rUNdead will set zombies on the loose on Saturday

Charleston is jumping on the zombie mania bandwagon this weekend with the inaugural rUNdead 5K.

Zombies are hot - and apparently viral.

Word of the first rUNdead 5K zombie run spread so fast via Facebook that the event reached its 500-person registration cap more than two weeks ago.

The obstacle course race, held at Old Towne Creek County Park as the sun is setting on Saturday, will feature 100 zombies who will try to remove three flags (one at a time) off 500 runners along the course and its obstacles.

The idea for rUNdead was from Ben "Ben-Jamin' " Toy, a local "adventure event planner," who has participated in an array of obstacle course mud runs. But he's quick to note, "I am not a zombie enthusiast."

The 30-year-old Pittsburgh native took notice of the popularity of the latest in a series of obstacle course races, the "Run for Your Lives" zombie run series, and thought that Charleston would be ripe for its home-grown version.

He approached Suzie Webster of Two Fish Enterprises, founder of the Charleston Green Fair, and the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission about putting one on at a county park. PRC staffers, after scoping out one of its new properties, thought Old Towne Creek would be ideal.

The park, adjacent to Charles Towne Landing, has woods, open fields, plenty of wildlife and vacant houses, and, Toy adds, is "creepy" at dusk.

Toy said the parks wanted to cap the event at 500 because of concerns about parking. He added, "We didn't want the first one to be a catastrophe."

He urged those who will be participating, runners and volunteer zombies, to carpool and to get to the park early. Gates will close at 4:45 p.m., 15 minutes before the start of the race.

And as if the fun of being scared isn't enough, some of the proceeds of the race will benefit Lowcountry Food Bank.

www.rundead5k.com

This is a big weekend for active outdoor events, and one of the highlights is the fifth annual Kayak for a Kure, a kayaking event to raise money for multiple sclerosis on Saturday.

Nature Adventures Kayak and Canoe Outfitters is holding the event, featuring guided excursions departing from its Shem Creek site to Crab Bank at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. The fee is $40 for individuals. The rain date is Sunday.

Make reservations at 568-3222 or go to www.KayakCharlestonSC.com.

The fifth annual Fight for Air event - featuring a 10K and 5K, free breakfast and Halloween costume contest - will be held Saturday on Folly Beach. The 10K ($35) starts at 8:45 a.m. and the 5K ($30) at 9 a.m. The event benefits the American Lung Association. Early packet pickup will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday at the lung association office, 44-A Markfield Drive in Charleston. Call 556-8451 or go to www.lung.org.

The fourth annual Ryan White AIDS Walk event will be held 10 a.m.-noon Saturday at the Hampton Park gazebo. Funds raised go to the Roper St. Francis Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program & Wellness Center. Proceeds from the walk will fund emergency medical care and medications for those enrolled with the center.

Walkers can register early at www.ryanwhiteofcharleston.org or at the wellness center office, 2095 Henry Tecklenburg Drive, Suite 311. The registration fee is $20 ($10 student rate).

Also at Hampton Park, the Out of the Darkness Community Walk, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, will be held 2-4 p.m. Sunday. But note that the registration cutoff is noon Friday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for ages 10 and older and the third leading cause of death among those between 15 and 24. As of last week, 126 registrants already had raised more than $25,000 for the cause.

Go to afsp.donordrive.com.

While one event is a week away, the time to start planning for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk is now.

The walk will take place at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park.

Last year, more than $50 million was raised through Light the Night Walks in about 185 communities in North America.

"Light the Night Walk gives hope to patients and their families and lets them know they are not alone in their battle against cancer," said Darlene Benton, branch director.

To form a team or to learn more, call the South Carolina Coastal Area Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at 881-8176 or go to www.lightthenight.org/sc.