Matt’s Zombie Apocalypse Squad

It’s a discussion that everyone must have at some point in their lives, one that has haunted mankind for years. Who would you have on your zombie apocalypse survival squad?

We’re no strangers to this question here at Six to Start – after all, we spend a pretty big chunk of our time considering the undead and making them come to life in Zombies, Run!. And now we set out to answer that most pressing of questions as we ask the team, which Zombies, Run! characters would you choose to support you in the zombie apocalypse?

A different kind of “Puff, Puff, Pass”.CC-BY wheatfields

I am under absolutely no illusions about my survivability in the apocalypse. I’m asthmatic, hard of hearing and generally cowardly. So my priorities are a little different from everyone else’s: I want to pick the five folks with whom I will have the most fun before the inevitable happens. This is my Zombie Apocalypse Party Squad.

First up, unsurprisingly, is Mr Party himself Jack Holden. He began the apocalypse at a rave, and I’m counting on him to help me get my post-apocalyptic party started. A keen musical ear and an… idiosyncratic dancing style mean Jack’s going to be my main man on the dance floor.

No party is complete without supplies and no-one’s better equipped to get them than Amelia Spens. Whatever we need, she’s sure to be able to get her hands on it, and she’s well known for her own decadent tastes. So long as we all agree to let her manage the guest list, we should be well taken care of.

“No, Jack, we are not doing the Monster Mash again”. Photo by Ardian Lumi

At every great party, there’s a moment where you see through the crowd someone you didn’t think would turn up and are greeted with the biggest hug ever and it makes your night. I’m inviting Sam Yao for just that purpose.

No-one can go hard all night, so it’s always good to have some folk around who you can rely on for fascinating conversation while you catch your breath. It’s also nice to have someone there to reassure you that your dancing looks as good as you think it does. Who better to hold down both roles than Dr Lobatse? No matter what point the evening gets to, she’d make it better with a story from her past. I really do think she’s the most interesting person in the world.

And finally, the most crucial person for a good party is the friend who’s not only a metric tonne of fun while the music’s playing, but who’ll help you do the dishes in the morning while you pick over the previous night’s events. It’s a huge boon if they also make a lovely cup of tea. Jody Marsh, come on down!

Who’d be in your Abel Apocalypse Party Squad? Tell us in the comments!

New Adventures: Lewis and Clark

In our very first New Adventure for Zombies, Run!, you’re travelling back to 1804 to accompany Lewis & Clark on the Corps of Discovery Expedition from Pittsburgh, PA. all the way to the Pacific coast – that’s 3,700 miles!. You’ll be guided through the route by your personal automated travel companion who’ll also make sure you don’t get lost in time!

Sadly, we can’t actually send you back in time (yet!), but we hope that our New Adventure will give you a vivid glimpse of history. We’ve spoken with Alex Acks, the writer of the Lewis & Clark story, about their experience of researching and writing the race!

What made you decide on the Lewis & Clark expedition as the basis for a race?

I was pitching ideas for historical journeys, which are a bit harder to come by than you might think. Or more, ones that are famous enough to be recognizable and yet self-contained enough to be made into a run aren’t that common. Lewis & Clark is one I hit on because it met those criteria, and because I knew just enough about it to know it would be exciting before I started more in-depth research.

I think it was also on my mind because I’d recently visited my parents in Boise, and there’s a statue in the Idaho Botanical Gardens of Sacagawea, with a bunch of plants that she showed to Lewis planted around it. So there was an opportunity to look at a historical expedition with a female member!

The race takes the form of a time-travel tour, with your very own guide. What made you choose this framing device, rather than doing a straight run-down of the events?

The journey is so long in both distance and time that I wanted a device that would allow us to skip to the interesting bits, so to speak. Because a lot of it was a day to day slog of men walking long distances and eating appalling amounts of boiled meat.

Which was the most fun part to write?

The bit in Montana, which may not be the most exciting or historically significant… but to me, it was an opportunity to try to describe what the mountain west is like to people who have never seen it.

Montana, scenery, lewis and clark, discovery crops expedition, expedition
unsplash-logoMike Petrucci

What was the most interesting thing you found out while researching the race?

