Overall Rating
Overall Rating (4 Reviews)
4.3
(4 Ratings)(4 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.5
SCENERY
3
PRODUCTION
4.5
SWAG
4.5
The ZombieRunner Halloween runs along the popular Coyote Creek trail. Run in costume and stand to win a turkey!
Local Weather (Nov 02)
2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
 
H (°F) 83 66 71 63 65
L (°F) 57 47 46 50 46
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Recent reviews

    PeteSinCA REPEAT RUNNER '18

    The ZombieRunner Halloween Run has four distances, marathon, half marathon, 10K, and 5K. Like last year, I did the 10K. The start/finish area is in Hellyer Park – evidently last … MORE

    The ZombieRunner Halloween Run has four distances, marathon, half marathon, 10K, and 5K. Like last year, I did the 10K. The start/finish area is in Hellyer Park – evidently last year’s change from Los Gatos Creek Park and Trail is “permanent”. All distances circle the park and then head south on the Coyote Creek Trail. There are different turn-around points for each distance, with full marathon runners doing the half marathon course twice. The course is almost all paved, and about 60% shaded (depending on distance and time of day; for more details, see my 2017 Rave). ZRHR is intended to be a fun family-friendly event – it includes a costume contest – and an easy-going introduction to trail running.

    Coastal Trail Runs is a very consistent register-and-run organizer. All a runner need worry about is getting to the venue and running their race. Aid stations have a variety of snacks (fuel and electrolytes), and the recovery goodies are even more varied. The aid station used by all but 5K runners is at a trail entry point staging area that has restrooms.

    The race T-shirt for 2018 was similar to that of 2017 (see my Rave below), in a different color and shirt vendor. Coastal Trail Runs bibs are plain white, with organizer logos across the top, their, “Have Fun Out There,” slogan across the bottom, and the bib number in the middle. The numbers are distance-coded. For example, the 1000 series numbers were for runners doing the 5K distance.

    Coastal’s finisher’s medal have traditionally been discs or rectangles, but 2018’s ZRHR medallion is unique. It’s shaped like a fanged vampire bat, with the race name and distances. The ribbon is black, with the year in white and race logo (pumpkin-headed runner surrounded by bats). The medals I have from 2017 races are very nicely done, but ZRHR 2018’s medal is really cool, insta-favorite.

    My finish time … sigh … I told one person while recovering that it was the worst 10K finishing time I’d ever been glad to get. I’d strained a muscle the previous day (who knew one could do that while walking across one’s kitchen?!), and both DNS and bailing out mid race for a DNF were considerations. I was DLF for the 10K by half an hour and won AG second. I was happy to finish and earn my bat (medal).

    Anyway, would I do the ZombieRunner Halloween Run again? I’m already registered for Coastal’s Turkey Trot, in the same park and trail. And 2018 was my second time doing ZRHR, so doing it next year is reasonably possible.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Katie_Ho Oct 30, 2018 at 10:21pm

    Pete, sorry to hear about your strained muscle, but sounds like you got some pretty cool swag for toughing it out! Hope you heal quickly and appreciate your excellent review.

    Pete, sorry to hear about your strained muscle, but sounds like you got some pretty cool swag for toughing it out! Hope you heal quickly and appreciate your excellent review.

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    PeteSinCA FIRST-TIMER '17

    Event & Course Description: Normally the Zombie Runner Halloween Run uses the Los Gatos Creek, Flume, and Jones trails, with the start/finish area in Los Gatos Creek Park. And normally … MORE

    Event & Course Description:
    Normally the Zombie Runner Halloween Run uses the Los Gatos Creek, Flume, and Jones trails, with the start/finish area in Los Gatos Creek Park. And normally the distances are 5 miles, half marathon, and marathon. Courtesy of extensive sprinkler system work near and across the trail in Vasona Lake Park all that was changed in 2017.

