Training Mission 1 Released!

You’ve been all a-tingle ever since you got the flyer: this is your only chance to catch the Runaway Funfair. Shake off the zombies, and ignore the sounds of clownish cackling ringing in your ears –

– it’s time to ride your First Training Mission for the Halloween 2019 Virtual Race!

New Adventures: Volcano Race

Our latest New Adventure – Volcano Race – is available to download in-app now!

A routine check of equipment at Mt. Archie turns dangerous when the volcano you’ve been monitoring erupts, leads to a thrilling race to escape the effects! Can you outrun lava flows, mudslides, and choking ash and make it to safety in time?

Abel Runner’s Club members can play them immediately, and Free Members can use their free weekly unlock to gain access.

Meet the Fans: Scorriganworks

Working on Zombies, Run! we’re lucky to have a very dedicated, creative and overall lovely fanbase. We try to celebrate that whenever we can, so we’ve been talking to some of our fans and would now like to introduce another of our fan interviews!

Today we talk with Scorriganworks about finding Zombies, Run!, favourite missions, and tips for city running!

The thing about zombies, ya gotta run away from them!
Photo by Linh Nguyen on Unsplash

What got you into Zombies, Run! In the first place?

I wanted something to help me with doing regular workouts and the story idea appealed to me. While I’m not particularly a fan of zombie stories because they were everywhere in the 2000s (and continue to be popular!), Zombies, Run! was appealing because it had a story that distracted me from running itself, and also interacted with me while I ran. 

I picked up the app very early, back in January 2013, and I’ve been using it since then. I hadn’t heard anything about the app before then, but I saw it on sale. The thing about zombies is ya gotta run from them!

What is your favourite mission and why?

I’m sure everyone’s gonna say A Voice in the Dark, or missions which feature Runner 10’s story, but I think that the best single mission is in Season 2. It’s Mission 30: Panic. You’ve been with the Abel Township gang for just long enough to feel like you really know all of them well, and then people — not zombies, but people with free will — come into your base and mess up all your stuff! They wreck Jody’s knitting! It really earns how much it plays with your emotions, because the world feels truly lived in. It’s also a good standalone mission.

Ever noticed that those zombies love traffic lights?
Photo by Yiran Li on Unsplash

What are you top running tips?

As primarily a city runner, I have a few running rules I abide by:

  • You have got to be able to hear what’s around you! Only wear one ear bud if you need to.
  • If the intersection lights change to red, be ready to change your route and turn down a connecting street because a zombie chase will inevitably begin!
  • Always check that no cars are coming towards you before crossing the street!

(Editor: We have definitely noticed that zombies seem to love traffic crossings and have a real eye for when they change to red!)

What is your zombie apocalypse plan?

My apocalypse plan is to find somewhere safe to hole up on high ground. Then I’ll hit up a library or bookstore for some basic gardening or car repair books and settle in. Why, do you know a place with an opening?

(Editor: The Six to Start bunker is very well provisioned, I have to say)

The entrance to the secret Six to Start zombie apocalypse bunker
Photo by sergio souza on Unsplash

And how do you think you’d fare during the zombie apocalypse? Obviously you definitely have the cardio part down!

I do not flatter myself that I would survive a zombie apocalypse. The main thing I worry about is losing my glasses like Velma from Scooby Doo!

What is your favourite music to run to?

My playlist hasn’t changed much in a really long time. I’m not very scientific about my music; I just have a bunch of songs that I like on shuffle.

Thank you so much for talking with us! You can find Scorrigan as a regular contributor on Rofflenet and Tumblr!

Adrian’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?

The zombie apocalypse is no laughing matter, which is why I’m starting with Jamie Skeet. As a former firefighter, Jamie will have no problem navigating the ruins of civilization, and his no-nonsense manner means he’ll get the job done, no matter what. Even better, he’s good with kids!  

Maxine Myers has to be part of any squad. You’ve got to have a doctor, and I can’t think of anyone who’s smarter, friendlier, or more skilled. Maxine used to be a geneticist, and while my biosciences are a bit rusty these days, I think we could make a great research team.

Me selling Margaret Atwood an official Runner 5 T-shirt!

