Don’t miss your chance to get chased by zombies — and help the hungry at the same time.
The first-ever Hallowrun for Hunger, organized by Cicero-North Syracuse High School sophomores Liz Westfall and Megan Cuculich, will take place at 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at the McKinley Shelter at Oneida Shores Park in Brewerton. The 5K course will feature student zombies from Cicero-North Syracuse High School, who will chase runners as they make their way along the course. The event will raise money for the Food Bank of Central New York, the main food supplier to 268 emergency food programs in 11 counties in the state.
Westfall and Cuculich, both rising sophomores at C-NS, have always been concerned with the real hunger they see in the community every day.
“We started doing this event with the kids for Feed the Starving Children, and they were really inspired by how many people are hungry,” said Veronica Westfall, Liz’s mom. “In 2011, we found a website for Halloween for Hunger, [which encourages kids to collect canned goods for the hungry instead of trick-or-treating on Halloween], and it got bigger from there.”
Liz and Megan’s efforts began in seventh grade, and every Halloween, their food drives have grown. So far, the girls have collected more than 1,500 pounds of food for the Food Bank of CNY. Last year alone, the collected more than 1,000 pounds.
The two track runners decided to create a 5K run this year to support their efforts. Through their hard work and with the aid of their families, teammates, peers and the community, it looks like the run will be a success. As of Friday, Oct. 11, 193 runners have registered, and Liz Westfall’s original fundraising goal of $5,000 has been met. Runner registration is still available through active.com until Oct. 18, and race day registration will be offered at a reduced rate of $20 per runner (those runners will not receive a T-shirt).
The event will also feature a free run for kids. Runners in the Free Kids Fun Run should register by emailing the child’s name and age to firstname.lastname@example.org. Kids under 5 will take part in a shorter race, while kids 6 to 12 will run half a mile. The kids should check in at McKinley East between 9:30 and 9:45 a.m. Parents will be asked to sign a waiver, and participants will receive a bracelet identifying them as runners. The kids’ run is flat and zombie-free.
Spectators should park at Arrowhead Lodge or McKinley West. The Cicero Police Department will be on hand to help direct traffic and provide assistance.
Runners in the 5K are encouraged to attend packet pickup from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at Tully’s Good Times Restaurant at 7838 Brewerton Road, North Syracuse. Race day pickup will also be offered from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the McKinley East pavilion.
Runners can wear costumes as long as they do not interfere with their ability to see or to run. In fact, a costume contest will follow the 5K.
Pulling together an event of this magnitude has been a lot of hard work.
“The past few weeks have been a little insane,” Veronica Westfall said. “Liz and I have been in the office every day for 23 days straight. Sometimes I feel horrible for her, and then I remember it was her idea.”
If you’d like to donate to the Food Bank but you’re not a runner, you can do so at the website, as well. For more information, visit hallowrun.com or email email@example.com.
Eagle Newspapers is a sponsor of this event.
For more information, visit hallowrun.com.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.