DeKALB – In her own words, “it was a perfect fit.”
“I love Halloween and I love zombies,” said Jaime Magnafici of Cortland. She was explaining why she wanted to dress up for the Clinton Rosette Middle School’s 5K Zombie Dash last Saturday morning at the DeKalb school.
“Tim Vincent, the principal, really wanted to hold a 5k,” race director and PTO President Jamie Vilet said. “I looked around and we’re really saturated with 5ks, so we thought we’d put a twist on it. Zombies are really hot right now.”
To make the run more challenging, runners were divided into three groups: live runners, who had flags attached to their belts; hungry zombies, who had to grab as many flags as possible; and medics, who ran the race but weren’t involved with the flags.
To make the race fair, the live runners had a three-minute head start before the zombies took off after them.
Like Magnafici, most of the 200 participants chose to be zombies.
“Hopefully, there will be some slow runners,” the Kishwaukee College student, who dressed up with three friends in similar costumes, laughed.
Tony Portugal of Mount Morris finished the race first, his yellow flag still intact.
“I wasn’t sure if they were going to catch me or not,” the 25-year-old laughed. “So I just ran as hard as I could.”
The first zombie to finish was Keith Gortowski of DeKalb, who snagged nine flags.
“It was awesome,” he said of the race. “Some people started dodging me and I didn’t want to stop just to grab their flag.”
Right behind him was Saydie Holland, who had the most flags: 20.
“My goal was to sprint out and catch the slow humans,” the Sycamore 11-year-old said. “Some of them were kind of hard. The grownups just let you have their flags, but the kids would run.”
Her sister Ella had 14 flags and fellow zombie Jacob Madden grabbed 10. All three are Sycamore Middle School students.
Following the race, there was a Trick-or-Treat Trot for children 10 and younger at the track. Stations were set up to give the little runners treats and to judge them on their costumes. Awards were given for the top costumes, as well as to the top live runners and zombies.
Proceeds from the events, Vilet said, support a number of school causes, such as field trips and technology for the school.