So far I’ve just gone with practical picks, but you need to take care of the spirit as well as the flesh. And who better to do that than a master storyteller like Margaret Atwood – someone who can remind us why we fight on, why life is worth living, and why The Arrogant Worms is the best.

CC-BY-2.0 ajmexico

OK – let’s stipulate that I love Sam. Who doesn’t love Sam? And while I’m not going to question his supremacy as the best operator in the apocalypse, there’s only so much one man can do. Sure, the Automated Operator System is a bit rickety, and yes, maybe it’s a little bit dangerous, but that just means there’s plenty of room for improvement. A bit of work and we’ll have it helping hundreds of runners simultaneously!

… and who better to do that work than Chris McShell, zombie expert, master tactician, and stone-cold scientist? He’s not a barrel of laughs, but Chris is the person I’d want by my side if I had a horde of zombies on my heels and we needed to somehow steer them into an area just in between the two of us…

Anatomy of a Milestone Email

You’ve just arrived home after a hard run, evading the hordes of the undead and collecting vital supplies for Abel Township. There, in your inbox, is an email from Sam, congratulating you on a run well done!

Milestone emails are one of our favourite things to create for Zombies, Run! No matter how your mission went, it’s always nice to get home and find a bit of praise and encouragement. Sadly, we don’t really have a Sam Yao around to write those messages for us (I know! We’re sad about that too!), but we have talked to our super talented artist, Kas Sweeney, who’s given us an insight into how she goes about creating our milestone emails.

“Putting together our milestone emails is honestly one of my favourite things to do for the game- I love the thought of Runner Five receiving these fun messages from the characters of Abel Township celebrating whatever amazing accomplishment they’ve achieved after a run, or chatting about the events of the most recent episode.

My process for putting these together is pretty straight forward! I’ll usually start by reading through the scripts of the relevant season, and picking out certain events that might be fun to have a character react to in their milestone email to Runner Five. Once I’ve figured out which story beats I’d like to hit and the tone I’d like to go for, I’ll then decide on which character is writing this message to Runner Five, as obviously we want to make sure the character is actually around for the events of the story! Relistening to the performances of these episodes is a great way of helping me figure out a character’s voice, and what they might be going through. I’ll then draft a letter in the voice of the character in question, before sending it off for approval by the writers. I really enjoy writing Sam, and I’ll leap at any chance to write a milestone from Simon given he’s my favourite of all time and I’m incredibly predictable.

Once we’ve received the thumbs up, I’ll move onto design. The look of these milestone emails is usually informed by two things: which character is sending the message, and in what context the message is being received. For instance, a letter from Sam hastily scrawled on a crumpled up piece of notebook paper and left on Runner Five’s cot is probably going to look a little different to an official letter from Major De Santa! It can be a fun challenge figuring out other ways of communicating a character’s personality through something other than the contents of their message. In order to highlight the difference between characters, I have specific fonts for each character’s handwriting, as well as different types of paper these characters might have access to. If the letter mentions an item the sender is leaving for Runner Five (like this pillow left by Runner Seven,) we’ll include an illustration of that item.

It’s been really fun getting the opportunity to play with these characters that I love so much, and do a little writing from their points of view. It always makes me really happy to see people posting their milestone emails on social media, and how tickled they are!”


Racelink Shutdown

Dear Runner,

We have sad news: we will be closing down Racelink this December. We’re incredibly proud of the virtual races we’ve created ourselves and run on behalf of charities like the British Science Association, Cancer Research UK, and Fight for Sight.

Thousands of you ran across the solar system in 10K and escaped from terrifying dinosaurs, getting fit and raising money for good causes. But sadly, as a business, Racelink hasn’t performed as well as we had hoped.

Our first step will be close entries to all Racelink events on Tuesday 3rd September – so if you’ve been waiting for the right moment to enter our Olympus Mons or buy a Volcano Race T-shirt, now’s your time.

We’ll then fully close down the Racelink and app on Tuesday 10th December, after which point it will no longer be possible to run Racelink events. All entrants to the Grand Canyon, Dino Dash, Volcano Race, and Olympus Mons races will be able to download the race audio.

