When you’re a running junkie, recovery time and injury downtime withdrawal symptoms can manifest themselves in various ways. It had been almost 3 weeks since my last run back in New Zealand, and my brain was really starting to crave that delicious endorphine hit. There was only one sensible thing to do:
crosstraining sit on my bum, watch Kilian Jornet videos on youtube and surf the internet for running related articles and gear. And in the process of that, I’ve managed to find another nifty thing to add to my ever growing pile running motivators (not that I really needed another). It’s the perfect mix of a new love with an old flame. The new love being running, and the old flame from my school/uni days being my devastating addiction to video games. There have of course been times where I wonder, if only I’d spent those years of counterstrike, world of warcraft and diablo 2 building up a decent set of running legs instead of wasting the countless hours collecting worthless imaginary cyber-artifacts. Well, in this app, I seem to have stumbled across a way to do both!
Whilst browsing through various running related apps on the Google Play store, one grabbed my attention: Zombies, Run! After reading the description, I was sold. What an awesome concept! Run, evade zombies, pick up supplies and build a town, all whilst playing out the gripping story of a supply runner in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.
Now, I’ve developed quite a love for running on the trails, so much so that I can pretty much leave the headphones at home and go for a six hour run out in the bush without a hint of boredom. Running on the streets is a different story though. The urban environment always feels a little stressful to me, and if the weather isn’t perfect, or if I’m feeling a little moody, or even if there’s just too much traffic on the roads beside which I’m running, I tend to turn to music to keep my mind off all those things, and Zombies, Run! seemed like the perfect environmental distraction for my mid-week training.
And so, with a tad more excitement and anticipation than usual, I laced up my running shoes for the first time in 3 weeks, and stepped out the front door into an imaginary post-apocalyptic world, ready to face the zombie hordes.
The gameplay is simple. There are several modes of play, all of which are played through your headphones as you run. Story mode takes you through the primary missions and storyline of Runner 5 (you) and Abel township. The story mode missions can be played out over runs of roughly 30 minutes or 1 hour in length. Depending on the time selected, the app basically determines how far apart to spread the story narrative sections, interspersed with music from one of your playlists on your phone.
There are also other modes like airdrop (run to a point which you pick on the map to pick up some goodies) or supply (run as long as you want, gathering stuff on the way), which act as side missions for you to boost your resources and supplies, which in turn you use to build up and expand Abel Township. In all the missions, you can elect to enable the zombie chases – basically, you get a warning that zombies are hot on your tail, and you have to pick up your speed by at least 20% for a full minute to escape, failing which, you have to drop some of your hard-earned supplies to distract the zombies while you make your escape.
I won’t go too far into the plot details in case anyone wants to give this a shot, but I have to say I totally loved it. My first mission involved running to the safety of Abel township, whilst gathering supplies and information en-route, and evading hordes of zombies who, unilke their Walking Dead counterparts, seemed to have rather decent (an)aerobic fitness (I got caught by one bunch while running at 4:30/km). I finished the run on a different sort of high – one packed with adrenaline, and filled with anticipation for the next episode.
I’m still really looking forward to my next decent long one on the trails with nothing but the sound of the forest in my ears, but in the meantime, while my tendon continues to heal, I am going to have heaps of awesome fun in the zombie-filled wastelands of my imagination.
In case you missed the link earlier, you can read more about the game here:
And no, I have nothing to do with anyone who has anything to benefit from sales of the app (other than maybe that they probably love running too!).