Berrier registered for 2012's event almost immediately after last year's run, taking advantage of a discount code offered by Reed Street Productions after parking woes plagued the first event.

Pendergrass even came wearing a costume: a short red dress in the style of Alice from the "Resident Evil" film and video game franchise. Missing, however, was Alice's trademark black boots, replaced by black sneakers for practical reasons.

"I didn't want to go and rock the boots because I didn't want to get them messed up," Pendergrass said.

Berrier chose more normal running attire: a black compression shirt with athletic shorts. He had a noticeable addition: a white, black and yellow luchador mask typically worn by professional wrestlers from Latin American countries.


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Dressed for action

The two were not the only participants wearing costumes. In fact, a sizable number of participants preempted Halloween by wearing creative outfits.

Washington, D.C., residents Matt Kaiser, Quincy Fritt and Kristi Smith coordinated their costumes. Kaiser and Fritt wore dark suits and ties, earpiece radios and American flag lapel pins and flanked Smith, who wore a navy blue pantsuit with a blond wig.

You guessed it: Kaiser and Fritt were Secret Service agents protecting Hillary Clinton.

"The costumes were born out of last year," Kaiser explained. "Quincy and I died early, and protected 'Hillary' for the rest of the race."

Fritt, like many participants, had a palm-sized video camera strapped to his head to capture the running experience on video. All three participants had participated in last year's event and hoped that logistics would be improved this time.

"[Last year] The actual race was great, but getting there was a project," Kaiser said. "There was a two-hour line of traffic last year. It can only get better." As of 10:30 a.m., the three were impressed with the changes made by the organizers, Reed Street Productions.

"It's a 150 percent improvement from last year," Smith said.

That's what Reed Street Productions staff hoped to hear. Last year, rain caused problems in the parking areas and there was a traffic bottleneck. Two days after the 2011 event, organizers even offered a refund and a free race to the many participants who couldn't run after being stuck in traffic.

Pendergrass remembers one car catching on fire and multiple cars getting stuck in the muddy field used for parking.

"I think I helped push three or four cars out [of mud] last year," Pendergrass said.

Preparing for a crowd

This year, traffic engineers were brought in to prevent long car lines and bottlenecks and gravel was placed in this year's off-site parking field on 3540 Smith Road, according to Robert Siegel, director of marketing for Reed Street Productions. Buses shuttling people from the parking site to the campgrounds also kept traffic down, Siegel said.

"We've had 16 buses running all day long," Seigel said. "Running people in and out seems to be working."

Seigel wasn't worried about any weather-related issues, even with Hurricane Sandy scheduled to arrive Sunday.

"We've had great weather today [Saturday]. It looks like we'll avoid the hurricane," Seigel said, pointing to the storm's early trajectory that had the storm scheduled to arrive in the area late Sunday night after the two-day event was over. Still, he said, preparations for rough weather would be made.

"Our number one concern is our customer's safety," Seigel said.

Any decision to shut down the event would come from Reed Street Productions' Director of Operations or Harford County officials, Seigel added Saturday afternoon. A few hours later, the word came.

At 8 p.m. Saturday, Run For Your Lives announced on its Facebook page that Harford County officials had canceled the race for Sunday.

"Harford County officials just called to tell us tomorrow's race is being canceled due to the impending storm. We hate that this is happening, but it's 100 percent out of our hands. Anyone who was scheduled to come tomorrow (runners, spectators, zombies, and people w/ camping) will be issued transfers to any 2012/2013 RFYL race. Details will be coming later in the week re: transfers. Mother Nature is a real bitch," said the post on the Run For Your Lives Facebook page.

Gaining popularity

Since the first race at Camp Ramblewood last year, the event has spread to 13 locations across the U.S. and Canada, and will expand to 20 locations next year. On Oct. 20, a record 22,000 people showed up to a two-day Run for Your Lives event in Temecula, Calif.

Despite the event's quick rise in popularity, Seigel, a Baltimore County native, said that for the organizers, "coming home is always special."

"The property isn't as conducive to what we would like, but it's our hometown and it's a special place," Seigel said.

"The home crowd is who we do the event for," he added. "They're the ones that started everything, and that's why we keep coming back."