We’ve really appreciated the chance to share our races with you, and we’re not giving up on the idea of combining storytelling and running! The spirit of Racelink will live on in our sister app Zombies, Run! as New Adventures, which will include selected Racelink events, along with brand new (non-zombie!) stories in the coming months and years.

Thanks for running with us,

The Racelink Team

Meet The Fans: The Cagg

Working on Zombies, Run! we’re lucky to have a very dedicated, creative and overall lovely fanbase. We try to celebrate that whenever we can, so we’ve been talking to some of our fans. In the second of our fan interviews, we talk to prolific Rofflenet user, Steve C (otherwise known as The Cagg), about dream races and apocalypse plans!

The Mark of Five

What got you into Zombies, Run!?

I was 39 years old and more than a little overweight. Toward the end of the summer my young son developed an understanding of how to pedal a bicycle. At the time I wasn’t able to run more than one city block without stopping or getting winded. I realized that the little guy would likely want to learn how to ride a two wheeled bike in the spring, and that it would be my job to teach him and that this would involve quite a bit of running. 

I had heard about the app several years prior and had downloaded it but it sat on my phone unused for a very long time. The 5k training version of the app is where I started. I don’t think I would have known where to begin if not for the coaching provided there. I wanted to quit about a month in, and that’s where the real magic of Zombies, Run kept me moving. In the simplest terms, I couldn’t stop because I wanted to know how the story in the 8 week program ended. 

I started the standard or main version of the app shortly after, signed up for a virtual race, and got to meet some very interesting people in real life along the way. 

The boy learned to ride his bike in 8 days but I’m still running more than three years later. To date I’ve run four half marathons, a feat that I wouldn’t have thought possible at one point. This fall will mark my fourth year running for Abel Township. My wife and son now run with me. She’s using Zombies, Run too. I’m looking toward hopefully running the NYC Marathon in 2020. 

Could you tell us about your favourite place to run?

I live in a heavily urban part of the world so there are a multitude of parks and landmarks. My favorite spot is probably Flushing Meadows Corona Park which is fairly near my home. It was the site of two twentieth century World’s Fairs (1939 and 1964). You’d probably recognise the Unisphere globe from Men in Black. I really do like to run out in the woods when I can but I rarely get the opportunity lately.

The Unisphere Globe

That sounds like a great place to run! If you could run a race anywhere in the world  though, where would it be?

I’ve had the privilege of running some interesting races in the U.S. including obstacle courses, and one that takes place on an abandoned highway involving two long and extremely dark tunnels (head lamp required). 

There’s a race in Louisiana I’d like to run where the finisher medal is a full sized machete. Disney looks like a lot of fun. The Great Wall Marathon would be incredible (and would likely kill me) as would just about any race in Australia. I’ve wanted to see that land for a long time. 

If I had to choose one place in the world it would probably be a race that happens in Antarctica. It’s a location that few people ever get to see. Just reaching and standing on the continent would be an adventure, let alone completing a race there!

What is your top running tip?

Don’t look for something to motivate you. On days when you don’t want to run but you really should, accept that you have no motivation and go anyway.

Motivation

What would you job at Abel Township be?

In real life I’m trained as a paramedic so I’d likely be helping the docs out in the clinic or running to nearby townships and settlements to reach places where you wouldn’t want to risk the docs.

And do you have your own Zombie Apocalypse plan?

This is a topic my friends and I have mulled over several times, usually in the evening over backyard barbecue or during some other geeky activity. The truth is that I work in emergency services in one of the largest cities in the world. If a zombie outbreak ever happens, and it’s not controlled quickly, I’d probably get a front row seat. Given the population density I think it’s likely that I won’t be one of the lucky few that make it out alive, although Runner Five has beaten the odds before.

A very familiar shirt there!

What’s your favourite music to run to?

I usually use the internal player with a list of hard rock music. Lately I’m using the companion app to my satellite radio subscription which has several “workout” channels.

The Cagg’s playlist!

Thank you so much for talking with us! You can find Steve as a regular contributor on Rofflenet!

A Tourist’s Guide to Abel

The zombie apocalypse isn’t always filled with cheer; there’s the looming threat of the hungry undead, mad scientists vying to ‘fix’ everything, and the loss of all the things we take for granted – like clean running water and a supermarket stocked with as many Curly Wurlys as we can stomach.

