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The Conqueror Lord of the Rings challenge review - "Running (or doing chores and yoga) to reach Mordor"

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The Conqueror Lord of the Rings challenge review - "Running (or doing chores and yoga) to reach Mordor"

With the One Ring in my possession and the fate of the world at stake, I burst through the fields and left the comforts of the Shire behind. It certainly helped that there was no actual Ringwraith tailing me with every kilometre I went, but thanks to The Conqueror's immersive gamified run, going the extra mile meant getting closer to fulfilling Gandalf's quest for me on the perilous path to Mordor.

The Conqueror's Lord of the Rings challenge features five iconic locales and five gorgeous medals officially licensed by the popular Tolkien franchise, but is this gamified run worth spending your big bucks on?

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With its engaging postcards and real-time map of the Shire, The Conqueror's Lord of the Rings challenge certainly makes running for fitness an absolute joy for fans and non-fans alike. I started this quest with one goal in mind - to finish that 233-kilometre distance in a reasonable amount of time. Of course, the further I went into the challenge, the more engaging the experience became, especially since I could see my progress (and other adventurers' distances) on the run's official app.

The virtual challenge lets players join in on an interactive run with the Hobbits on their quest to throw the One Ring into the fires of Mordor. