Illustration by Sam White
From the people who brought you the Woolly Fair, the city's furriest art festival, a bit of hairy exercise this past weekend.
Werewolves and pitchfork-wielding villagers mustered outside Monohasset Mill art space Sunday afternoon to run the Werewolf 5K, a downy ode to October's full moon.
The race was designed as a chase; werewolves were to leave first and then, 30 seconds later, pursuing villagers.
Before the start, runners milled about the complex wearing overalls and glued-on hair. A red banner reading "Git Dem Werewolves" hung across the start/finish line. Runners used a ladle to spoon a bloody concoction of water and beets onto skin and fur.
Werewolf Kristin Dakake showed off a red arm "bite," the origin of her transformation. Bit about three years ago while partaking in a late-night swim, she first thought a piranha had struck. But within a few weeks, her changes began to show.
"I didn't know what it was until it was a full moon," said Dakake. "I was sleeping and then I killed my boyfriend."
One runner wearing a fur cap, nom de guerre Lincoln Wolfe, laid out his strategy before the race. "I plan to cheat," he said, "Werewolves cheat."
A mustached runner, outfitted in a nun getup, was there to guard the villagers should the werewolves bite back. "It's our job as ladies of God to protect the flock . . . And nuns can hustle," the runner said.
The route began at the Sims Avenue opening, then led runners up Harris Avenue, past the Providence Place Mall, around the State House and along Smith Street. Making a loop, the route then reversed direction back down to the finish at the race's start. Volunteers stood at traffic intersections with spray-painted signs reading "Werewolves X-ing."
About 10 werewolves held chickens. Villagers who managed to grab a chicken from a wolf had 30 seconds taken off their race times.
Werewolf Stuart Wilson finished first among the men; Mimi Wunch first for the women. As the rest of the runners came staggering in, Damian Ewens, the DJ for the day, played Wolf Parade on a nearby sound system. Some villagers still held on to their metal garden tools but most wolves had ripped off portions of their costumes to escape the furry heat.
"I had a full wolf carcass on my back and a shovel," said Michael Townsend, a villager carrying his prey. "I can't imagine what it would be like with a mask."
At the end of the race, a runner wearing a full Chewbacca suit stood in the middle of Sims Avenue blocking traffic. As a hot rod approached the group, he started dancing in front of the car, stopping the vehicle's passage.
"Somebody get the werewolves a corral," a villager said.
A success, all in all. But a failure in one respect. While events like the Werewolf 5K strive to mend a centuries-old divide, Townsend said, he fears that villagers and werewolves may be forever at odds.
"When there's an ancient rivalry, you can't fix that."