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Runners try to skirt zombies who try to kill them by stealing their red flags during the Rails to Entrails 5K in New Boston on Sunday. (NANCY BEAN FOSTER PHOTO)

Runners have a scream at first Zombie 5K in New Boston

NEW BOSTON — With eyeballs hanging low, skin peeling off and hair looking a fright, the undead crawled out of the woods and the woodwork to give participants in the first annual Rails to Entrails 5K a run for their money Sunday.

The brainchild of Goffstown High School teachers Curt McDermott and Mike Veilleux, Rails to Entrails is an effort to raise money for the development of the New Boston Rail Trail. According to Burr Tupper of the town's Conservation Commission, which oversees the trail, the goal is to clear paths and build bridges over the next three years so there is access to a scenic wooded walkway that stretches from downtown New Boston to Route 114 in Goffstown.

McDermott and Veilleux were inspired to create Rails to Entrails after participating in a zombie-themed race outside of Boston. A race to raise money for the Rail Trail seemed like a perfect fit, especially because the zombie run would be a great way to let people know that the trail exists and is a great place to explore.

With more than 250 runners registered before the day of the event, and dozens more arriving at the 4-H Fairgrounds on Sunday, organizers knew the first annual zombie run was going to be a success.

&#';I'm totally impressed with the turnout,&#'; said McDermott. &#';We have a ton of volunteers that it would have been impossible to do this without.&#';

&#';I'm having a ball,&#'; said Veilleux. &#';This is so much fun.&#';

The zombies, who registered as either runners or volunteered to scare the living, had their faces painted by makeup artists who drove from as far away as Boston to volunteer.

&#';I came across this event online and thought it would be fun to come up and do people's makeup,&#'; said Jade Giacoppo of Boston. &#';I just wanted to help out.&#';

Alex Blankenship of Goffstown said he volunteer to become a zombie to try and repay McDermott for the help he received from the teacher in high school.

&#';He was my favorite teacher, and I thought, if he needs volunteers, I'm there,&#'; Blankenship said. &#';Plus, zombies are awesome.&#';

Runners skirted zombies who jumped out of the woods or chased them down cordoned-off lanes and tried to tear red flags from runner's waists. Runners who reached the finish line with at least one flag remained among the living. The others, however, were doomed.

And the race wasn't just about running 5 kilometers while dodging zombies. There was a giant hillside waterslide that had to be tackled, and a knee-deep pit of mud to slog through. But whether they lived or died, the runners finished the race with smiles on their faces.

&#';People are totally psyched and it so great to have the community come together like this,&#'; said McDermott.

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