I have to say that I was a bit skeptical when I first heard about the “Zombies, Run!” app for running. The app is a series of recording that play in between your songs as your time, distance, and location are also tracked. Basically, it a running tracking app with a twist. See, the recordings are actually narrations of a story in which you are the protagonist.
You are “Runner 5,” one of a group of “runners” that keep “Abel Township” supplied and safe from zombies after the zombie apocalypse that has befallen the world in the story. You got to Abel after the helicopter you were flying in got shot down by a rocket. The people from Abel notice that you’re good at running, so they recruit you to be “Runner 5.” Now, the previous person to hold the “Runner 5” designation has been dead for a bit, but you encounter her right off the bat in the first episode. She is a running zombie, and she is out to get you, like the rest of the zombies.
If you choose the opportunity, the app will launch zombies at you while you run. It warns you that zombies are coming, so you have to pick up the pace. The chase is on for a minute or so, and you will lose any supplies you collect if you are caught. So you better speed up when you heard them coming and you’re warned about them. You’ll need those supplies to keep Able functioning and safe.
I’ve been chased dozens of times and caught six times. I remember each time I got caught because it was something dumb that allowed me to get caught. Either the dog had to poop, traffic blocked me from crossing the street, or I had just gotten a sprint done. Trust me, you get moving when you hear the zombies. It’s a thing of pride.
The story continues with you helping the people from Abel Township in figuring out what happened during the zombie apocalypse. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but it is quite an ingenious story. It really takes you in, making you want to head out and run some more to find out what happens next. In the final two or three chapters, the de facto state of war with a neighboring enclave comes to a head… And what a cliffhanger of an ending for the first season.
I was out of breath from running and from the ending.
During this first season, I ran about 65 miles and burned off thousands of calories. The dog also enjoyed going out for runs with me. She didn’t hear the story, and she probably would not understand the meaning of zombies and why they’re so popular in our culture, but she got a lot of good exercise from it. I really can’t wait for season two.
I really can’t.
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
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