Run among the undead and raise money for the rail trailsBy SUSAN CLARK
Union Leader Correspondent September 25. 2013 7:34PM
NEW BOSTON — Beware — zombies will be running rampant in the woods trying to get their teeth into hundreds of runners of all ages.
It’s not a horror movie or a new TV show, but the second annual Rails to Entrails Zombie Survival 5K race in New Boston on Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Hillsborough County Youth Center, off Route 13.
The race features zombie-infested woods, with a series of obstacles that runners must climb, jump, dodge and crawl through as they try to stay alive by avoiding the undead hiding along the course.
“There are culvert pipes that people crawl through, large sand piles to cross over, and a water slide over a steep hill. It’s pretty intense,” said Laura Bernard, vice chairman of the New Boston Conservation Commission.
The race starts inside a darkened barn at the fairgrounds that is filled with machine smoke. The doors fly open letting runners and zombies find their way to the race course.
Runners will also tackle a large mud pit and horse gates to hurdle. Local Scouts are also building a monkey bridge made of sticks and ropes that runners have to climb and cross over.
“It’s not a fast 5K. It’s a tough course and zombies are trying to make a kill by grabbing flags off the runners’ belts,” she said.
At registration, runners are given three flags to wear. If they lose all three, they become zombies. If runners compete the race intact, they stay alive. Prizes will be given for the fastest runner alive, the fastest runner dead, and the zombie with the most kills — meaning the most flags captured. Last year, the races featured 90 zombies and more than 200 runners from New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine.
“Zombies are very popular and people hear about these races and go out of their way to participate in something like this,” said Bernard.
New this year is a 1K race for kids geared toward elementary-school ages.
“Last year, the race was only open to adults but many children wanted to take part. The kids race is abbreviated and the zombies are supposed to be less scary,” said Bernard, whose granddaughter will be running this year.
While the races are fun and challenging, the money raised helps support the town’s rail trails, which are monitored and managed by the New Boston Conservation Commission. Last year’s race raised $4,000, and this year’s goal is to raise $6,000.
The Rails to Entrails Zombie Survival 5K was founded in 2012 by two Goffstown High School teachers, Curt McDermott and Michael Veilleux. The English and science teachers, respectively, took part in a similar race in Boston and thought they could organize a zombie race locally.
“It’s a cool idea and we wanted to do it for the community,” said McDermott, adding he hopes the event will help create regional trails.
As teachers, McDermott and Veilleux are always on the lookout for ways to help their students.
“We also wanted to give an example for our kids who don’t volunteer in community service, and to inspire those who do,” said McDermott.
The cost to sign up for the kids’ 1K is $9. On Oct. 6, registration begins at 8 a.m., with the race at 9:30 a.m.
Registration for the 5K begins at 8:30 a.m., and costs $45 per runner. Zombies may sign up for $14.
Runners and zombies are encouraged to wear scary make-up, but don’t be afraid if your talents are limited. There will be face-painters on hand who will make you look like one of the undead.
“A couple of people will be coming this year to do make-up. We had phenomenal zombies last year,” said Bernard.
To register or for more information, go to railstoentrails.com.