8 thoughts on “Panic in the Dark

  1. Communication:
    There was plenty of communication leading up to price jumps and everything. I however never received the race day email, thankfully I carpooled with friends who had gotten it. Otherwise, I would have been late. Because online everything said to be there for 6pm, but the email had apparently said 5:15pm.
    Day of there was a few miscommunications between crew and volunteers that was noticeably causing some frustration between volunteers and runners.

    Venue & Festival:
    Dudley’s was a nice place for a festival. It felt much more open than the location last year. There was an outside and an inside. It was a short bus ride to the park where the actual run took place. For Panic, it does add a bit to the aesthetic of the haunted run.

    Course & Obstacles:
    It was a nice and easy 5k course. There was a small mixture of obstacles both man-made and natural. This year it did seem as though there were less costumed volunteers out there. But over all it was still a fun event.

    Swag & Awards:
    Medal with dated ribbon and a gray shirt with bright green font.

  2. My first time running this race and It was a lot of fun. I’d definitely run this again

    Communication before the event was good, I got all the info I need a few days before the race and the venue was easy to find. Registration took a few seconds near the entrance to the hall and there was plenty of room for people to socialize before the event. T-shirt pick up was easy and I didn’t even see the Spahten logo until I got home. Very nice touch.

    When it got close to our heat time, we were told to line up by a door clearly marked as the starting line. We were lent headlamps, so we didn’t have to have one of our own, then we boarded a bus to the course. It was a quick and easy ride and then a skeleton led us off the bus and after a little bit of fooling around started us off on the course.

    The obstacles on the course weren’t really challenging but the course itself was a really good, well marked, trail run with the addition of running through a school. The real attraction was the zombies. More funny than scary they were well placed and did a great job. The best though were the young kids in the gym and playground. They were obviously having a great time chasing us around and when I took a wrong turn and was told by a little zombie girl that Food goes that way, I couldn’t breathe from laughing so hard.

    The medal was really nice and getting chocolate milk after finishing the run was pretty awesome. I don’t think I have ever smiled and laughed as much on any other OCR. If you like to have fun and are into Halloween, this is the race for you.

  3. Communication: Leading up to the event I felt like the communication was great. Emails told us where to go, I contacted with a question and got a response that helped me decide whether or not I could swing a second lap. The night of, communication could have been a bit better. Upon arriving I stated I wanted to purchase Multilaps. There was some miscommunication, but it was resolved. Then there was no communication about the timing and the late start, which could be felt in the crowd near the starting line.

    Venue & Festival: Very easy to get to, right off the highway. Having bathrooms right there is always a luxury over port – a – potties. There was a free bag check and that is totally appreciated. I think that inside the venue it was a bit crowded with all the tables, not sure how many of them were used.

    Course & Obstacles: I have found that Smithfest’s courses are my favorite. While there were less than I have seen at his other events I’ve been to this year, I think that the night was a natural obstacle. The zombies and volunteers were great. They were totally into it and having fun which added to the fun for the participants. I loved the school. My first time through, I think that’s the most I have run yet and they chased it was great. I enjoyed the use of the playgrounds, perfect use of the property. I felt like the zombies were dispersed well enough.

    Swag & Awards: Medal and the ribbon is dated – love seeing the year somewhere. Very nice shirt, it was an awesome touch that the Spahten Logo was on the sleeve with ‘Largest team’. Completely a surprise but found out from another Spahten after I’d gotten my shirt. I had to swap and they were great about swapping it out for me. Another added touch was the pins to put on our medal for multilaps.

    Overall: I loved this race. I was hesitant to sign up, even more hesitant to doing a second lap. All because I’ve never been very good with scary stuff. However I am so glad that I didn’t miss out. I really enjoyed this event. Going out of it, I think the place for most improvement is timing and getting the earlier waves off on time (Unsure if it corrected itself as the night went on or not) or at least communicating the delay to the waiting crowd. This will definitely be an event I would do again.

  4. My first time doing this race and as someone who doesn’t like the dark or zombies, I was nervous. But fellow Spahtens to the rescue.

    We started late, which was a bit of a bummer. Many multi lappers had logistics questions that maybe next year put on facebook or in the email.

    Once on the course, it wasn’t as scary as expected which was good for me. The zombie volunteers were great though.

    Course well marked. Not as many obstacles as I have gotten used to at Fred’s events. I was ecpecting the number search with wandering zombies…but not this year.

    The shirt is awesome and as biggest team our logo was there. I didnt know until someone said it, so we swapped. The medal was fun and as a multilapper I was shocked and pleased at the extra rewards for that.

    Overall, I had more gun than I expected to. It is a hike for me so its Racelocal presence draws me.

  5. This year’s course, although short, was my favorite one out of the 3 I have ran. I looked at it as a more fun, than challenging course. Even though there were less zombies this year, their locations on course were excellent. I missed the fruit basket for our team, but got enough free food between Bahama Breeze and the Chili. No fruit basket will never be a deal breaker.

    Bring back the intricate storyline please?

  6. So I love this race, I will start off saying that. But this year the story telling was less than last year, it felt a little rushed, and there were less obstacles, and less zombies. However it still had oh so much fun, the obstacles were well built, and fun, I still love the school! I know only so much can be done about volunteers, but it needs to be said. Also the team swag with our logo replacing the sponsors on the back is an incredibly nice touch! Also it was nice to have the free bag check, and free food there. Overall I enjoyed it, and you do not often get the choice to run through lowell in the dark and have nearly as much fun!

