Many who follow shows like Walking Dead, or imagined themselves in the superlative storytelling found in World War Z and Feed (The Newsflesh Trilogy) think that if they were in the same place as the characters, they'd perform better under pressure. But if push came to shove and you really had to run from zombies, would you be able to?
That's where the app Zombies, Run! becomes intriguing - for me, anyway. The app (available for Apple iOS, Windows and Android) has cleverly combined well-written serialized storytelling and an app for prompting and tracking running to create a task-oriented zombie apocalypse adventure that will actually get you to run.
You can also walk the chapters, but when you hear the moans of zombies in your headphones... You'll probably feel like you should really run.
The product of a very successful Kickstarter campaign, Zombies, Run! (Twitter) uses your Android or iPhone and a set of headphones to put you in the midst of a zombie apocalypse scenario. The app is from Six To Start, and the chapters/storyline is written by award-winning novelist and Naomi Alderman (currently co-writing with Margaret Atwood).
You are a runner. A township community needs you to go after supplies, weapons, get recon, find missing people, chase 'traitors' and more.
You're given missions to complete - and don't worry, picking up supplies as you run is a matter of designated running (not actually stopping to bend over and pick up or carry things in real life).
In the audio simulation, you're 'fitted' with a camera and headset and you're given instructions - or warnings of zombie hoardes around the corner - as you run missions on the streets of your own town.
Each mission lasts 30-40 minutes, and you can play music from your own playlist in the background if you want to make your own Run, Lola Run soundtrack, or if you want some Lady Gaga remixes as your end-of-the-world soundtrack.
Zombies, Run! has a gameplay layer (and semi-MMPORG element) if you want to engage further with the app. Users can create a Zombielink account and track their stats. Zombielink syncs your running data; users can view their run logs and stats, calories burned, how fast you ran from zombies at a given moment, and recaps of your run activity with events in the storyline.
The app shines in making running and training at a varied pace over different terrains into something more exciting than your ususal routine.
For those interested in prepping for live-action running events in cities such as Journey To The End Of The Night (a "street game") or the UK's Zombie Evacuation Race, it could be an excellent way to get ready for goal-oriented runs that involve chasing and being chased.
There's also a recently added 5K 8-week training course - packed with zombie adventures - that is designed for beginners.
However, if we've learned anything from Walking Dead, it's that zombies don't wait for you to train.