Zombie Run will benefit Muskogee Animal Shelter – Muskogee Daily Phoenix

Area residents can flee zombies to help dogs and cats this Saturday.

The Castle of Muskogee sponsors its fifth annual Zombie Run, starting at noon Saturday.

Proceeds this year benefit the Muskogee Animal Shelter.

Castle operations manager Sarah Gile said runners must finish the five-kilometer obstacle course with at least one of three flags they receive at the race’s start. Obstacles include an a water slide, A-frame wall climb, ladders, mud bogs and things you have to duck under.

“You have immunity from the zombies if you are doing an obstacle,” Gile said. “When you’re not, you’re fair game.”

The zombies seek to take runners’ flags, she said.

“If you finish with at least one flag, you’re a survivor and you get a survivor medal,” she said. “If you have no flags left, you are infected and you have to go through a little HAZMAT hall and sign a memorial wall. But you still get a medal.”

Gile said there could be 150 zombies along the course.

“As a runner, I would say a million,” she said. “Official zombie count so far is 147 and growing. We have volunteer zombies, too.”

Run heats begin each 15 minutes between 1 and 6 p.m.

“I think your odds are better toward the end of the day when the zombies are worn out,” Gile said.

Gile said the run has grown each year. She said last year’s run enabled The Castle to donate more than $8,000 each to Kids’ Space and A Soldier’s Child, a charity that helps children of fallen military personnel.

“Each year we look forward to picking a local charity to work with,” Gile said. “This year, we’re pretty much a pet thing.”

Muskogee Animal Shelter Supervisor Phil Blair said the run will help the shelter lower its price on animal adoptions. He said proceeds will help the shelter fund medical care, spaying and neutering.

Adoptable dogs could be offered for $30 instead of $90; cats for $30 instead of $70, he said. The fees include spaying/neutering and vaccinations, Blair said.

“We are so thankful for them picking us this year,” Blair said.

Blair said the animal shelter has been full and busy over the past few months.

“In the past month alone, we’ve had 180 dogs come in,” he said. “I want to say we had close to 150 go out either rescue, return to owner or adopted. For one month, that was a lot of animals coming in.”

Blair said the shelter usually has six or eight cats.

“And we’ve been having 20 at a time,” he said. “When I left Friday (for Labor Day weekend), we probably had 15 kittens, from little babies to 10 weeks old.”

He said the shelter works with cat rescues to get the cats adopted.

Gile said the Zombie Run is the Castle’s main annual charity event.

“We have a lot of people reach out to us every year for different events, and we try to work with them,” Gile said. “This is our only down time we have before fall Halloween and Christmas.”

Runners also can dress up, Gile said.

“Any Castle event, you’re encouraged to dress up,” she said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

If you go

WHAT: Zombie Run.

WHEN: Noon Saturday. First heat leaves at 1 p.m. Last heat leaves no later than 6 p.m.

WHERE: The Castle of Muskogee, 3400 W. Fern Mountain Road.

REGISTRATION: $40 per runner until Friday; $50 per runner from 1 to 4 p.m. on race day.

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Zombie Run will benefit Muskogee Animal Shelter – Muskogee Daily Phoenix

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