I’ve never run a virtual race because for the most part, I don’t really see the point, but zombies are sorta my thing* so when I discovered that my Zombies, Run! app hosts a virtual race, I signed right on up.
First, I should tell you about Zombies, Run! in case you are unfamiliar. It’s a story-based running app. The story takes place after the zombie apocalypse in the UK. A whole crew of voice actors act out the story, with you, the runner, playing the part of Runner 5. Runner 5 listens to the other story characters over headsets and as they are sent on missions.
The way it works is when you start your run, you start a mission on the app. There is a snippet of story and then a song from whatever playlist you’ve chosen plays. Then there is another snippet, then a song, then so on. Each mission is about 45 minutes long. And Runner 5 has to run all of them.
It’s really fun and just motivating/interesting enough without being obnoxious. I love it. There are other app functions that I haven’t mentioned here. Check it out; it’s cool.
The virtual race was set before any of the regular Zombies, Run! seasons, taking place at the very beginning of the zombie outbreak. They did such a great job with it. After signing up, I started getting Mission Briefings via email that were pre-story. There were also two training missions you could run prior to the race that set up the story.
Then there was the package I got in the mail from England. Alex was all, “What the hell is this mysterious package?” and then I yanked it from his hands and started jumping up and down.
I geeked out so hard on all this.
There was a two week period when you could run the race. The day before the race, I got my last email mission briefing that included a phone number to call. Because I am afraid of the telephone, I immediately went online to Rofflenet (if you have the app, you know what I’m talking about) to make sure there were no actual human beings answering the phone and once I was assured I would get a recording (because, duh, there wouldn’t be human operators available at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse; everyone would be too busy), I called what turned out to be an emergency phone number where the panicking public could get regional and health information about what was going on.
I gotta tell you, these people went all fucking out. It was great. I definitely got my money’s worth.
Oh, right, I also had to run. You could run either a 5K or a 10K (the story was the same). I set out on a Thursday afternoon in an effort to save my area from nuclear apocalypse. Because everyone knows that nuclear apocalypse on top of zombie apocalypse is good for almost no one.
I tried to pick a route with the fewest street crossings, so as not to adversely affect my time on the race leaderboards. I had a really good run, right up until I experienced Ham Fatigue*** and had to slow down for a good half mile as I decided if I was going to barf or not. (I did not.) I finished in a totally respectable time and saved the world.
Runner 5 at your service.
Well, except for the zombies. I didn’t do shit about the zombies. Also, most of my team was killed.
You can’t win ’em all.
In lieu of a proper medal ceremony (pomp and circumstance is scarce in the zombie apocalypse, yo), I opened my post-mission envelope and Sam awarded me my medal in my living room.
I really need to install that medal podium in my home.
As of today, there are four more days for people to run the virtual race. My position on the 10K leaderboard is totally respectable.
Jack just kindly pointed out that this result is not in the top half. Thanks, Jack. I’m still respectable.
All in all, I’d say that this was a really positive experience. I liked all the pre-race fun and I appreciated that the company really put an effort into making the whole thing fun. I am unlikely to run a normal virtual race, but I would definitely run more of these.
After all, someone has to save the world.
* Speaking of zombies, I still haven’t quite recovered from the season finale of The Walking Dead. Such a scary damn episode. Like, really. Soooo scary. Negan, OMG. And I’ve read the comics and I know what is “supposed” to happen, but I think it’s Abraham.**
*** Related to cheese fatigue, but barfier.