With the days getting colder and snow capping the mountains, Anchorage residents know the holiday season was coming up, starting with Halloween. Preparing for the spooky holiday, events all over the city are popping up to embrace the season.
Specifically, one event is a fall favorite for runners around the Anchorage area: the annual Zombie Half Marathon and Kids Zombie 2.5K. Runners took to the course on Saturday, Oct. 13.
As the name implies, this race was unlike others. To celebrate the Halloween spirit, racers had the opportunity to run as a zombie. Most dress in zombie costumes and prepare with zombie makeup; however, this year, most had a less enthusiastic approach due to heavy rainfall on race day.
Zombie participants were at Goose Lake Park Saturday morning. Runners had a start time of 10 a.m. and walkers, a start of 9 a.m. In addition to the heavy rain that continued into the morning from overnight, the runners had to dress appropriate for a chilly morning in the low 40s.
Anchorage resident and head cross country coach in the Mat-Su School District, Christopher Osiensky, ran the Zombie Half Marathon for the first time this year, in part for preparation for other races.
“I’ve ran a few half marathons and two full marathons. I’m training for the Houston Marathon, which takes place on January 20th. And this was my first time running the Zombie Half Marathon,” Osiensky said.
Despite never having run this race or course before, Osiensky won the whole race.
He completed the half marathon in 1 hour, 11 minutes, 45 seconds. That put him at a blistering 5:29 pace for each mile. The next finisher trailed Osiensky by a significant four minutes.
Despite his impressive finish time, Osiensky was trying to pace himself as though it was a full marathon.
“I ran the race in control in preparation for running a full rather than going all out. I didn’t dress up,” Osiensky said. “The weather was rough… My clothes weighed about 5 pounds after I was done because of all the rain. I was shivering as soon as I crossed the finish line.”
Similarly to Osiensky’s trouble with the weather, Emily Sears began to feel weighed down when it started pouring.
“It was great up to mile 8. I felt really good and I was running my goal pace, but then it started pouring, and I really slowed down after that,” Swears said. “So, the last two or three miles were difficult and slow, but overall I think I competed well.”
Despite her struggles due to the weather, Swears still finished fifth in her age group (F20-24) with an overall time of 1 hour and 45 minutes. Her success most likely can be credited to her ample running experience.
“I’ve been running for a quite awhile, about 13 years now. The Zombie was my fifth half marathon and my first in 2 ½ years. So, it felt like my first one ever,” Swears said.
This event is held yearly to get people up and active. For more information visit to www.anchoragerunningclub.org.