In Stephen E. Ambrose’s book UNDAUNTED COURAGE, he described how Lewis and Clark were basically acting as arms dealers to the Native Americans too. While they didn’t actually trade many guns – they couldn’t, because they needed them for their own party to hunt – they were out there showing off American weapons technology to people who hadn’t seen it yet. And then of course, the big sales pitch was effectively, “we’ll sell you all these super awesome guns, but you’d better only use them to hunt animals – no shooting the other Native Americans!” Which I actually found really funny in a horrible way, because boy have things not changed.

Anything you would have loved to include but had time limits?

I really wish I could have gotten more in there about the part of the mission that was diplomacy with the Native Americans. There were a lot of little incidents, both hostile and not that would have added dimension.

Also, you’ll notice that this is only half the journey. After the winter, the party had to turn around and go all the way back, and there are definitely some interesting stories as well. Though part of why I cut it off at the arrival to the Pacific is that the return journey has a real downer of an ending: after his triumphant return, Lewis basically squanders all of the goodwill he’s earned, does a terrible job of being the governor of all the new territory, and then shoots himself.

The enamel race pin, designed by Kascha Sweeney. Buy it in the Lewis & Clark race pack for just $25!

How did you go about planning and outlining the race script?

I looked at a lot of timelines and maps of the journey that were already written, and then tried to match up the major points with interesting stories that could go with them… like the arrival in Montana coinciding with them encountering their first grizzly bear.

Is there anything you hope people take away from running it?

Something that I’m not confident I did the best job with–the fact that viewed from one side, this was a massive journey into an unknown continent… but the continent wasn’t really unknown. There were lots of people living there already, who obviously knew their land well and were often extremely welcoming toward a nation that was set to treat them very poorly in short order.

So there’s a tension between this exciting, cool journey where people basically walked across the really wide bit of America, which is an enormous undertaking by any standard… and just the very idea that the purpose was to map “purchased” land that didn’t actually belong to the people who had sold it.

Also, on a lighter note, America is ridiculously big and mountains make everything difficult.


The Lewis and Clarke race is available in the New Adventures tab of the Zombies, Run! app now! Thank you very much to Alex Acks for talking with me about the race. You can find them at https://katsudon.net/

Ciaran’s Zombie Apocalypse Squad

It’s a discussion that everyone must have at some point in their lives, one that has haunted mankind for years. Who would you have on your zombie apocalypse survival squad?

We’re no strangers to this question here at Six to Start – after all, we spend a pretty big chunk of our time considering the undead and making them come to life in Zombies, Run!. And now we set out to answer that most pressing of questions as we ask the team, which Zombies, Run! characters would you choose to support you in the zombie apocalypse?

First up in my team is Janine de Luca. A genius electrician, survivalist, and spy, with a few tricks up her sleeve, Janine has a whole load of practical skills which would be invaluable in the apocalypse. Beyond that, she’s level-headed enough to keep her cool even in the most stressful of situations.

Photo by Nicolas Thomas on Unsplash

A possibly controversial choice, but next up is Amelia Spens. Sure, you’d have to keep an eye on her every second of the day and be thinking three steps ahead to stop her from double crossing you, but the zombie apocalypse is about more than fighting the undead – it’s about diplomacy. And knowing people. And rooting out the dark secrets of your enemies to ensure your own survival. Something that Amelia is a master of.

Peter Necropolis/Lynne is my next choice. He’s not the smoothest of guys, and his snark can get a bit exhausting, but who doesn’t want a man who is immune to zombies and semi-immortal on your apocalypse team? It’s like turning down Captain America for the Avengers!

No apocalypse squad would be complete without a medic. And for me, that has to be Doctor Kefilwe Lobatse. Calm and self-assured, Lobatse has the perfect bedside manner, and has worked in the worst sorts of situations – and that was before the zombies arrived! It’s easy to become a monster of the non-undead kind in the apocalypse, but Lobatse’s strong sense of justice will help to keep you on the right path.

Last, but not least, is Sam Yao. Every apocalypse squad needs a radio operator, and every runner needs a Sam Yao to guide them back to that red light on the tower back at base. His upbeat attitude and light-hearted chatter is the perfect balance to Janine’s severe demeanour. Even in the darkest of times, you need to discuss the important things in life – like your favourite pre-apocalypse TV shows.

radio tower with red light
photo by Steve Halama


What’s on Adrian’s playlist?

