www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/bs-ae-run-for-your-lives-zombie-20131031,0,419777.story

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Zombie runs salvaged

Colorado company agrees to put on runs that had been canceled by Maryland-based Run for Your Lives LLC

By Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun

7:38 PM EDT, October 31, 2013

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Looks like zombies aren't the only things that can rise from the dead. Apparently their runs can, too.

A Colorado-based company has agreed to put on three zombie 5K runs, scheduled for the remainder of 2013, that had been canceled after Wednesday's sudden demise of Maryland-based Run for Your Lives LLC.

"When we got wind of the RFYL's cancellation, our team instantly said this can't happen," Human Movement Management posted on its website Thursday. Zombie fans who had purchased tickets for this weekend's run in Arizona should go ahead with their plans.

Jeff Suffolk, president of Human Movement, said his four-year-old company decided to stage the events after reading postings on Facebook and other sites from upset ticketholders.

"The things that pained us the most was seeing some of those posts yesterday," he said, "saying this was their first 5K and that this would be the last time they signed up for a 5K. … We're doing it for our industry. We're doing it for people who have a lot at stake in signing up for these races."

Participants in zombie runs follow a pre-set course, during which they are pursued by other participants dressed as zombies. An October 2012 race in Darlington, Harford County, organized by Run For Your Lives, attracted some 12,000 runners.

William Ward, former vice president of marketing for Run for Your Lives LLC, said the company's head, Ryan Hogan, agreed to let Human Movement take over the zombie runs at no cost. He said the company handed over its list of people who bought tickets to Human Movement Management.

"We're trying to do as good by the people who bought tickets as possible," he said. "People that purchased the tickets who still want to go can still do the event.

"I don't think we are going to be able to offer them refunds," he added.

Suffolk said at least 15,000 tickets had been sold by RFYL to the canceled events. He said Human Management would honor tickets sold for runs through next year — including upcoming dates in Orlando, Fla., Austin, Texas, and Dallas.

There will be no additional charge to participate in the Phoenix run for those who already bought tickets, Suffolk said. Human Movement, which organizes its own "Zombie Run" — as well as such other events as the "Ugly Sweater Run," Dirty Girl Run" and "Foam Fest 5K" — said it would post information about RFYL-canceled runs in Austin and Orlando on Monday.

Suffolk said Human Movement Management would be selling additional tickets to the RFYL-initiated runs for half of what was being charged. Tickets for this weekend's Arizona run had been selling for $35-$97.

White Marsh-based Run for Your Lives, which had been organizing zombie runs throughout the U.S. since 2011, shut down without warning Wednesday. Scores of people who had purchased tickets for the company's zombie runs were notified by email of their cancellation. The email did not explain why the runs were canceled, and offered no procedure for obtaining refunds.

Those who had bought tickets were advised to contact their banks.

Although all RFYL events in the U.S. have been canceled, several Run For Your Lives events in other countries continue to accept reservations and sell tickets. Ward said those events are run by licensees who paid a one-time fee to the company and operate independently.

Ward attributed Run for Your Lives' problems largely to increased competition and declining attendance at its events.

Hat tip to obstacleracingmedia.com, which first reported Human Movement's involvement in this story.

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com