by Mallory Moad
It’s a quiet, early morning in October. The approaching fall has brought a chill, and a mist hangs in the air. But something’s afoot in these peaceful surroundings. From the distance comes a groan—a shriek—the sound of shuffling feet—giggles. Wait, what? Giggles?
This is no ordinary zombie apocalypse or return of the werewolf, and this is definitely not a graveyard. It’s Fresno’s scenic Woodward Park, the location of the Third Annual Monster Mash Dash 5K Run/Walk and Little Monster Dash. “Little monsters,” you say? That explains all that giggling!
Produced by California Classic, Monster Mash Dash is Fresno’s original Halloween run that supports the Make-A-Wish Foundation. With a 5K run for adults and special quarter-mile categories for kids ages three and under, four through six years old, and seven through nine years old, this is a real family event. It isn’t just a race. Although other themed runs are produced around the country this time of year, Fresno’s Monster Mash Dash takes the idea one step farther. It’s more like a Halloween party with lots of food and candy (for monsters of all sizes), glow-in-the-dark T-shirts and medallions, and a costume contest for all ages.
Keeping with the trick-or-treat theme, the course is decorated with spooky (but kid-friendly) scenes. Last year’s run included a flash mob dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Mike Herman, the director of the Monster Mash Dash, says the run has become a family tradition for some. “We are seeing the same families each year come out to enjoy the social nature” of the event. “My favorite thing is seeing out littlest participants dressing up! For most of these kids, this is their first organized run.”The number of witches, goblins and ghosts taking part in the Monster Mash Dash has grown over the past three years. “Our first year we had 450 participants, and we were pleasantly surprised to sell out in our second year with 900. This year we are well on our way to selling out at 1,200 participants.” Entry fees are kept at affordable prices to encourage families and groups to join. It takes time, teamwork, and dedication to make all this happen. “About six months ahead of time we start acquiring new Halloween props and decorations,” Mike says. “Most of our volunteers are from Key Clubs in schools from Fresno and Clovis.”
The deadline for entries is October 26, so dust off your pointy hat, your fangs, your super hero cape, and your running shoes and get ready for the Monster Mash Dash, Fresno’s Halloween run. It’s a Woodward Park smash! For more information, visit www.monstermashdash.com.