Season 9 Part 1 is coming next year!

We’ve got great news: we’ll be releasing the first 15 missions from Season 9 in Spring 2021!

Earlier this year, we decided to delay the release because it wasn’t safe for us to record in person and we weren’t satisfied that we could reach the high audio quality you deserve by recording remotely.

Since then, we’ve levelled up our remote recording capabilities through our work on the Home Front and New Adventures. Most of those scripts were designed for remote recording, with fewer actors per scene, but over time, our Head of Production Matt Wieteska and Sound Designer Mark Pittam have pushed the limits of what we can do, with the 5-episode, 27-actor Nellie Bly a fantastic demonstration of how far we’ve come.

Remote recording is still more time-consuming and expensive for Zombies, Run!, however – that’s why we’re starting with just the first 15 missions of Season 9. But we’re as eager as you are to continue the Abel Township saga and find out what’s next for Runner 5, so we’ll aim to do as much as we can as circumstances permit.

Keep your headset tuned and stay safe out there, Five, because Season 9 is on the horizon!

Our Big Holiday Sale is Here!

Our big Holiday Sale has arrived! You can get 10% off everything in our official store, including amazing new merch and even deeper discounts, but first…

We’ve launched our first-ever gift VIP subscription, and to celebrate, we’re taking $10 off the normal price until November 27th! 🎉

VIP comes with unlimited access to hundreds of thrilling missions, workouts, and 11 virtual races across Zombies, Run!, ZR 5K Training, and The Walk. It’s the perfect present for any budding Runner 5!

10% Off All Merch! 👕

Looking for your next running outfit, or just keen to complete your Abel Township lifestyle? We’re offering 10% off everything in our official store – just use code HOLIDAY2020 at checkout!

This code is valid until Friday November 12, so move fast!

NEW: Sam Yao is My Operator! 🎧

Who could ask for a more loyal, funny, brave, and hopeful operator than Sam Yao? Give him a shout-out every time you leave the house with our new shirts, tote, and mug designed by artist Leslie Strock!

NEW: I Am Runner Five 🔥

Show your colours and declare to the world: I Am Runner Five! Back by popular demand, these shirts are a new Blendtech fabric that dries faster and wicks sweat better than normal cotton.

We’ve heard you – you want Runner Five masks. Grab our dual-layer mask with space for an optional filter today!

Even More Discounts! 🎁

There’s more?! Yes: we’re offering $10 off Train to Oban and Escape from Runaway Fairground virtual race shirts, plus $5 off Runner Five socks

Only limited quantities are available, so move fast if you don’t want to miss out!

Zombies, Don’t Run!

Believe it or not, but a lot of our players don’t always run with Zombies, Run! Our game is designed for running, jogging, and walking outside and on treadmills, and we have new modes like The Home Front tailor-made for bodyweight fitness (with a dedicated Home Workout mode coming soon!), but we often get asked if you can play our hundreds of running missions without running.

And the answer is: Yes!

Thanks to our Simulate Running mode (previously called Constant Pace), you can set up a simulated running speed and you’ll still hear our awesome story and collect all the supplies and materials and artefacts you need to rebuild Abel Township! Just tap the Tracking button below “Start Mission”.

Screenshot of the Tracking Settings in Zombies Run!

(You can also use No Tracking if you’d rather not have simulated distances appear in your Run Logs and Statistics.)

Here are some ideas of how you can simulate running as winter approaches in the northern hemisphere!

A man on a rowing machine

If you’re on a rowing machine, why not speed through a 2000m distance with a quick simulated running pace and a short mission duration?

Row of exercise bikes

Prefer exercise bikes or spinning? Turn on back-to-back Story Missions for a long ride through the zombie apocalypse!

Woman performing a sit up

You can even do home workouts or bodyweight fitness or even household chores while “running”!

You won’t get zombie chases with Simulate Running or No Tracking, but you can still speed up or intensify your exercise when characters tell you to move – as they often do in our story.

Stay safe out there, and keep it up, Runner 5!