    Coastal Trail Runs moved the race to Hellyer Park and the Coyote Creek Trail, where they do their Turkey Trot. And the distances were 5K, 10K (which I did), half marathon, and marathon. Starting and finishing Hellyer Park, the course is an out-and-back along the Coyote Creek Trail. Runners start off by circling the park (which has a very nice lake in it) and then following Coyote Creek along the trail to their several turn-around points. Marathon runners do the half marathon course twice, including circling the park. The Coyote Creek Trail is almost flat, mostly ruralish, well shaded, and very pleasant. Except for about 50 yards of single track dirt the course is entirely paved. Degree of shade depends some on the time of day, but the 10K course is about 60%-70% shade, with much of the exposed area being the circuit around the park, when the sun is very low and it’s likely to be overcast. In the first part of October SF Bay Area weather can vary from cool to hot to cool to … . In the latter part of October the weather starts to settle into fall, and in 2017 the weather was reasonably cool.

    Organization & Production:
    This was my 6th Coastal Trail Runs event in 2017. Coastal is the kind of organizer where runners only need to worry about getting to the venue and running their race. Coastal consistently delivers an excellent race experience.

    Coastal marks its courses very thoroughly with color-coded flags and with signs. Coastal’s aid stations (very consistent from race to race) normally have both water and electrolyte drink, plus salty and sugary snacks. I also saw electrolyte gel packets. Their aid station volunteers are always helpful and encouraging.

    Swag & Goodies: Coastal finish areas always have plenty of salty and sugary snacks, in even greater variety than the aid stations. Cut up fruit is available, and there is an ice chest with sodas, beer, and bottled water. As I was recovering the grill in the picnic area was being fired up, and as I was leaving I noticed sausages were being grilled.

    Bib: Coastal has plain white background bibs with the organizers’ logos, the bib number, and the slogan, “Have Fun Out There”. Plain, but it works.

    T-Shirt: Coastal only does tech type race T-shirts. At the Halloween Run I saw shirts that were white, fluorescent yellow, fluorescent green, and black. Mine is green. It features a large fanged jack o’lantern and bats, with the race name, (correct) distances, date, and the logo of the main sponsor, Zombie Runner. On the back are the logos of the organizer and other sponsors. For my taste it’s just OK. I’ll use it for work outs as I normally would, but it won’t be a favorite.

    Finisher’s Medal: The finisher’s medal is a disc, a bit larger than Coastal’s usual medals. Except for a dull silver outer rim, the background of the medal is black. At the top is a jack o’lantern headed runner and the Zombie Runner logo. Below them are the race name and the distances of the usual race (but incorrect in 2017). The ribbon is (What else?!) black with the year on several places along it. One way Coastal reduces expenses (and registration costs) is by using the same artwork on its medals over the years, and the same medals for several years’ races. So this medallion was probably also used for the 2016 race (with an appropriately dated ribbon). Personally, I’m totally fine with that, and if I run the Halloween Run again next year that medal will be 3 or 4 feet away from this year’s. Coastal’s medals are usually very good but not amazing. This one will be among my favorites.

    Being one of two in the Old-Goats-Who-Finish-the-Race-Vertical age group, I placed second. The medallion is silver, with the Zombie Runner logo. The ribbon is sky blue, with “SECOND PLACE” along it.

    My Results & Opinion of the Race:
    I’m not in love with my finish time, but it’s what I can do presently when I work at it. So I’m happy with the effort.

    Because Coastal had to change venues, this running of the Halloween Run isn’t typical of that particular race. The usual course is quite different, especially challenging for runners doing the half and full marathons. But it does show Coastal’s flexibility, adaptability and consistency. Would I do this race again? Very probably. Coastal is an excellent organizer, and the usual course is very close to my home (under 10 minutes’ drive). I’m also planning to do one more Coastal race in 2017.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    PeteSinCA VOLUNTEER '15

    Preface: I didn't register for this race, as a runner or as a volunteer. I was there to encourage several runner friends, and got there about an hour before check-in … MORE

    Preface:
    I didn’t register for this race, as a runner or as a volunteer. I was there to encourage several runner friends, and got there about an hour before check-in was to open. Rather than stand around and get chilled, I walked up to the RD and asked if I could help. So, does that make me a bandit volunteer? An undocumented volunteer? Whatever, it gave me a chance to see Coastal Trail Races’ organization, and the course is one with which I’m familiar (I use it for training and work-out).