Last month we checked out Ciaran’s playlist – now it’s Adrian’s turn!

Adrian Hon – CEO and Co-creator

So I’m going to share the secret behind my music playlists for races! It’s a very reliable and predictable formula: I always start with an up-tempo song that gets me excited but isn’t too fast, because let’s face it – you can’t actually run that quickly when you’re stuck in the pack. Some good starting songs:

  • Come On! Feel The Illinoise! by Sufjan Stevens:
  • At Least it Was Here (“Community” Main Title) by The 88
  • A Thief’s End (Uncharted 4) by Henry Jackman

Once the pack starts to thin out, I want a few songs that’ll settle me into a nice, solid, bouncy rhythm – again, not too fast, but not too slow. If I’m doing a half marathon, I might have 5-10 songs along these lines:

  • Lose Yourself to Dance by Daft Punk
  • Extreme Ways by Moby
  • Lost Coastlines by Okkervil River
  • Feel the Lightning by Dan Deacon

Now we’re around halfway through the race and it’s time for me to put on a burst of speed (as Sam would say)! Usually, other runners are starting to flag at this point, so it’s really satisfying to do a few sprints and overtake people. Fast, short, intense pop songs and movie soundtracks that I can best describe as “determined” are what’s necessary. Stuff that makes you feel like a hero:

  • Spider-Man Loves You by Daniel Pemberton
  • I Have to Try (The Flash) by Blake Neely
  • Brother’s Keeper (Uncharted 4) by Henry Jackman
  • My Shot (Hamilton) by Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • Portions for Foxes by Rilo Kiley

In a 5K or 10K race, I’ll usually be close to the end and I can round out my playlist with some longer, fun songs. In a half-marathon, things get trickier since I find it pretty easy to lose steam here. Here’s some great songs that keep my spirits up as I get closer to the finishing line:

  • Tron Legacy (End Titles) by Daft Punk
  • End Titles (Moulin Rouge) by Craig Armstrong
  • Moog Necklace (Ocean’s 8) by Daniel Pemberton
  • It’ll Get You There by Rilo Kiley
  • Despair by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yep, there’s a lot of movie-closing soundtracks there! These work really well because they’re longer and reprise all the main themes in the movie in a satisfying and, yes, distracting way.

I rotate between five or six different race playlists for 5Ks, 10Ks and half-marathons, and of course I always love adding new songs. The only problem is that I tend to listen to my favorite songs to destruction, so I always need a new supply!


What’s on my playlist? – Ciaran

Music can play a huge role in the Zombies, Run! experience. We’ve all had times when a song has perfectly matched up with a bit of the story – and had shuffle throw up that rogue Monty Python track in the middle of a serious moment! Music can heighten emotions, especially when you’re exercising, and with so many emotionally charged missions in Zombies, Run!, it makes the choice of music pretty important!

Here, we talk to some of the people behind Zombies, Run! to find out what’s on their playlist!

Ciaran Roberts – QA and Support

My music taste is pretty eclectic (and I am always several years behind the curve when it comes to picking up new stuff). I have one big playlist with about a hundred songs on it that I just keep adding to as I find things I like. I’m a bit of a magpie! This includes everything from Fall Out Boy to Shakespeare’s Sister, a couple of anime intros and that one track I got for free from iTunes and really liked. I’ve currently been introduced to a band called Battle Tapes because of their song Belgrade, so I’m working my way through their back catalogue.

One of my favourite tracks to run to is Laura Palmer by Bastille. It really makes me feel like I’m having an epic moment when it comes on during a mission, especially if a zombie chase is involved. On the other hand, there are a couple of my favourite songs I’ve had to kick off the running rotation because the beat leads to me tripping over my own feet!

I’ve had a couple of moments of real serendipity when it comes to music, although they weren’t necessarily good for my pace. One of them was during the mission ‘Actual Cannibal Rescue Mission’ when Actual Cannibal Shia LeBeouf started playing. It did throw me a bit off my stride though. Hard as it is to run while crying, running while giggling is equally difficult!

The other was a real tear jerking experience, when Everybody Hurts by REM came up during that mission in Season 4. Sometimes my playlist just doesn’t want me to be able to keep running!