Photo Credits

Rowing by Victor Freitas on Unsplash. Gym bike by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash. Sit up by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

ZR 9.1: Stylish Setting Sheets

If you’re a veteran Runner 5, you’ll have memorised our run settings screens and be able to switch between GPS and Step Counting without a backward glance (helpful if you’re escaping zoms!).

But over the years, our settings have grown into a powerful but complicated list, so with this update, we’ve redesigned them on both Android and iPhone to make them easier to navigate and understand. Also, they’re just a lot nicer-looking now!

Tracking settings sheet animation up from the bottom of a mission screen

We’ve also renamed settings so they’re more understandable (Constant Pace is now Simulate Running, Built-in Player is now ZR Player), and made lots of other little improvements:

Screenshots of the Zombie Chases, Duration, and Musing setting sheets on Android

Run settings are accessed in exactly the same way as before, from the bottom of the Mission screen, and other than their appearance, they also behave in the same way – so don’t worry if you’ve already got your perfect system set up!

Also in 9.1

  • Redesigned News articles so they’re easier to view and faster to load
  • Android: Airdrop clips now play back correctly rather than continuously

We’re already hard at work on our 9.2 update, which will bring a dedicated Home Workout mode – and of course, we’ve been releasing Home Front missions and New Adventures almost every week!

Nellie Bly: “This gal? Someone should be talking about her.”

In our new five-part globetrotting New Adventure set in 1889, you’ll join Nellie Bly as she races around the world in 72 days. We asked writer Jessica Wright Buha on why this true story is so exciting and important, and what led her to it.

Nellie Bly is releasing every Friday from October 2nd to 30th, with the first two episodes completely free and unlocked. To play, get Zombies, Run! for free on iPhone and Android.

Nellie Bly waving on top of a map showing her route from New York to London

I don’t remember when I first read about Nellie Bly. I know I was a kid, and it was in one of those faded hardcover children’s books–one of the ones left over from my mom’s childhood. I can vaguely recall the picture on the cover: a faded 1890s photograph of Nellie in her famous traveling coat, the black and white checkered fabric in the ocean breeze, hat in hand, waving. Maybe there was a newspaper behind her?

The specific details are fuzzy, but there are three things I DO remember about Nellie Bly – three things that are absolutely burned onto the inside wall of my skull:

Nellie Bly was:

  • a woman
  • a writer
  • and very, very brave.

What an impossible trifecta. And in the late 1800s! Are you kidding me? And the more I read about her, the more I’m like, “Okay, yeah, this gal? Someone should be talking about her.”

Here’s a story from the Brooke Kroeger biography Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist. In 1878, Nellie Bly was fourteen. Her stepfather, Jack Ford, gets drunk and pulls a loaded gun on her mother, Mary Jane. Nellie and her older brother Albert jump in front of Mary Jane to protect her. Mary Jane flees, and Albert runs after her. Neighbors, hearing the snap of a bullet, turned to see Albert and Mary Jane racing down the street.

And where was Nellie?

SHE STAYED BEHIND. Because Nellie had a younger sister, Kate, and a younger brother, Harry. Who was going to make sure the kids got out safe? Nellie did. She got her siblings, grabbed their hands, and sprinted them to safety.

And then she grew up, and she became an investigative journalist where she infiltrated an insane asylum, exposed a political bribery scandal, and decided to see how fast a person could circumnavigate the globe. And all while financially supporting her mother, sister, and niece. How did she do all this? By being fearless.

I suppose Nellie wasn’t really fearless. She was desperate, and she simply focused that desperation into thoughtful action.

I say “simply,” but being focused when desperate is pretty tricky to pull off. I, for one, tend to just panic. Take, for example, my experience with the year 2020 in Chicago, IL USA.

A map of Nellie's route around the world, the the title "The lines of travel to be followed by 'the world's' flying representation."
New York newspaper, Thursday, November 14, 1889

In January, I get an email from Six to Start saying that the Nellie Bly globetrotting script I proposed is moving to the next phase of development. Amazing! I get to write about Nellie’s attempt to circumnavigate the Earth! I start drafting the first of what would be five episodes.

By late February, I’ve got most of the first two Nellie Bly episodes written. I buy an extra bottle of hand sanitizer at the grocery store, and I just feel EMBARRASSED at how much I’m overreacting.

