Zombie Run turns into nightmare for participants

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by Todd Unger / WFAA.com

WFAA

Posted on March 11, 2013 at 8:38 AM

FORT WORTH — A 5K run that bills itself as one of "the longest zombie runs in the world" is facing outrage and disappointment from many North Texans who participated on Saturday night.

The DFW Zombie Run was supposed to play out like "flag" football for thrill-seekers, with up to 3,000 runners trying to avoid getting their "flags" removed by volunteers dressed up like zombies.

The course ran along part of the Trinity River in Fort Worth.

But runners tell WFAA that the event was extremely disorganized, with some people waiting up to two hours to sign in at registration.

They also complained of a course that wasn't clearly marked, with too much physical contact coupled with insufficient security, not enough water stations, and a major letdown when some of them crossed the finish line.

"They ran out of medals, out of T-shirts. It was really disappointing," said Angel Melendez, who was one of the first people to post a concerned comment on the Zombie Run Facebook page.

Each participant ponied up at least $33 to race, some of which was supposed to go to charity.

The event organizers wouldn't interview with WFAA on Sunday, instead pointing to a mea culpa statement on their Facebook page which promised money back for dissatisfied customers.

"We are not running away from our customer responsibilities," the statement said, in part.

The race organizers blamed a higher than expected turnout —  close to 5,400 people — which overwhelmed limited staff and volunteers.

The statement didn't explain why runners who hadn't signed up in advance weren't simply turned away from the event.

Runners in Saturday's race were also promised a free ticket to a future run. 

But some parents like Mason Terrio said they would think twice about that; he took his family to the event and called it "chaos."

"I've never been at anything more unorganized in my life," Terrio said.

Zombie runs have become popular lately, popping up in cities across the country.  

Organizers say they are looking at what went wrong to try and avoid future problems. 

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