lake parking if you are headed home to take some Pepto; the other will go to the finish line so you can enjoy the post-race fun. We may also use one of the school bus shuttles if needed.
2. Park at Groveland Township Offices/Park. 4695 Grange Hall Road. Spread out mostly to the west, some can move south. After the last wave comes through, drive to the Organizational Campground. We will have reserved parking spots for you.
3. Park at the Organizational Campground (start/finish). While we prefer zombies to stay away from runners, we understand there may be reasons why you need to park at the start/finish. You will need to get there early though. We’ve created an additional zombie zone for those of you in this camp – walk west/backwards from the finish. We ask zombies in this hilly last ½ mile or so to not grab runners’ life strips. They need a break at the end of the race!

Runner Parking Options
1. Get dropped off at the start/finish by your driver. This is recommended for vehicles with three or more people so that the shuttle is not overburdened. We have rented two 47-passenger buses but  if everyone just parks and waits for the bus, it will just create a big backlog.
2. Park at Heron Lake and take the school bus shuttle. It will loop around and meet you in the center lane, nearest the lake.
3. Park at Heron Lake and walk/jog one mile to the start/finish. There’s a trail that starts by the main intersection north of the lot (see green trail below) that follows the road and powerline all the way to the start. Honestly, it’s a pretty good warm-up distance.

The Start
We don’t have a wide starting area so when we announce each wave, runners will get in a long narrow chute, get their life strips tucked and checked, and head out by two or three every few seconds. With chip timing, all that matters is when you cross the start and finish mats. Trust us, you don’t want to hit that narrow opening in a wide group. There would be carnage before you even get to the zombies!

Runners may dress in some sort of survivor costume if they wish. We’d prefer that you don’t dress as a zombie but we won’t stop you from racing. You may not bring sharp objects with you on the run for obvious reasons. Whatever you wear, your bib must be on the front of your shirt and cannot be hidden from view or your time may not be recorded.

Survivor Mission
You will be handed two life strips (think flag football flags) in the start chute; tuck them into your waist with at least one foot of cloth showing. Your goal is to finish the race quickly and with some life remaining. You will have one minute added to your time for each strip you lose. If at anytime during the race your strips show less than a foot, you are seen tucking them in further, you have one in your hand or you grab one off the ground or from a zombie, or creating any similar special advantage, your bib will be recorded and your finish time will not count. This race isn’t about cheating the system, it’s about completing a challenging and unique race and having fun.

You will be directed into one of three finish chutes based on how many strips you have left. Please self-direct into these chutes to help out the volunteers and put your strips in the bins once any penalty time has been recorded.

Zombie Mission
The zombies’ mission is to freak out (not necessarily jump out like most monsters would) the survivors and grab those life strips. Please temper your enthusiasm for grabbing as many strips as you can. They cannot be redeemed for cash. Good guideline: be a typical zombie and stay slow and awkward where the trail is narrow and more nimble in wider areas. Please do not run after runners for more than a few yards. If we have 200 sprinter zombies, no runners will make it to the end with their life strips! We want to make it challenging but not impossible. Make sure you tuck those strips away so runners don’t grab any on the ground. Runners will have one minute added to their time for each life strip that they lose.

Please stay in your feed zone until the last wave of survivors comes through. Go ahead and ask a runner if you think it may be the end of the buffet. All good meals must come to an end. If we are on time with the waves, you should see the runners slow to a trickle by about 7:45 near Groveland Park and 8:00 or so near McGinnis Lake Campground. Please don’t rely on these times though in case we are behind (or ahead) of schedule. We’ll wait for you for the costume contest, raffle, etc.
We will have collection bins for the flesh you ripped off the survivors. They will be located at the two zombie access/drop off points next to the aid stations. As you are walking out the trail back to those points, could you please collect strips on the ground and place them in the bins? Thanks! We’ll of course clean the trail afterwards but that will save us some time.

Walkers, Keeping Trail Open
We have a new 6:15 wave for those who will walk most or all of the course. You do not need to change times to switch to that wave. 
Same goes for anyone who shows up late. Just hop in the next wave. Your time is determined by when you cross the start and finish mats. For everyone else, try to stick to your registered wave number/time so that waves are fairly balanced.

Walkers and those who need to walk for a portion of the running wave: PLEASE STAY OFF TO THE SIDE OF THE TRAIL. If you walk in the middle of the trail, bottlenecks will occur and you’ll diminish the experience for everyone. When the trail is only wide enough for one person (just a few spots), please do your best to hustle through that area so others can pass you when the trail widens. If you need to quit, please try to make it to an aid station at the 2K or 4K mark where there are EMTs and volunteers to get you back to the finish or your car.

Emergency Contacts
In an emergency, the fastest response is to call the Groveland Township Fire/Ambulance (John Williams) on site at 248.343.1381. If you don’t have this number, 911 will route to them. For minor injuries or other problems related to parking and the race, please find us at the start/finish or call us. My (Mark) number is 616.460.9331 and Greg is at 616.446.5249. You can also ask Michigan Blood volunteers or trail monitors (most will have reflective safety vests on) who may be able to help.

Some of you were registered by a friend or family member so you probably didn’t see the waiver. They signed it on your behalf. Please read it on our new waiver page.

After the race, we’ll have a marshmallow roast. Fruit too. You are welcome to bring campfire food and beverages. Camp chair and rain gear if needed. There are many picnic tables too. We only have a few fire pits so we’ll have to be patient with access to them.

Because most zombies will not arrive until after the race, the costume contest judging will be from around 8:00 to 8:45 pm. We’ll announce winners, along with the raffle winners (you are automatically entered as a participant) and top finishers after that. We have about 70 prizes in all. We went for quantity over high dollar value so expect lots of zombie videos and books and some running gift cards too.

Our Charity Partner
A portion of your entry fees will help Michigan Blood’s Stem Cell Program, which is an important part of all of our Zombie Dashes. At least 15% of our profits will go to fight blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma by lowering the costs of the simple but fairly expensive cheek swap test needed to get people on the national Be the Match donor registry. Please consider joining. It’s very cool to think that we all could save someone’s life some day because we were the perfect match for the healthy blood stem cells/marrow they desperately need.

Our Media Partner
Our media partner is Townsquare Media Flint radio stations, including WWBN/Banana 101.5, WCRZ/Cars 108, WRCL/Club 93.7, WQUS/US 103, WFNT/1470AM Flint New’s Talk, and WLCO/1530AM. Thanks to them for helping get the word out in the Flint area.

Don’t forget to read the Race Update page for directions to Holly State Rec Area, a timeline of events, etc.

Thanks for making it through such a long update! If you have an important question that is not answered by this update or the website, feel free to email me atmark@miadventureracing.com. I should be able to respond within a few hours on Thursday and Friday, but not so much on Saturday.

We look forward to seeing you on Friday or Saturday. We hope it’s a really fun experience for everyone!


P.S. That’s not really my grandmother if you are wondering but I’d love to have a bada$$ grandma like her, wouldn’t you?

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