It all happened so quickly. Remember?

In March, my son’s preschool switches from in-person to virtual. I write long-hand on legal pads while my son uses my laptop for his Zoom meetings.

In April, my husband’s company aggressively downsizes. He is let go. We split the workday in half: I watch the kids in the morning while he applies for jobs, and he watches them in the afternoon while I write.

In May, and June, and July, I write. And write and write, and revise, and write, and I sew masks by hand, and I teach myself how to cut hair so my husband will look decent on his Zoom job interviews, and I grow a victory garden. I put all the plants in the same sunny corner, and I set a folding chair right in the center, and sometimes I just sit there, alone, and my husband tells the kids, “Mom’s with the plants, give her some space.”

My daughter builds playgrounds out of blocks. My son draws maps of imaginary cities. I write while they sleep, while my kids dream of oceans and mountains and vast green fields. Of a world unfolded.

(Except when they have nightmares. Remember the nightmares? My son’s was that the grocery store was out of food.)

Article excerpt: Around the World, a continuous trip which will girdle the spinning globe. Nellie Bly to make an unequalled rapid-transit record. Now, 30,000 miles in a rush! Can Jules Verne's Great Dream be reduced to actual fact! A veritable feminine Phineas Fogg.
New York newspaper, Thursday, November 14, 1889

I write. First draft of episode three: done. Episode four: done. The death toll in the US barrels past 100k. One day we’re watching Paw Patrol and my four-year-old son turns to me and says, “But I don’t want to die.”

And then it’s the end of July, and my Nellie Bly episode five is due in a couple days, and I realize I can’t do it.

I can’t. I can’t write it, because in order to write it, I need to have some good ideas, and I need to have them fast, and I’m suddenly realizing that I’ve never had a good idea. Ever.

“I can’t do this,” I think. “I’ll have to ask Adrian and Matt and the rest of the team for a deadline extension. But how much more time do I need? A day? A week? A year?”

And then Nellie’s voice is in my head.

“Nonsense! If you want to do it, you can do it. The question is, do you want to do it?”

(An actual Nellie Bly quote from the Kroeger biography. The quote’s been rattling around my head for a while, but I never really felt the weight of her question.)

I did want to do it.

So I did.

I wrote it, and I sent it to the team, and I’m just so excited and so nervous to share it with the world. And I hope you all feel the same way I felt when I wrote it, because golly, it’s been wonderful to be immersed in Nellie’s world. A place full of electric lights and steam trains and the rolling sea, where crowds are exciting and not terrifying. Where the future feels bright. And I feel brave.


Nellie Bly is releasing every Friday from October 2nd to 30th, with the first two episodes completely free and unlocked. To play, get Zombies, Run! for free on iPhone and Android.

Visit The City of the Future

Amid the zombie apocalypse, one Scottish city has mysteriously survived behind its high walls: New Oban, the “City of the Future”. Before you embark on your journey there for Die Rise, this year’s Halloween Virtual Race, find out what’s really happening in the New Oban City website!

Pixel art of a bullet train arriving at a futuristic city

There’s everything from the pre-apocalypse Why Choose New Oban? to the more up-to-date Community News and even the Redwood Heights Lifestyle Magazine!

The New Oban website is rendered in glorious pixel art (there’s a reason!) but we’ve also prepared a more readable version with all the same content.

And there’s more!

Check out Missions > Die Rise in the app for briefing letters from Sam and Janine – then sign up to VIP to enter Die Rise and two more Virtual Races launching in the next year plus instant access to ten past Virtual Races!

Which Phones are Best for Zombies, Run!: 2020 Edition

iPhone 7 Plus and Nokia 7.1 running Zombies, Run! on a table

You don’t need an expensive phone to play Zombies, Run!, but to get the very best running experience, here’s what you should keep in mind when choosing your next phone!

iPhone

This is easy: any iPhone that runs iOS 14 will work perfectly fine with Zombies, Run! – that means everything from the iPhone 6s and iPhone SE (1st generation) onwards. There are usually good deals on used and refurbished iPhones – we’d recommend the iPhone 8 and above.

