September 21, 2020

RunningDead5BY BECKY SHEASBY
The Zombie apocalypse is upon us! Run! Run for your life!
People did just that at Kitchener’s very own Bingemans as it was swarmed by hundreds of lurking zombies in search of tasty souls on Sept. 29. Mind you, if these had been real zombies, I would not be here to report on this story, I would have either joined their ranks or booked it up north with a hammer.
This zombie apocalypse was staged as part of Bingemans second annual The Running Dead race, a 4-km run built to push participants mentally and physically to “survive.”
“Running from zombies will be great motivation,” said Maria Code, a Kitchener resident who frequently participates in various kinds of races.
The 4-km distance is packed with various obstacles. Runners have to pull themselves across a murky pond on a tiny raft, venture through a haunted house undoubtedly infested with a frightening number of ghouls, and throw themselves down a massive slip and slide with nothing but zombies and mud to greet them at the bottom. These are just a few of the hellish obstacles runners have to pass through.
“Runners always really enjoy it, it’s not what they expected, it’s better than they expected,” said Andrea Conyers, Bingemans amusement operations manager.
“They don’t necessarily think it’s going to be that challenging, it’s not that it’s a hard race, it’s that they have obstacles … and they get really dirty, REALLY dirty.”
Of course, not only are the runners forging through obstacles, but they are constantly dodging, ducking and sprinting from flesh eaters. Each contender is strapped with a belt of three flags which represent their soul. The zombies chase the contestants and do their best to eat (grab) their souls. After all, they are hungry.
If a participant brings a donation for the Kitchener Food Bank, they are given a fourth soul to try and hold onto for the duration of this deadly race. Runners who cross the finish line with at least one soul left are awarded a medal for staying alive.
The participating zombies are just along for the ride, as being a zombie is its own reward. I approached some staggering dead with hesitation, as I have seen The Walking Dead too many times and their makeup was far too convincing. I asked them why they volunteered to be zombies.
“To be undead for one day and not have to do our hair,” said Denise Ponte, a Kitchener zombie. “Plus, there are some clowns here that are pretty righteous, I wouldn’t want them chasing me, I would much rather be a zombie than be the person being chased.”
If you’re interesting in pitting yourself against a horde of raging zombies next fall, check out www.bingemans.com/screampark/runningdead/index.php for more information.