By Veronique Werz
Special to The Collegian
Hundreds of families and friends attended Fresno’s first ever Zombie Run Saturday at Woodward Park.
Tim Mechem, the event organizer, said he had been planning the event for more than a year.
“I knew they were doing them [zombie runs] in other areas, and I know a lot of national runs come into Fresno, but I thought it would be great to do something local for the community,” Mechem said.
He said a portion of the proceeds from the Fresno Zombie Run will benefit Children’s Hospital Central California.
Mechem said this was the first time an event like this has been put on in Fresno.
“I’ve gone through the course listening to people scream, and it seems like they’re having a good time,” Mechem said. “Some of the zombies even did their own makeup which I find truly amazing.”
A themed event revolving around Halloween, Mechem said the run was meant for folks to come out, run and stay healthy.
“We put out some health tips and how to take care of yourself to get people in the mode of personal fitness,” Mechem said. “I honestly just want people to enjoy themselves and have a good time.
“If people come through and have a positive experience, I will be more than happy.”
Kathy Colacchio, development specialist for the Foundation of Children’s Hospital, said this event supported whatever the hospital had needs for.
“I’m hoping this event will raise about $10,000, but looking at everybody, I expect more than that,” Colacchio said. “Every amount is great to us and every penny counts.
“I was on the site just a couple days ago, and I was amazed by all the different things Tim added to it. He’s a very good organizer, and I’m very proud of him.”
Colacchio said she enjoyed it when families came and brought their kids because that is what the event was all about.
“All the events for Children’s Hospital are family-driven and we love it,” Colacchio said. “It takes a community to raise a hospital.”
Colacchio said they wouldn’t have been here for 60 years if the community didn’t support Children’s Hospital.
“They support us all the way to Bakersfield and Los Angeles and all the way to Oakland,” Colacchio said.
Adrien Lim and Jamie Cotton, “zombie” participants at the zombie run, said they were asked to participate by professional zombies from the Fresno Zombie Society.
“Renee Lane, Undead Beauties Freelance Makeup Artist, organized the society and worked with the individuals who organized the event,” Lim said. “The individuals who set up the run wanted to have professional ‘zombies’ come out dressed up and in character to participate in the event.”
Lim said he has participated in events as a “zombie” many times before, but this was the first zombie run.
“The role of us being zombies is to create a zombie spirit and to support the event,” Cotton said. “It is to show everyone just exactly how far you can take the makeup and how real it can look.”
Lim said he liked when people gave him compliments. He couldn’t say thank you, so instead he made guttural moaning sounds.
“The way it works is that all the runners wear red flags around their waist which symbolizes their health, and there are zombies on the course trying to eat their brains,” Lim said. “If the participant doesn’t have any more flags, that means they are dead, but can still crawl to the end.”
Cotton said the event was organized and had a lot of activities going on, including a dance competition for kids.
Ricky Eredia, a Lemoore High School graduate and a runner in the event, said this was his first time doing a zombie run, which he enjoyed.
“I wanted to do a zombie run in Arizona but am glad I got to participate in this one here in Fresno,” Eredia said.
Eredia said he was able to have realistic, zombie makeup done on himself, and liked how it turned out, but said he likes zombies for other reasons.
“I like zombies because they’re terrifying and scary,” Eredia said. “They’re the most frightening monsters to me.”
After the race, Eredia said he wanted to check out the merchandise vendors were selling and relax.
“I just love going to events, and this one was fantastic,” Eredia said.