Four iPhone SEs in a row

If you want a new phone and you’re on a budget, the iPhone SE 2nd generation ($399 USD/£419) is a great choice, since it has a fast processor and will get iOS updates for years to come!

Android

There’s just one rule: Buy an Android phone that doesn’t forcibly shut down apps in the background. This means Google, Nokia, and Sony phones.

Nokia 5.3 and Google Pixel 4a

If you’re on a budget, consider the Nokia 5.3 ($199 USD/£149). It’s guaranteed to support Android 11, which means it’ll have all the latest OS features and improvements, and it’s a solid all-round device with a decent processor and good battery.

If you can afford a little more, the Google Pixel 4a ($349 USD/£349) is a fantastic deal – it supports Android 11 and should be supported up to Android 13, plus it has a fast processor.

Both phones are likely to be discounted towards the end of this year, so keep your eyes out for good deals!

Why can’t I buy a Samsung/Huawei/OnePlus/Xiaomi/etc.?

Phone manufacturers like Samsung and Huawei prefer to extend battery life over proper functionality of your apps. They do this by aggressively shutting down or suspending apps as soon as they’re not on your screen – like when you switch to another app or lock your phone. This can also affect GPS tracking.

This does save battery, especially since there are badly-behaved apps that chew up battery in the background – but it stops apps like Zombies, Run! (and other running apps, alarm apps, navigation apps, etc.) from working properly. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do to prevent this – and believe us, we’ve tried!

Usually you can change the battery management settings so that Zombies, Run! is permitted to run in the background, but:

  • Often you have to change multiple settings
  • These settings can change or even be reset when your phone OS is updated
  • Sometimes these settings are just ignored anyway

It’s absolutely possible for Zombies, Run! to work well on almost every phone, even on Samsung, Huawei, and OnePlus. It’s just more annoying to set up than it should be, which is why we recommend Google and Nokia phones for the easiest experience.

Die Rise is Open for Entry!

The City of the Future is about to become history in our Halloween 2020 Virtual Race, Die Rise!

A tower block under siege. A hostile police force on the streets. A race against time to save the world. Welcome to New Oban, Runner 5 – and watch your step. If you fall, it’s a long way down…

To get your briefing from Janine and follow the path to New Oban, open Die Rise in Zombies, Run!

Training Missions start from 7th October, and the Race from 22nd October.

How to Enter

It’s simple: become a Zombies, Run! VIP member! You’ll get access to all ten existing Virtual Races plus three Virtual Races launching in the 12 months! VIP membership is only $89.99 USD/year and includes everything in Abel Runner’s Club, plus amazing benefits including a 20% discount in our official shop.

To join or upgrade to VIP, just tap Die Rise > Enter with VIP

Die Rise continues the epic story that began in our Train to Oban Virtual Race, available to all VIP members!

Exclusive Merch

Join the New Oban Resistance with our brand-new Die Rise merch collection, including shortsleeve and longsleeve tech shirts, tech tank tops, cotton tees, hoodies, movie-style posters, tote bags, and our all-new headband!

Pride of place goes to our special Souvenir Pack with:

  • A gorgeous Finisher’s Medal
  • Finisher’s Certificate
  • Briefing card
  • Race bib
  • All-new Runner 5 headband!

What better way to commemorate your trip to the City of the Future?

VIP Keeps Getting Better

Spotted the sting at the end of our Die Rise Trailer? That’s right – your favourite Radio Abel hosts will be returning in our new Early 2021 Virtual Race, Jack and Eugene’s World Tour!

We can’t wait to share more with you, but here’s one detail you’ll like: Jack and Eugene’s World Tour is in addition to our usual Spring and Halloween Virtual Races, which means this will be the first time we have three virtual races in a single year. So if you become a VIP member to play Die Rise, you’ll get our Early 2021 and Spring 2021 races as well!

But there’s more: all VIP members can get a 20% discount on everything in our official shop, including Virtual Race gear! Visit your ZombieLink account to get your exclusive discount code.

ZR9 is Out Now!

ZR9 is here! We can’t wait to tell you about everything we’re bringing you this year, from our new Virtual Races feature and our continuing Home Front workouts, to all our incredible New Adventures!

