81. ZombiesRun Virtual Race 10K, 2015

My previous post already covered the basics of the ZombiesRun Virtual Race, so this post will dive right in to cover the 10K race, leader boards and a couple of minor glitches in an otherwise fantastic event.

ZombiesRun Virtual Race 10K

Since I’m in the United States, it took a bit longer for my packet to arrive from the UK. This worked out in the end because race week was surprisingly busy for me. It arrived on October 24th, giving me plenty of time to get both races in before the November 2nd cutoff date. That’s a good thing too, because I wound up running the 10K mission twice.

Brian Cribb with his VR Virtual Race number

The number on the bib is Five, of course. We’re all Runner 5.

My first 10K race is here with a time of 57:32, and my second (and official) run is here with a time of 55:27. (The times on those pages are longer because they include cool down time after I hit the 10K mark.) Oh, and here’s the Garmin data for the first run and then the official run. (For some reason ZR is currently asking for a login even for public maps, but hopefully that will be corrected soon.)

First 10K in a while

Of course I had intended to train up for this, but… well, you know. Life happens and stuff. We’re just getting out of our summer farmers’ markets, so the schedule has only recently loosened up. All of my patterns are in flux right now. So instead of some crazy ambitious clock time, I just wanted to finish in an hour.

I went for the full race experience even though it was just me out there. I wore my race number and chose a time in full daylight so I could get a couple of photos and maybe give a charge to anyone driving by who may also be a Runner 5.

It felt pretty good. ZR has a strong community around it and the race forum has some really nice posts from some really nice folks. I felt about as close as I could to a group of people without actually standing next to them. I found myself resisting the urge to take photos of the Kennebec River so I could focus on running steadily. It was just an out-and-back route, but the story audio chimed in at every kilometer, adding a sense of urgency to my pace.

I really can’t say enough nice things about Six to Start. They make good stuff.

Just one problem, though. Or two…

Apparently the app developers are sort of hard-wired to protect privacy. Our race maps default to private, and so they thought it would be a good idea for our names to do the same. When the race mission is complete, observant runners found a slider we could use to claim our place on the leader boards. Fail to turn that on and you’ll be listed as “Anonymous”. Sadly, I dropped my phone while trying to hit it, and accidentally returned to the home screen without touching the slider. My race was anonymous.

This is obviously a problem. I don’t have a private option when I go attend any other 5K. It’s one think to keep your running map private, but this is just your name, country, distance and time. That’s the sort of thing that you expect to be public when you pay to enter a race. To make matters worse, no one expected this. Lots of folks wound up with anonymous entries that the developers couldn’t fix. (Apparently the name isn’t retained unless you opt in.)

Another problem was the finishing audio. There’s a lot of it. Many of us didn’t realize that our race times would be recorded when Sam tells us to stop running, even though the mission continues. That last bit is meant to keep us entertained as we cool down.

Super-nice Dev Team

After folks on the forums made their concerns known, the developers responded as best they could. We were told that future races would default to showing our names on the leader boards, and the cool down audio was just fine with all of us once we understood what was going on. We could run the races as many times as we liked, so we could just go again and to put our names up there and use it as a chance to improve our times.

In the end, all of the problems I saw were minor hiccups that could be easily corrected for the next time. This was their first attempt at a virtual race, after all. If they got through this with just minor issues, then they’re doing pretty well.

Brian Cribb with his ZombiesRun Virtual Race reward packet

I wound up running the 10K one more time, again in daylight. I was even more focused this time because i wanted to beat my previous attempt. I succeeded, shaving quite a bit from my time.

This event was lots of fun. There was a new mission for the ZombiesRun app, a forum where I could meet other ZR runners, a race packet with a medal in it, and an inspiration to run faster than I normally would on a typical day.

And I’m happy to report that Six to Start is already planning to have more virtual races. 🙂

Edit: There’s no gallery this time because there are only three photos in the Flickr gallery for this page and I’ve used three of them. If you want to see them on Flickr, you can do that here.