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‘Night of the Running Dead’ zombie race comes to Bellingham

Fitness fans who want to spice up their exercise with a dose of Halloween zombies may want to register for the first “Night of the Running Dead” footrace in Bellingham.

Prizes will be given to the fastest man and woman, but the main goal is to have some spirited fun, said organizer Mike Smith.

About five “staff” zombies will be lurking to try to tag runners and turn them into fellow zombies.

“They are out there, they will chase you,” said Smith, who owns Crossover Fitness & Training in Sedro-Woolley and also owns Second Wind Races, the event sponsor.

A limited number of people can register to be slow-moving zombies or basic waiting-to-scare-you zombies, but only staff zombies will be able to tag runners. Runners who are tagged will proceed to a race checkpoint, where they will swap their glow-stick necklace for runners for a differently colored necklace for zombies. The runners-turned-zombies are welcome to scare other runners while they finish the race, Smith explained.

Runners, of course, are encouraged to dress as zombies, with a prize given to the person with the best costume. Door prizes also are planned.

Smith, who dressed up as a zombie for a similar race in Seattle, said the Oct. 31 event is, as far he knows, the first of its kind in Bellingham.

The race will start and finish at Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro, 1107 Railroad Ave. There is no fixed route for the course, but runners must stop at three checkpoints along the way. One checkpoint will be at Indian and East Laurel streets; one will be at the stair landing that leads to South Bay Trail, at Boulevard and South State Street; and the third will be announced the day of the race.

Runners who know their way around Bellingham can run it as 5-kilometer race ( a shade over 3 miles), but wrong turns and zombie detours could stretch it to as much as 6 miles, Smith estimated.

There are some basic rules, zombies notwithstanding. Runners must be at least 18, and have 90 minutes to finish. Pets are not allowed, and neither are weapons, real or fake. Runners and zombies should obey traffic rules and other laws, and should interact only with their fellow runners and zombies, who will all be wearing race bibs and glowing necklaces.

“You need to be safe,” Smith said. “You need to use your best judgment.”

Starting time for the race is 7 p.m. Once back at Boundary Bay, runners and zombies alike can visit the haunted house that Make.Shift, an art and music venue in Bellingham, will erect in Boundary Bay’s beer garden. Runners and zombies old enough to enjoy Boundary’s Tap Room also can listen to Scary Monster and the Super Creeps, a David Bowie tribute band and a fitting musical finish to the evening.