But first, check out our awesome launch trailer:

The Home Front

When gyms closed around the world, we wanted to help you keep moving wherever you were. That’s why we introduced our first-ever set of home workouts in The Home Front, for people of all abilities.

Screenshots of The Home Front missions and series homepage
The Home Front screenshots

The Home Front has also been our way to continue the main Zombies, Run! story with the characters you know and love, from Sam and Janine to Jody and Phil and Peter. We’ve been delighted by how much fun it’s been to write and produce these workouts, which are recorded and edited completely remotely. It’s not always been easy, but it’s worth it, especially when we hear how much the workouts have meant to players:

I have really appreciated having The Home Front as I am currently deployed with the national guard within my state to help monitor COVID-19. It gives me a sense of normalcy and motivation to work out. So in a few short words, thank you and please keep the story going. – Dawn Alexander

and

I just wanted to say thank you for putting together The Home Front. My roommate and I are both immunocompromised and aren’t leaving the apartment for any reason, so these missions have been a lifesaver.

The workouts are great, the dance breaks are fun, and hearing all of the actors talking about isolation and fear while staying hopeful and connected keeps me thinking positive. – Casey S.

At first, we only planned to create ten workouts, but this week we released Mission 14 – and today we’re announcing The Home Front story will be continuing through this year, with plans for over 20 missions in total, and counting!

Even better, The Home Front workouts will continue to be ad-free and fully unlocked for all players. We’ve never done this for any other mode before and we hope this will help even more people have fun while keeping physically and mentally fit!

All 10 Virtual Races Now Available!

When we started our Virtual Race series in 2015, we had no idea how popular they’d be, and how far we could take the concept. Since then, our epic 5K/10K races have added training missions, secret websites, puzzle books, ID cards, exclusive merch, and even minigames!

We’ve loved the movie-style stories we could tell, from rescuing a train trapped in the Channel Tunnel with the European Rescue Force, to retrieving vital technology from the deadly Tomorrow Island.

So it’s no surprise that the millions of runners who’ve joined since 2015 have wanted to play our past races! And in ZR9, that’s finally possible through our new Virtual Races feature.

For the first time, you can get instant digital access to all ten of our Virtual Races from inside Zombies, Run! And these races aren’t just missions – they come with a wealth of story extras like emails, websites, leaflets, videos, so you’re getting the full Virtual Race experience.

All the races are set during the early days of the apocalypse, so they’re tailor-made for all Runners 5 and contain no spoilers for the main Zombies, Run! story! And for dedicated runners, we’ll have special Souvenir Packs as an optional purchase, with a themed finisher’s medal and certificate, and exclusive physical race extras! More on that soon…

But how do you get digital access to the Virtual Races? Just become a VIP member!

VIP Membership

This is our new highest membership tier and it includes:

  • All the benefits of Abel Runner’s Club (500+ unlocked missions, Custom Zombie Chases, Interval Training, Airdrop Mode, plus full access to two whole extra fitness games: ZR 5K Training and The Walk)
  • 10 past Virtual Races, compromising 28 epic missions set during the early days of the apocalypse – newly enhanced with in-app digital story extras!
  • 2+ new Virtual Races every year
  • Invitation to our private Rofflenet forum
  • Brand new “Evergreen Leaderboards” for every past and future Virtual Race (coming later this year)
  • Exclusive benefits including merchandise discounts (coming later this year)

At $89.99 USD/year (that’s just $7.50/month!), we think VIP Membership is great value – especially since it includes everything in Abel Runner’s Club ($34.99/year). And we’re working on making it even better value in the coming months and years.

For all the answers about VIP Membership and Virtual Races, check out our FAQ at the end of this post!

