I’ve been using the Zombies, Run! app since it first launched on Kickstarter, and recently, I’ve started participating in their virtual races. I’m not usually a virtual race kind of person, but I think these are worth it.
First off, what is Zombies, Run!? It’s an app that creates an audio story to go along with your running. The basic plot is that zombies have taken over the UK (and possibly elsewhere) and you are a runner for one of the local towns, going on missions to get supplies, rescue people, and try to figure out how this all happened. The stories play out in audio clips that will intersperse with your music or audio books or podcasts or whatever else you listen to while you run. (Or you can have them play with silence between.)
I’ve been using the app for so long and had only paid for it via the initial Kickstarter backing, so this spring, I decided to sign up for their virtual race. I enjoyed it so much I signed up for the fall race as well.
For $34 US, you get a race packet, two audio training runs, the audio for the race (you get both a 5K and 10K option), and all sorts of communications leading up to the race. The company definitely does their best to make this a virtual reality experience. You get emails from the characters in the game, which often include phone numbers you can call to listen to audio clips that further the story. You can also add on to the race packet with t-shirts and other items, but I decided to keep it simple.
The audio training runs are made available to you in the weeks leading up to the race, and then the race itself is “open” for two weeks. Of course, you purchased your entry to the race, so the audio files are yours to keep and replay, but if you want your results to be included in the official listing, you need to complete the race in that two week period.
The general plot of the Halloween race involved a haunted house, something very outside the normal plot of the story. I definitely enjoyed it, though not as much as I enjoyed the spring race. It definitely made the miles fly by, and it was fun to know that every kilometer I ran meant another audio update in the app.
The finisher’s envelope contained a card relevant to the story, an Abel Township Runner 5 patch, and the race medal. I’m tempted to put the patch onto my gym bag. But again, I don’t race these for the swag – I just like the audio and I like supporting the creators.
So if you’re a Zombies Run! fan but haven’t checked out the virtual races, I highly recommend one. I have heard that sometime next year, they plan to put the old races up for cheap download, and those are definitely worth your time. And if you haven’t checked out the app and like to listen to audio dramas, or find the idea intriguing, definitely check these out.