Wes May – Zombie Buffet 5K organiser

Zombie Buffet 5K
Zombie Buffet 5K
This Hallowe’en weekend, runners will take to the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, with two aims: raising money for charity, and avoiding the ravenous hordes of the undead.  Sound like something you would like to be involved in?  Get your running shoes on and join us for a chat with Wes May, one of the organsiers.

Geek Chocolate – Next Saturday, 29th October, you’re running the Zombie Buffet 5K charity run.  When did you come up with the idea, and how is it different from a normal charity run? 

Wes May – The idea started back in April of this year.  It was hatched by my two brothers Jayson and Brandon, then brought to Ritchie and I to see if within this idea was a seed that could yield growth.  Zombies are the hot thing this year, what with The Walking Dead TV series and several Hollywood films in the pipeline for the future.  After the four of us debated the whole idea of a zombie themed 5K race and began to brainstorm about how to make the idea become a reality, our event production company Bloc 434 was created, and the rest is history.  The last six months have been all about working hard to ensure that the ZB5K is one of 2011’s most memorable Nashville TN experiences.
GC – With only a week to go, is it still possible for people to become involved in this?  Do runners have to register ahead of time, or can they just show up, and what behind the scenes support do you need?
WM – Our original intent was to cut off registration around the 8th of October, giving us a few weeks to deal with whatever number of participants as well as the final details.  We were convinced by our radio sponsor 96.3 JACK-FM to allow registration all the way up to the day of the event.  Judging by the massive influx of sign-ups in October, the procrastinators have all come out of the wood work to be part of this event.  We also received over a hundred volunteers who have generously offered their time and effort to make sure this all goes off without a hitch come October 29th

Zombie Buffet 5K flier
Zombie Buffet 5K flier
GC – What projects are you hoping to support, and how did they feel when you suggested the undead hordes offer their services?
WM –  Our chosen charity for this event is the Nashville Rescue Mission.  It’s a local organization that offers rehabilitative services for homeless people willing to take the steps necessary to elevate themselves from life on the streets to productive citizens again.  The NRM is a bit of a conservative operation, so being offered the fund-raising services of such a unique themed event was probably a big WTF moment for them all at first.  Ultimately, because of the important work they do, donations, no matter what the oddity of the source they come from, are undoubtedly welcome.
GC – Have you any plans for the future, or is it all about surviving next weekend without getting eaten?
WM – After investing so much work in the planning of the ZB5K the last six months, a much deserved and anticipated period of relaxation is our first priority.  That said, we began looking ahead to 2012 a couple of months ago.  We are mulling over an expansion of this zombie themed 5K to a handful of other locations across the country, as well as some non-zombie related events that might soon see the light of day.  Right now, it seems like a good idea to take all of the lessons we’ve learned throughout the process of planning the ZB5K, and apply them to making the 2nd annual event even better than the first.
GC – As you said, zombies are very “in” at the moment, between The Walking Dead, Zombieland, and World War Z currently filming, and you’ve embraced that trend yourself.  Do you think part of the reason is that it’s something that makes it easy for people to join in and get involved?
WM – Well, there are any number of opinions about why people like to be frightened out there.  The endless fascination with horror in general makes an event such as this one intriguing from the start.  Add to that the current elevation of zombies in pop culture and a race like the ZB5K practically sells itself.  I’ve been endlessly amused and fascinated by participant’s reactions to being chased through downtown Nashville by zombie hordes.  There’s a mixture of anticipation, thrill-seeking, fear, anxiety and boundless excitement from the public that only seems to add to Bloc 434’s drive to deliver the absolute best and unique experience that any runner has ever had in a 5K race.
GC – You’re a big horror fan yourself.  What are your all time favourites, and what are you looking forward to over the next year?
WM –   I do love horror films, but find myself more often than not disappointed by what is offered by film studios.  There is a lot of disappointment, but there are also films that truly deliver the horror experience without lapsing into a film cobbled together by cliches and over-used standards that the genre has introduced into pop culture since horror films delivered their first scare.  For me, I do like some of the popular entries: Jeepers Creepers, Paranormal Activity 2, The Strangers and the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  But I also am drawn to odd-ball horror films like Triangle, The Human Centipede, Inside, The Descent, Let The Right One In and Near Dark.  There are also films like Splinter, a little seen creature feature from a few years back that resonate with me.  As for what I’m looking forward to in the future, I’m not aware of the horror film slate, but I am really looking forward to World War Z.  Zombies are where it’s at!
GC – You’re also a comics fan, and you’ve written a graphic novel yourself, Midnight’s End.  Anything else in the pipeline, or are the zombies consuming your life right now?
WM – The zombie events are pretty time-consuming.  Add to that my day job and the time necessary for creative endeavors such as producing another graphic novel have unfortunately taken a back seat to current involvements.  I have outlined some ideas for a potential ongoing comic series involving a couple of demon hunters traversing the world in search of supernatural threats, but it’s not much more than an idea that happens to be a bit too fleshed out to be labelled as a mere seedling awaiting germination.
GC – And are you going to be running the course with the Ritchie, Jayson and Brandon, and which of you will be on which side?
WM –   Due to the immensity of such an undertaking, the four partners from BLOC 434 will be scattered about the course ensuring every cog is functioning properly throughout the event.  But if I were to run, I love the idea of being chased by the blood-thirsty hordes, but love the idea of terrorizing the runners even more.
GC – Thank you so much for your time, and good luck next weekend.
WM – Thank you, Michael.

Even if you can’t be in Nashville to join in, please help support and promote the event by clicking on the link below and adding it to your Facebook or Twitter.  Thank you!


Zombie Buffet 5K logo
Zombie Buffet 5K logo



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