New Adventures

Screenshots of Dinosaur Dash, Rule Britannia, and the list of all New Adventures
New Adventures screenshots

Alongside The Home Front, we have a wealth of incredible new stories coming this year. These are just some of the New Adventures we’re launching:

  • Dinosaur Dash (out now) by Andrea Phillips. Join a top secret research expedition and encounter the last of the dinosaurs!
Two people running in a cross-hatch drawing of Victorian London
A Study in Ichor series banner
  • A Study in Ichor by Mary Goodden and Naomi Alderman. An unfortunate heir, an industrialist bent on changing the world, and a menace stalking the streets of Victorian London! Can you stop it before it’s too late? Starting July 20th, featuring the main Zombies, Run! cast!
A glitchy image of a person wearing headphones with a mirror image facing away
Between The Lines series banner
  • Between The Lines by Tom Crowley. A man with mysterious motives, a long abandoned house and a secret that bled into the ground itself. Will you discover the truth in this mystery/horror story?
  • Wreck Runner by Mur Lafferty and Alasdair Stuart. Join Captain Duffy and the crew of the SolFleet vessel Juno as you salvage space wrecks and rescue survivors! Coming August 2020
  • Grand Canyon by Alex Acks. Explore the length of the Grand Canyon, and discover the secrets of its history. Coming August 2020.
  • Nellie Bly by Jessica Wright Buha. Join the adventurous journalist Nellie Bly as she races to travel around the world in 72 days!
Two people leaning against each other and smiling
Matchmaker series banner
  • Matchmaker by Emily Short. Can a matchmaking service using all the latest tech really find a perfect match?
  • Little Red by Corvyn Appleby. Dare you go into the woods at night? You’re a mercenary hired to protect one small girl visiting a relative, but there’s a monster on the loose, and grandmother’s house is so very far away…
  • The Signals’ War by Avin Shah. In the First World War, join Sapper Five through their assignments across East Africa, Turkmenistan, and all the way to Archangel in the far north of Russia. The messages you carry are vital and the situation is dire…

And believe it or not, we have even more New Adventures coming this year that we’ll be announcing closer to the time, so keep your eyes peeled!

For full access to every single one of these New Adventures as soon as they launch, make sure you join the Abel Runner’s Club!

Later This Year…

Though Six to Start is a fully remote company, we’re a small team and we’ve still been impacted by the lockdowns. But we’re committed to keep improving Zombies, Run!, and here are just a few of the features we’re working on that’ll be launching later this year:

  • A dedicated Home Workout mode to enhance The Home Front
  • Big improvements for Apple Watch
  • Our Halloween Virtual Race: DIE RISE!
  • Virtual Race “Evergreen Leaderboards”
  • And much, much more…

VIP & Virtual Races FAQ

What if I’m already an Abel Runner’s Club member?

You can upgrade directly in the app in More > Membership! Your new VIP subscription will begin immediately and you’ll automatically be reimbursed for any unused time on your existing subscription.

I’ve already entered a past Virtual Race, do I keep my access?

Great news: yes!

Will there be other ways to enter future Virtual Races?

We don’t have anything to announce on this yet, but we’re always evaluating new ideas!

Will there still be medal packs and add-ons available for Virtual Races? 

Yes! VIP membership gives you digital entry to the race. We’ll have special Souvenir Packs as an optional purchase, with a themed finisher’s medal and certificate, and exclusive physical race extras! We’ll also have the same great T-shirts and tech tanks for races. VIP members will receive an exclusive discount to use on our official store for all merch including Virtual Race gear, which we’ll give more details on soon.

If I don’t subscribe to VIP will I lose my Rofflenet access?

No. If you already have access to Rofflenet you will not lose it if you don’t subscribe to the VIP Membership.

If I already have run past virtual races will I lose access to these in the app?

No, if you have paid for any previous virtual races you’ll always have access to these in the app.

Does ZR9 mean Season 9 is coming soon?

ZR9 is the latest version of the app, it does not refer to Season 9. When we wrote the scripts for Season 9, we planned for them to be recorded with multiple actors in the same room for extended periods of time. Due to COVID-19 restrictions still in place in the UK, we can’t do that safely. We’re constantly reviewing the guidelines and will get back in the studio as soon as it is 100% safe for our actors and staff to do so.

If I don’t subscribe to VIP can I still buy new or old Virtual Races individually?

Right now, all our races are available to VIP members. We don’t have anything to announce right now about how race entry will work in the future, but we are reading all of your feedback and we’re always considering changes and new options.