Those attending the third annual Zombie Run in Wadena combated hoards of zombies, miles of obstacles and worst of all -- snow -- Saturday, Oct. 12.

The almost 5K event hosted by the Wadena Chamber of Commerce brought out 29 participants to willingly trek along a rolling forest trail at Blacks Grove Park. It was cold, slippery and sloppy, even so, the record amount of participants were joined by a record amount of zombies, 35. That was a great sign, according to run volunteer Jesse Gibbs, who said he'd like to see the race continue to grow each year.

The event had 50 people registered to race, but likely, weather kept them from joining. Gibbs said people are taking notice of the event.

"There's people from all around the state coming," Gibbs said. Even some from North Dakota attended. "It brings more people to town."

They come not only for a good run. It's hard not to laugh most of the run as community volunteers, wearing makeup and all kinds of garb, reach out after participants, trying to rip a flag from their belts. Those that finish the race with a flag remaining, earn a medal. Those that lose all their flags still earn a medal. The whole group then partakes in post-run eating and drinking while keeping warm by the fire at the log building.

While the zombies outnumbered the runners, most runners still emerged with all their flags. A fun addition this year awarded the zombie who snatched the most flags. Gibbs hopes to see even more zombies join in next year.

"Maybe one day we'll have 200 zombies," Gibbs said.

Coming out with the top finish and some style points for lunging into the snow at the finish line was Drae Vinje. He was apparently out of shape enough that he was feeling a bit like the living dead.

"I was dead by halfway," Vinje said of his finish.

Drae Vinje leads the pack at the start of the third annual Zombie Run Saturday, Oct. 12, in Wadena's Blacks Grove Park. The almost 5K includes obstacles and zombies trying to steal runners flags.
Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal
Drae Vinje leads the pack at the start of the third annual Zombie Run Saturday, Oct. 12, in Wadena's Blacks Grove Park. The almost 5K includes obstacles and zombies trying to steal runners flags. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

"It was super fun and super slick," Dustin Barten said of the race, which was his second time racing in the event. "I hope it grows and I look forward to next year."

Apparently adding snow to the mix wasn't difficult enough. Some finishers hoped that next year, the event could happen in the dark.