JAMES O’CONNOR/BRANDON SUN
Jennalisa Paulin, left, and Jody Behrens get into their zombie characters Saturday at Turtle Crossing Campground during the inaugural Big Brothers Big Sisters of Brandon Zombie Run.
Fearful screams could be heard echoing from the trails of Turtle Crossing Campground early Saturday afternoon and others were seen running as fast as they could, scared to look at what was coming after them.
A runner attempts to evade a zombie at Turtle Crossing Campground during the inaugural Big Brothers Big Sisters of Brandon Zombie Run on Saturday. (JAMES O’CONNOR/BRANDON SUN)
Bethanie Wasicuna applies zombie makeup to Dakota Johnston in the Zombie Lab on Saturday at Turtle Crossing Campground during the inaugural Big Brothers Big Sisters of Brandon Zombie Run. (JAMES O’CONNOR/BRANDON SUN)
The monsters were bloody, scabbed and moaning; they lurked behind the trees and in the tall grass, ready to lunge at all who ran passed them.
Close to 80 runners participated in the Zombie Run on Saturday, a five-kilometre run through the campground peppered with obstacle courses while almost 50 undead tried to nab one of the three flags each runner had tied to their waist.
This year marked the first for the run, which was organized by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Brandon as a fundraiser, though similar runs have been popular in larger cities for many years.
"This is a simplified form, but we will add to it as we keep going with it," said Carla Davidson, one of the run’s organizers.
Participants who crossed the finish line with at least one of those flags received a T-shirt as proof they lived through the Zombie Run.
Garret Taylor, an avid runner and the first to cross the finish line with all his lives, was excited to add the accomplishment to his running trophy mantle.
"There were three that really made me jump," he said following his survival.
The former Hamilton resident who as posted to CFB Shilo in the artillery regiment said he’s seen more realistic blood and harder obstacle courses.
"All the gore, pretty used to it," he said, "and I was just in a triathlon, so this is just a warm-up to my workout."
But not everyone was so lucky.
"It was a long, slow death," said Vance MacLaren of Brandon. "There was a lot of enemy activity with very strategic ambushes, they were tough adversaries."
MacLaren crossed the finish line with none of his flags left.
"They were terrifying, depraved, absolutely terrible," he said.
"Anyone who did survive it was definitely a good performer today."
While some zombies took on a more traditional persona, moving slowly like in George Romero's film "Dawn of the Dead," others moved quick like the undead in "World War Z" starring Brad Pitt.
MacLaren was quick to point out however, the slow ones were just as effective.
"Some of those slow ones, the perseverance wins out, and they really are a tough crowd."
Bob Henderson of Gimli opted for Romero’s slow, but relentless style of zombie while he hid waiting for unsuspecting runners.
"It’s a good excuse to chase down people, groaning loudly, covered in blood," he said, while a part of fake flesh was peeling from his face in the wind. "Love it!"
And when asked how many flags he nabbed, he quickly went back into character.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 9, 2013