Race allows runners to take on zombies, help Warlassies

Tom Flynn
Special To The Black Mountain News

Owen High School head coach Angela Louis and the Warlassies’ softball squad will add a new wrinkle to the local 5K race scene when they host the first annual Owen 5K Zombie Survival Run at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27.

The race will take place at Black Mountain’s Camp Rockmont on Lake Eden Road and the funds raised from the event will benefit the Warlassies’ softball program.

“I know that fundraisers can get monotonous. I wanted it to stand out and be different,” said Louis. “I also wanted to do something in the October time-frame and was thinking of around Halloween.”

The coach researched the theme by looking at videos of events and investigating websites for zombie-themed races. She found none in the immediate Black Mountain area and decided to create the first.

The Owen 5K Zombie Survival Run on Saturday, Oct. 27, hosted by the Warlassies softball team, will raise money for improvements to the field.

There are a handful of different ways to participate in the event including as a runner, or if preferring an un-dead role, as a pursuing zombie. Each runner will be equipped with a flag-football style belt with three flags and will vie to avoid having them captured by a zombie en route to the finish line.

“It’s not finishing for a time or a PR, or seeing how quickly you can do it,” said Louis.

By purchasing a t-shirt for $20 and donning zombie makeup and attire, a participant will help support the Warlassies softball program. If, like most, you don’t have zombie makeup near at hand you can have an Owen student apply it for another $10. The standard race fee for a runner is $30 and the event will also include a team component.

“You can enter as a team of five, and you’ll only be competing against the other teams of five that have entered,” said Louis. “Whichever team finishes with the most flags at the end collectively will win.”

The top three squads will receive gift certificates.

In the doomsday race scenario, the softball team will play the role of zombies and will provide a significant hurdle for finishers toward the end of the race. They won’t run, but will pursue participants with the signature stiff-legged gait of the un-dead. The race will be held rain or shine and runners should wear trail running shoes if they have them for the off-road terrain, especially in the event of rain.

Louis has played softball since she was five and played at the University of Central Oklahoma. It’s her second year at Owen, but she’s been teaching and coaching for more than 15 years.

“Softball has been my life and I’ve always wanted to share that love and passion for the game with other young ladies and young athletes,” said Louis. “It’s important for them to feel that they can accomplish things and be just as successful as guys/boys and get what they need to do so.”

To that end, the head coach wants to use the funds from the race for improvements to the Owen softball field.

“Our field needs so much attention,” said Louis. “I have hills behind the shortstop into the outfield that are whole 11 inches in drop.”

By literally leveling the playing field, it will allow for better drainage, preventing some of the flooding that inundates the visitors’ dugout after a heavy rain and causes large puddles in the infield. If the funds are raised, Louis would like to invest in a weed-eater and lawn mower for the program, as well as improved equipment for dragging the infield.

“I know we won’t get there this year probably,” she said, but she is hopeful that through donations and the fundraiser the Warlassies ultimately will.

The head coach teaches physical education at Owen and is originally from Louisiana. She lived in the area previously as well as in Colorado but felt tugged back to the area by the combination of the climate, the terrain, and its people.

“I had fallen in love with how people were so accepting of everyone and the community was really close. It seemed like just a really good place,” she added.

Louis and the softball team hope to uniquely add to that community with their race on Oct. 27. Registration for the event is available online at