But not everything is bleak! Today we take a look at some of Abel Township’s most entertaining features!

Tequila Shack

The Tequila Shack. Come and enjoy a shot of Pepe’s finest British tequila. Shame lemons are in short supply!

With its twinkling fairy lights salvaged from a Christmas shop and the giant tequila bottle sculpture stood outside, the Tequila Shack is definitely Abel’s most unique building. It’s full of the chatter of living humans, rather the moans of the zombie hordes, and someone has even found a game of Twister to liven things up. Next to the drab housing blocks, the Tequila Shack is a glowing point of welcoming light.

The Tequila Shack was introduced in Season 2 Side Mission 2 ‘Headcount’, where you head out with Janine to attempt a census of the post-apocalyptic world, with varying degrees of success.

Kitten Pen

It’s like a cat cafe, except without the coffee and cake and relative certainty that you’ll survive the night.

Cats: not only are they a pragmatically excellent choice for a post-apocalyptic companion, what with being able to devastate the soaring rat and mouse population, they’re also really cute. With Abel Township growing, it was inevitable that cats would show up sooner or later. Janine insists that it just makes sense to have them to protect the foodstores. Everyone else just likes the comfort of a familiar sight and the therapeutic qualities of stroking a cat are not to be dismissed.

The Kitten Pen was introduced in Season 3 Mission 11 ‘Stray Cat Strut’ where you accompany Zoe and Phil on a feline related adventure that turns up more information than expected.


Concert Area

It’s not exactly the O2 Arena, but it’s also not as expensive as the O2 Arena!

The Concert Area can’t really compare to somewhere like Wembley Arena, and after what happened there during the start of the apocalypse, no-one’s keen to replicate it. But you can always find someone there practising on a rescued instrument or performing an impromptu soliloquy. And who can forget Abel’s monthly slam poetry open-mic evening!

The Concert Area was introduced in Season 2 Side Mission 5 ‘Top 40’, where a hunt for CDs turns into a brush with stardom as you encounter a pop Diva and her moaning fans.

Rollercoaster Car

We’re thinking of doing an experimental Shakespeare performance using it. What if Richard the 3rd, but on a fairground ride?

A relic of a bygone age. While we might have joked about the queue to the biggest ride being full of zombies, that’s become a bit more literal since the apocalypse. A single car isn’t as impressive as an entire rollercoaster (and Janine won’t spare the supplies to build one for some reason), but it’s still become a bit of a tourist attraction at Abel. Sit back and stare up at the sky while imagining a death defying plunge towards the ground, and try not to think too hard about the younger residents looking at it like it’s a piece from a history museum.

The Rollercoaster Car was introduced in Season 3 Mission 60, where you stop a villain and need a quick escape.

Cultural Centre

It’s important to celebrate the things that make us different, especially when the zombies are all the same.

Now more than ever it’s important to remember where we came from. Sure, life has changed dramatically since the apocalypse, and we’re getting the impression that things won’t ever go back to the way they were. The Cultural Centre lets us remember the important things about life before the end. Be it a favourite recipe passed down through the generations, music, or a traditional outfit, you’ll find it here. There’s even a group planning Abel’s first Lion dance event!

The Culture Centre was introduced in Season 4 Mission 11, where you help Sam go shopping for some important items.

Meet The Fans: Emma St. John

Working on Zombies, Run! we’re lucky to have a very dedicated, creative and overall lovely fanbase. We try to celebrate that whenever we can, so we’ve been talking to some of our fans and would now like to introduce the first of our fan interviews!

Today we talk with Emma St. John about music, fanworks, and top tips for using Zombies, Run!

Some of Emma’s amazing Zombies, Run! fanart!

What got you into Zombies, Run!?

I actually got into ZR on the recommendation of a friend, about six years ago now. I was just about to finish up high school and the season for my sport of choice was ending, and I was looking for something to help keep me active. She suggested the app, and while at the time I was wary because I wasn’t super into zombie media, I gave it a shot.

