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Local Feature

TRAFFIC MAGAZINE 1,
ZOMBIES 0
Traffic Magazine Team "Can't Touch This" proves not only can we write and take pictures, but we can also SAVE OURSELVES.

DEC 2013/JAN 2014

words by Jolene Polyack
images by Frankie Leal

Move over Edward Cullen, there’s a new ghoul in town. Vampires appear to be taking a back seat to zombies these days. Have you noticed? With the advent of the wildly successful television series Walking Dead, zombies are appearing everywhere. They’re in movies and television commercials. Even our country’s Center for Disease Control has a zombie apocalypse portion to their preparedness website. I’m dead serious. Look it up: www.cdc.gov/phpr/zombies.htm .

So it would make sense that the next natural (or unnatural) progression would be the new, popular Zombie Runs which are appearing all over our nation. I couldn’t resist checking out what a Zombie Run would be like. Traffic Magazine sponsored our team at a Zombie Run held at Woodward Park in Fresno. Proceeds from the run benefitted Children’s Hospital. Our team, whose name was “Can’t Touch This,” consisted of Johnny, Tiffany, Jack and Spencer Molles, Michael and Jolene Polyack as runners. Traffic photographer Frankie Leal didn’t try to capture our team, but he was able to capture some great shots of those pesky zombies trying to attack us.

Thousands of people attended the event, which operated for most of the day. Runners were given a mesh belt with three red flags attached, the same flags used in flag football. Runners could place the flags anywhere around the belt. There were different strategies for placement. For example, Tiffany placed hers in the back so the zombies couldn’t see it as we approached. Once you lost all of your flags, zombies tended to ignore you and go after those who still had flags on their belts. When Tiffany’s strategy didn’t work, she told zombies it was her anniversary. One zombie actually left her alone because of her appeal. Unfortunately, the next one was not as sympathetic.

As you run the 5k course, zombies await you, hoping to pull at least one of your flags as you sprint by. Because you’re sprinting through the zombie infestations, runners tend to walk through the zombie-free sections of the course to catch their breath and rest up for the next attack. Runners learn quickly that there is power in numbers. The more people you have in your group, the less likely the zombies can pull your flag. This situation made you buddies with perfect strangers as you moved through the course together.

As you’re going through the course, you’re constantly looking ahead and listening, to hear if the group ahead of yours is being attacked. One smart zombie managed to trick us. As we walked by, she pretended to be too tired to chase us. Only after we passed, walking by her with a false sense of security, did she try to sneak up behind us. Those in the back fell victim to her evil tactic.

The zombies themselves had to arrive at 6 a.m. for make-up. Their costumes were creative and varied. Examples of zombies included Marilyn Monroe, Santa, a haz mat person, army personnel, an entire girls’ soccer team, a group of freaky clowns, school girls, nurses, a bride, and even a very pregnant zombie (admittedly, she was relatively easy to get away from).

The rules; nobody, zombies and runners alike, is allowed to actually touch anyone. I will say the zombie Santa did not adhere to that rule, but was unsuccessful nevertheless. No Santa was going to get the best of me, or my flag.

The object of the run is to make it to the finish line with at least one flag in place. If you run early enough, you can be chased and then be a zombie at one of the infestation points, provided you have makeup on. This allows you to experience both sides of the event and adds to the experience.

If you want to prepare for the event, I suggest you run sprints and walks, trying to dart while sprinting. As a distance runner, I was surprised how sore I was the following day because of the different muscles needed to avoid attack. If you don’t want to prepare, no worries, you can make it through by walking.

You do not need a team; you can go solo, just stay with a group of people as you progress through the course. The three boys on our team; Jack, Spencer and Michael, left us almost immediately and stayed with the group two or three ahead of ours. While they were faster, Johnny, Tiffany and I were more successful. We finished with each of us having at least one flag. The three boys had only one flag between them. Now some people might accuse us adults of cheating. But hey, it’s an apocalypse. We had to save ourselves and maybe with age comes a little wisdom after all.

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Top: Jolene Polyack narrowly avoids one of her flags being pulled by a zombie in the 5K run. The object of the run is to finish with at least one flag left on your belt. Most participants walked in-between the zombie infestation areas and then sprinted when the un-dead appeared.

Bottom: Traffic’s Zombie Team, Can’t Touch This, participated in the Fresno Zombie Run to benefit Children’s Hospital. L to R: Spencer Molles, Tiffany Molles, Johnny Molles, Jack Molles, Jolene Polyack and Michael Polyack

 

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