    Course description:
    The race started in Los Gatos Creek Park and was an out-and-back along the Los Gatos Creek, Flume, and Jones Trails. There were 5 mile, half marathon, and marathon distances. The 5 mile course used only the Los Gatos Creek Trail, with a turn-around at the top of the dam at Vasona Lake. The half and full marathons continued on that trail through Vasona Lake Park, past Los Gatos High School, and just past Forbes Mill Museum in Los Gatos. At that point the course followed the Flume and Jones Trails to the turn-around at Lexington Dam, and then back to Los Gatos Creek Park. The Marathon did this course twice.

    The 5 mile course is mostly flat – though generally uphill on the out-bound leg – except for the climb up the face of the dam to the turn-around. This is a little steep, but fairly short. There is a fair amount of climbing on the latter half of the Flume Trail to where it meets the Jones Trail, and even more climbing on the Jones Trail. About 3 or 4 tenths of a mile before the dam the trail comes to an overlook (well above Lexington dam) with some REALLY nice panoramic views, and then it is all downhill to the dam. The last quarter mile or so of this downhill is VERY steep and rutted (from rain run-off). The turn-around is at the dam (nice lake views!) and then … remember that steep downhill?

    At its “worst” this route is beautiful on one side and business buildings or Highway 17 through a couple tens of yards of trees. Until one reaches the climbing on the Flume Trail Los Gatos Creek is always on one side or the other, usually through a wooded thicket. Once one starts climbing it is generally rural; while Highway 17 usually within sight, it’s often at some distance. At times the trail is terraced into a fairly steep hillside, and is sometimes single track. The surface of Los Gatos Creek Trail is paved until reaching Forbes Mill Museum. There usually packed dirt margins on one or both sides of the trail. From there it, the Flume Trail, and the Jones Trail are packed dirt and gravel.

    All in all this is a beautiful course. I’ve used this course and Los Gatos Creek Trail going in the other direction for over a year and a half and am not tired of it.

    Organization & Production:
    Based on what I saw and past experience with Coastal … At this race, only the finish arch was in positions when volunteers started arriving. EVERYTHING else was unloaded from Coastal’s van on race morning. That. Van. Was. Full! Basically it was Race-In-A-Van! I’m not knocking it in the least! It worked, well, and check in started more than 5 minutes early.

    There were 3 aid stations in addition to the aid station at the start/finish area (which was the mid-race turn-around for the marathon). Coastal’s aid stations generally provide water and electrolyte drink, plus salty and sugary snacks. Most of Coastal’s races are very challenging hill trail races, so they are good about replenishing runners’ hydration, energy, and electrolytes.

    My experiences with Coastal’s online registration have been good. Coastal does race day only check-in. Their process has been efficient and quick when I’ve done it, and Based on timing some one, I’d estimate the wait time at 5-7 minutes when the line was longest.

    There were 5 portacans in addition to the restrooms that are part of Los Gatos Creek Park. The latter are wheelchair accessible. There was a line, and though it looked longish, it was only about 5 minutes.

    Coastal does chip timing, but uses “gun time” for every runner’s start. Folks who want more accurate timing need to be toward the front of the start pack or use their own stopwatch (seriously, though, how many people need their finish time to the tenth of a second?). In this race the trail was not very wide, so not many could be in the front row or two at the start. I hope Coastal does move to chip-timing runners’ starts and finishes.

    Swag & Goodies:
    One nice thing Coastal does is give tech type T-shirts to all runners, whether 5K or half marathon. Coastal also has T-shirts designed for women. I didn’t get a good look at the T-shirt for this race, but it was black (men) or charcoal gray (women) and featured the pumpkin-headed runner. It looked really nice.

    Looking at a picture on FB, the finisher’s medal has the pumpkin-headed runner on the left, the race name, and the three race distances. It’s a very nice looking medal, though it lacks the race date.

