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Soldiers and families survive unit’s zombie run

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Soldiers and families outran the zombie apocalypse that plagued the Lightning Ranch on Saturday.

The 4th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment hosted the unit’s first Zombie Run to help replenish the family readiness group funds for the upcoming holiday season. The event was open to soldiers and families throughout the battalion’s higher headquarters, 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

The event had a large turnout, and the fact that it was all ages and all ranks made it a great family event, said Lt. Col. Bill Dowling, battalion commander.

The participants navigated their way through a course more than a mile long, dodging zombies and obstacles along the way. Each team running through the course was able to purchase ammunition, in the form of foam darts, to throw at their zombie foes to better their chances of surviving and crossing the finish line.

Staff Sgt. Justin Herburger, a platoon sergeant from the battalion’s Charlie Battery and a veteran zombie race-runner, was one of few who came out of the race a survivor.

“It was shorter than the races I’m used to, but it was long enough to have fun with. It was intense,” he said.

Compared to the normal slow moving zombies people see on television, the zombies in this race were out for blood — or brains — and sprinted toward potential meal targets.

“The zombies were fast, and they gave no leeway,” said Sarah Herburger, Justin’s wife and teammate in the race.

Runners encountered other characters along the course. Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Hopkins, of Delta Battery, hid in the tree line, revving his WeedEater engine and shaking the trees as unsuspecting runners raced past.

The teams ran through the course one at a time, and more than 200 people participated either as survivors or zombies.

“It was great to see the soldiers and families get into the spirit of Halloween and show their support for the unit and the FRGs,” Dowling said.

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