My sister regularly runs marathons, has running-related tattoos, and even leads her own run club (I designed the t-shirts!). Me? I am not a runner.
That is to say, I don’t like high impact exercise like jogging or running, but walking? That I can and will do, along with aquafit once a week, but not much else. My brother’s running (editor’s note: har!) joke is that my efforts in regular fitness involve going once in a row to a gym that would enjoy my membership fee, if not my presence. And Wii Fit‘s passive aggressive comments are far from motivational.
But my husband recently started getting healthy, and it’s inspired me to find something that works for me, as has Fish Mooney in the new Gotham television series.
Enter Zombies, Run!, an app that combines immersive story narrative, achievements, and challenges with exercise. Created by Six to Start, an award-winning London-based company, Zombies, Run! was originally funded on Kickstarter and was the biggest videogame project in 2011. The app boasts:
- Over 400,000 copies of Zombies, Run! sold to date
- Playable anywhere in the world, at any speed – from walking to jogging to running, and even on a treadmill
- The app allows players to listen to their own music and playlists while running
- Distance, time, pace, and map are recorded for each run and can be viewed on the free online service, ZombieLink
- Include over 100 unique missions in total – more than most TV shows!
- A base builder, built from scratch, adds a whole new layer of strategic gameplay and customisation
- Over 45 actors were involved in recording the Season 2 story
It’s taken me a long time to get to this point of willingly getting up at 6:00AM regularly to exercise, but if I want to survive the zombie apocalypse, I better up my game. It definitely helps to have friends playing along with me. Motivation is key when it comes to sticking to workout routines and reaching those fitness goals. Not to worry if you don’t know anyone else using the app though, because there’s a significant online presence, complete with fanfiction.
Fanfiction for an exercise app?
You bet. Remember the part about immersive story narrative?
In my first mission, I’ve met Dr. Maxine Myers, who apologizes for being a bit of a hardass, but makes it clear that everyone who wants access to the safety of Abel Township needs to earn their keep. I can respect that, even if it means dropping by the zombie infested hospital to gather supplies. Thankfully, her companion, Sam Yao, is a bit nicer. As Abel’s lead communications operator, he is the watcher in the wings, coordinating the runners and making sure they come home safe. Only, sometimes, things don’t work out that way, which is why I am not the new Runner 5. Sam is a typical nice guy with a poor sense of humour, but as he tells you a little bit about the previous Runner 5, he’s already bringing the feels.
Your imagination gets a workout as well as the narration guides you through the area with an option to add zombie chases to encourage you to pick up the pace. Optional announcements let you know when you’ve “gathered” supplies that might be beneficial to Abel company from medical kits to clothing.
With only 20 minutes and 4k under my belt, I can already see why this app has garnered an actual fandom. I loves me a good story, and this one is definitely shaping up to be just that. I’m only on season one with season three’s finale on its way. I’ve gathered some supplies and proven myself to Abel Township.
But it’s not just about the story. This is an exercise app, after all, so it does all the important things like keeping track of your statistics, which you can share and compare with other runners through the app’s free ZombieLink network. Additional apps help you train for more intensive runs, and there are other options available beyond the story. I’ve recently started going on lunch time walks with co-workers, which I can now record through bonus supply run missions.
If you choose, you can include your own music into the story since the app can access your music player playlist or Spotify. Garbage kept me company on my brisk walk, but count on fandom to offer more. Why not check out some of the fan-mixes people have made to accompany you on your journey?
Like I said, I am not a fan of running. I prefer a brisk walk, and, with winter coming, I will most likely have to go indoors with the new elliptical my husband and I scored from the neighbour’s garage sale.
I am not a runner. But I am Runner 5.
And sometimes, when Sam says the zoms are coming–RUN!
Then that’s exactly what I’m going to do. (At least for a few minutes.) I might not be able to outrun my sister, but as long as I can outpace the zombies and work up a healthy sweat, then I’ll be just fine.