    I wasn’t around for the finish, so I only saw the goodies as I was helping unpack. Coastal typically has candies and chips, and I saw oranges and watermelons. I took charcoal over to the picnic area barbecue pit, but don’t know what was to be cooked.

    My Results & Opinion of the Race:
    Coastal is one of the best organizers of smaller trail races in the SF Bay Area. I was impressed by the organization of this race, from the Race-In-A-Van to how smoothly the check-in went. I can’t speak for runners’ total race experience, but my experience as a bandit volunteer was good and things seemed well set for a good race experience.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    sfgal78 FIRST-TIMER '14

    this is an annual race that takes place on or around halloween (depending on which day of the week it falls upon). this year, it happened to be the day … MORE

    this is an annual race that takes place on or around halloween (depending on which day of the week it falls upon). this year, it happened to be the day after halloween, so costumes were still fresh for race day!

    for this event, participants had 3 distances to choose from:
    full marathon (26.2 miles)
    half marathon (13.1 miles)
    5M

    i chose the 5 mile distance since this course had the fewest number of inclines and hills.

    the pros:
    +TINY event, with just over 200 participants between the 3 distances
    +FAIR REGISTRATION PRICES only $40 for the 5M, $45 for the half, and $60 for the full when registering in advance. $5 less if you skip the race shirt.
    +FREE PARKING just outside vasona lake county park. most of the side streets were empty on saturday morning, so it was easy to find parking.
    +BIB AND TSHIRT pickup the morning of the race, with only a few minutes wait
    +CHALLENGING COURSE in my opinion, since all distances had rolling hills and inclines, the half and full climbing all the way up to the lexington reservoir/st. joe’s hill!
    +LOTS of AID STATIONS throughout the course, all stocked with water, electrolyte drink, and salty snacks
    +VARIETY OF POST-RACE REFRESHMENTS, which included fresh fruit, clif bars, salted tortilla chips, graham crackers, trail mix, peanut butter filled pretzels, muffins, and candy. since it’s that time of year, they also had pumpkin pie! yum!
    +CUPS for the water and electrolyte drink jugs at the finish. props to the organizers for not giving out bottled water and using recyclable paper cups!
    +LOTS OF FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS assisting with bib pickup and registration pre-race, manning the aid stations on the course, handing out medals at the finish line, and preparing/re-stocking the food at the finisher’s area.
    +COSTUME CONTEST post-race, which featured many very creative costumes worn by children and adults.
    +CUSTOMISED FINISHERS’ MEDAL for all runners who cross the finish line. i liked the purple and green logo, very fitting for the day after halloween!
    +AGE GROUP FINISHERS’ MEDALS for the top 3 men and women per age group, per distance. i finished 2nd female, and 2nd in my age group, so i walked away with an extra medal.

    the cons:
    -paying $6 for parking inside vasona lake county park, if you could not find parking outside the park gates
    -confusion on the course. i expect a 5M race to be exactly 5 miles, but the official results posted the course at 4.8 miles, and yet, i got 4.93 on my garmin, so i’m a bit unsure that the pre-planned distance was supposed to be.
    -9am was the start time for all 3 distances. given the narrowness of the trail, it was difficult to start at the very front and not lose any time since this event was gun-timed. would suggest staggering the start times going forward.
    -few restrooms. i saw only 1 proper restroom structure with 3 stalls (for the ladies) and 2 porta-potties. before the race, i had to use the restroom twice, and each time, ended up waiting a while until it was my turn. would suggest more porta-potties next year.
    -no mile marker signage. although the turnaround for the 5M was clear, with a volunteer ensuring that runners turned around, i never knew what mile i was on, unless i looked at my garmin.
    -wrong year on the finishers’ medal! when i asked the race organizer, i was told that there was a printing problem, and everyone ended up with a 2013 medal instead of a 2014 medal. whoops!

    while not my favourite zoom event, the organizers still did a pretty good job, and i applaud all the volunteers for coming out early on a cold, rainy, saturday morning to set up the aid stations and everything else so that we runners could have a good experience.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    3

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