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Flint RiverQuarium hosting River Zombies run Saturday

Runners head out along Riverfront Trail at the start of the Flint RiverQuarium’s first River Zombies Race for your Life at Riverfront Park last year. The second event is set for Saturday at the former First Tee location behind the Albany Civic Center. (Albany Herald file photo)

Runners head out along Riverfront Trail at the start of the Flint RiverQuarium’s first River Zombies Race for your Life at Riverfront Park last year. The second event is set for Saturday at the former First Tee location behind the Albany Civic Center. (Albany Herald file photo)

ALBANY — The Flint RiverQuarium River Zombies 5K run and obstacle course is returning for a second year on Saturday, this time from the former First Tee location at 110 W. Mercer Ave. behind the Albany Civic Center.

The move, officials say, will allow space for more zombies and an increased number of more difficult obstacles. Participants are expected to get muddy as they navigate the obstacle course while avoiding “zombies” intent on stealing “life flags” from the runners.

“We did it last year and it was very, very successful,” said Vicki Churchman, manager of member and volunteer services at the RiverQuarium. “It is a fundraiser for the RiverQuarium, and to bring something different to the area.

“It is always a challenge to find fundraisers that are (unique and challenging) for the community.”

The event will also include a Zom-B-Q amateur barbecue and cooking contest on site from 7 a.m.-noon, which will be a new addition this year. Runners may pick-up their packets at the starting point from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. while there will be a festival with live music and vendors until 7:30 p.m. The race will begin at 3 p.m.

Like last year, coordinators are welcoming runners to wear their Halloween costumes during the race.

“We encourage folks to get inventive with their costumes and enjoy themselves,” Churchman said.

Officials from the RiverQuarium say last year’s event had 350 participants and an equal number of spectators.

“We are hoping more runners will participate (this year),” Churchman said. “We don’t have a (fundraising) goal specifically, but we raised $7,500 last year with it — so I’d like to surpass that.”

The proceeds go to help offset overhead costs at the facility. There will also be opportunities for people to get their photos taken with the zombies at the festival, Churchman said.

The 5K is an untimed race. Each person crossing the finish line will receive a medal, and the first male and first female crossing the finish line with the most life flags remaining will each receive a prize.

This is taking place the day following the RiverQuarium’s fourth annual Tricks and Treats event, which provides a trick-or-treating opportunity at the attraction as well as along the Riverfront Trail to the Thronateeska Heritage Center.

Minimum age to participate in the run is 12 years. Those under 18 must have a parent present to sign a waiver. The entry fee is $35 for individuals, with teams of four receiving $5 off their total registration. Registration is available at www.flintriverquarium.com or www.raceroster.com.

For further information and race rules, call (229) 639-2650 or visit www.flintriverquarium.com.