  7. This is my second year running Panic, and I was greatly looking forward to this run. Its a non-competitve fun scare run with zombies. Think running through a haunted trail versus being chased. Within two weeks of the event, we were informed via e-mail and facebook that the venue for the “festival” was changed from the Lowell Memorial to the Holy Ghost Society. It was well communicated and easy to get to, but the change also brought a $10 parking fee, which had been a find your own, probably free, situation in the past. It is a catch 22 to me, on the one hand, parking was a cinch and I was within steps of the festival/after party, but on the other hand, I have to pay. A few locals did park 0.25mi away at the Hannafords and solved that problem (if at the same venue next year, I’ll surely do the same).

    As far as getting to the Holy Ghost Society, it was mostly very easy. Within a mile of coming off of 495, however the street the building is on is dark and signage was not on the corner of rt38, which would have been much appreciated. Parking was not regulated, and unfortunately I noticed in a few places where 3 cars parked in line, blocking in the middle guy. I didn’t envy him. Its a very dark parking lot and the lines were not well marked, so while I’m sure people were doing their best, a volunteer directing parking would have eradicated this problem. Thankfully, the parking lot is right in front of the Holy Ghost Society, mere steps from the parking.

    Upon entering the building, the party was more or less easy enough to find. Check in was directly on the left upon entering the hall. Things were overly clear hear. I saw check-in was separated by last name, however, we needed to sign a waiver, which was not obvious, and I actually went to check-in and was redirected to the waiver table.The waiver table was on the other side of the hall entrance. As you can imagine, this created a bit of a bottle neck situation for those trying to get in out of the hall. All in all, I checked-in and got my bib in about 5 minutes. However, your shirt came from another table, which was on the far side of the hall, and was not overly obvious. I had to ask fellow teammates where they got their t-shirts, and was asked multiple times myself.

    As the biggest team for this event, the NE Spahtens had their owned taped off area in the far left corner of the room with plenty of tables and seats for the group, as well as t-shirts with the NES logo on the back, which is pretty phenomenal. The hall was plenty large enough for all of the patrons attending, however, signage was seriously lacking. Also, comparing to last year, the team had their own fruit and snack tray to share in our biggest team area, which was not there this year. It is certainly not a deal breaker, but was noted. Finally, it was not overly obvious where to go when they called your heat time, nor was it always obvious that the heat time was being called. Due to a band, a DJ, and general noise, the “emcee” wasn’t overly loud while on the microphone. Easy to tune out, unfortunately.

    When the time came for my heat, I followed fellow teammates to a small side room where the bar was located, wondering if we were in the right place. Eventually, a soldier dressed “emcee” (I use this word as he was the guy who set us off on our way, so while playing a role, he was essentially what other races would call the emcee), pointed us to another room off the bar and told us to pack in and grab headlamps (I had brought mine, was this was unnecessary). It was a small room and got cramped fast, and thankfully he brought us outside to give us the overview. He did a decent job on his own. Last year, there were 2-3 guys doing the pre-run chat, and were more intimidating, making the whole feel of the race more effective. He gave us the talk while walking us on the bus to leave the “safe zone” and run through the zombie apocalypse.

    It was a very short bus ride to the start of the race. As soon as we arrived, a guy with a V for Vendetta mask ran on the bus told us to get off and run. Last year there was way more theatrics with this. I didn’t mind, but it felt a hair confusing. We started running on an obviously altered course from last year. We went about a 1/4 mile before arriving to the first obstacle; a wall, and even longer before we met the first zombie.

    I’m not going to break down the race, as this is a fun run, and the obstacles are meant for all athletic levels. However, I will note that in comparison to last year, the race was significantly shorter (last year being just shy of 3 miles), tapping somewhere around 2.25, and the amount of obstacles and zombies were also significantly reduced. Also, last year, the school was meant to be a maze, but other than figuring out how to get into the school, the path were were supposed to take was incredibly obvious, with almost no opportunity to go the wrong way, which I found an extremely entertaining part of last year. There were a very small handful of zombies in the school, as well, taking much of the fear factor out, where one could argue it was the scariest section of last year’s race.

    Had I never run this race before, I could easily say it was a lot of fun, being exactly what it advertised itself to be. However, I did run this race last year, it was very obviously this year was a diminished version of the run. I was really looking forward to more fun and zombies with such better weather this year, and it didn’t deliver.

    The medals were very similar to last year, however tinged red. I still like them. The after-party did delivery your choice of chili (vegetarian or beef) or tortilla soup. There was a very reasonably priced cash bar, which was enjoyed by most attendees. The band was awesome this year! They sang well and had a lot of stage presence. There were a few sponsors; align bank (which gave you a bunch of goodies with your race t-shirt), shock top beer (which offered free t-shirts, as well as free beer and apps at the after after party at a bar a quarter mile down the road, and a local radio station that DJ’d when the band rested, as well as offered a bunch of goodies like koozies and sunglasses. Finally, there was also a race store area where you could purchase Panic in the Dark goods.

    Overall, I’d rate this race as a 6. It was incredibly affordable, and a great Halloween themed run, that is fun for anyone who enjoys to be a little scared. However, I’d really like to see the race get back to a true 5k (we know the park can do this), and see a lot more zombies, or even just change it up to be a haunted trail run (incorporating other themes with the zombies). There is so much potential that I hope to see come back next year.

  8. overall i think Panic is a very fun race. this year felt like there were a few less obstacles and the millage was really lacking ( my watch clocked it at 2.25 ) . the pre and post race party was at a different venue than the past years and when i first got there i was worried it was going to feel to crowded and the band would be to loud and kinda drive us out, but that was not the case with people cycling in and out it never felt to packed at the venue and the band was at a decent level to where it dident drive you away. would love to see another mile or so added next year and a few more obstacles thrown in the mix.

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