I wound up loving it so much that I wound up going out on more and more runs more often, up to the point I was using it four times a week and getting into the ZR 5K trainer! It totally turned me from someone who always hated running to someone who seriously loved it.

You mentioned that you weren’t really a fan of zombie media. Do you think there’s something about ZR that makes it appealing, even to people who don’t like zombies?

I do think there’s something about ZR that makes it appealing to people who don’t/don’t usually like zombies – I do think there’s something very special about it. I mean, to start, I do think one of the things that helps it be more approachable that most other zombie media is the lack of visuals – there’s a slight level of disconnect from the elements of horror that are usually implemented in zombie media, because there’s no actual visual gore or blood with ZR – it’s all done through audio storytelling.

There’s several other aspects to it for me, but the biggest ones I’d say for sure are the stories and the way it’s written, and the characters. The story was absolutely what got me sucked in when I first started playing – I wanted to find out what happened next so badly it really motivated me to go out on that next run. The overall themes of hope and teamwork and unconventional skills being useful in the apocalypse is something that really appealed to me as well. And then the more I learned about and got to know the characters, the more I totally grew to adore them. They’re so diverse and inclusive, it really felt like there was someone for pretty much everyone to look up to/get attached to.

How do you prepare for a run? Do you have a special routine?

I wouldn’t say I have any sort of particular routine, not really. I try to make sure I run about three times a week, with a few extra walks sprinkled in. I usually get up, prepare myself an ice water for when I get back, feed my dog, and grab my gigantic armband for my phone and head out!

Part of Emma’s running route

What’s your favourite music to run to?

I definitely prefer energetic music – a good tempo keeps me moving. For every season I usually wind up building a new playlist to suit the tone of that season in particular. My ones for the earlier seasons were all very upbeat, and as they seasons go on the music I wind up picking as increased in intensity to match the seasons themselves.

I’m in the middle of working on my S7 one now, actually, because I just wrapped up Season 6. So far it’s being centered around “Champion” and “The Last of the Real Ones” by Fall Out Boy.

Emma’s Season 6 Playlist

Your playlist is really cool! How do you go about deciding what songs to centre your playlists around?

I usually look for lyrics that I find fit the theme or mood of the seasons – for the ZRS6 one, for example, ‘Werld is Mine’ is one I really liked because I could sort of find bits of different characters in the lines for the chorus. “Ghosts in Empty Houses” from ‘Interim Semper Currans’ I thought was a great foundation because it felt like it could even possibly be from the perspective of Runner Five.

And then for the one I’m working on for S7, both “Champion” and “Last of the Real ones” had lyrics that made me think of Five and Abel; “If I can live through this/I can do anything”, “You’re the last of a dying breed”, “There’s been a million before me” – all little things like that that just give off a ‘ZR vibe’ are things I like to look for. 

You’re involved in making fanworks. Do you have any fanfic/fanart recommendations?

Of course I do! I’ve always loved the art and fic this fandom creates. Some of my favorite works include Typelikemad’s Season 1 Epsiode illustrations this drawing of Sara by tumblr user Thaumivore (though sadly I think they’ve deleted their blog) and this super cute Hoodie 5 by illustratedacorns, and some of my favorite fics are “Scavenger” by Straydog733, this post-Season 3 Fic about Jamie, Maxine, and Five being bros by Puptart (big S3 spoilers warning on this one) and “Wolves” by TheTalkingCrocus (season 4 spoiler warnings)

More of Emma’s fanart, featuring Runner 5!

What is your top tip for using Zombies, Run!?

Honestly my top tip has always been just ‘have fun’! ZR is something that I’ve loved very, very dearly, and I’ve always loved the attitude the creators have about making fitness fun, because that’s what ZR did for me. I’ve been using it for ages now, at every level of fitness – there were times at my most fit where I was running five miles/8 km per mission, and there were times where I just listened to it while walking my dog because that’s the most I could manage. And it’s always been something I’ve wanted to come back to, something that’s made me enjoy getting out and moving and made me want to do it more.

To me, ZR really a really fun, unique experience. It’s something I love sharing with my friends and with the fandom. It’s always been a very important spark of joy in my life.

Thank you so much to Emma for talking with us! You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.