Zombie Amber Varley presses against the gate Sunday at the Run For Their Lives Zombie Run. Visit pnj.com for more photos and a video from the event.
Pensacola, Florida (PNJ) -- On an average Sunday morning in downtown Pensacola, the streets are
usually quiet. Businesses and offices are closed, vehicles are few and
far between, and there are a handful of residents taking leisurely walks
down the sidewalks.
However, on this
particular Sunday morning, the streets were far from quiet, average or
ordinary. They were alive. No, strike that. They were undead.
before 7 a.m., mauled up citizens, bloodied brides and other members of
the zombie nation began to crawl in and gather in the parking lot of
World of Beer on Palafox Place to participate in the first Run For Their
Lives Zombie Run.
Worldof Beer teamed up with Manna Food Pantries and Pensacon - set from
Friday through Sunday at the Pensacola Bay Center and the Crowne Plaza
Pensacola Grand Hotel - for the event.
run kicked off Pensacon's wondrous celebration of fantasy and sci-fi
festivities. In order to register for the Sunday run, participants were
expected to bring a donation of three to five cans of food for Manna
businesses in the Pensacola area, such as Exhibit Transfer Inc., made
it a true philanthropic effort, making a single donation of nearly 500
cans to Manna Food Pantries.
Event coordinator Will Phillips had just 11 days to plan the event.
was not easy," he said. "But I would definitely do it all over again.
This is something for Pensacola. We're trying to grow the downtown area
while giving back to the community."
some zombie participants took the traditional approach with their
costumes, opting for a bloody wedding dress or overalls and a hockey
mask, some decided to take their work with them.
Stacey Byrd, along with two of her co-workers at McGuire's, chose to bizarrely alter their uniforms for the occasion.
decided to do this at the last minute," Byrd said, "I was going to be a
bride, but I thought that would be overplayed. I have a million work
uniforms, so I just threw one on. I thought I'd be different."
makeup artists also were on hand to make participants look authentic
with scars, dark circles under their eyes and gashes on their skin.
Participants were able to choose between being a zombie or a survivor
for the event. Survivors wore white shirts and ribbons to identify
themselves as living.
"It's more fun to be chased," survivor runner Elena Pratt said. "It's not every day you get to be chased by zombies."
object of the game, of course, was to not get caught by the zombies as
they shambled in their inimitable zombie way down Palafox with fits and
starts punctuated with inhuman grunts and groans.
zombies were gathered behind a metal fence, while the survivors were
free to run. Once the zombies were unleashed, it was fair game.
Some survivor runners went into the event with a strategy.
Joshua Bruening, a fourth-grader at Ferry Pass Elementary, is part of his school's jogging team.
planning to be as close to the front as possible. That way, when the
zombies get out of the fence, they won't be able to catch me," Joshua
More than 1,000 people attended the event, and a special celebrity runner also was among the crowd.
native Jerrad Vunovich, an actor in the smash film "The Hunger Games"
and AMC's "The Walking Dead" was interacting with participants and
admiring their choice of costumes.
of this would have been allowed on the set of 'The Walking Dead,' "
Vunovich said. "There are no sunglasses, no sparkles, no tiaras. The
outfits are hand-picked, and only earth tones are allowed in order to
make the actors look like they've been dead a long time."
he watched nearly two dozen animated corpses crawl on top of an older
model Buick for a photo shoot, Phillips summed up the experience and
gave a hint to what to expect when Pensacon begins Friday.
"This is what we do," he said. "It's creative. It's wild. It's crazy. This is Pensacon."
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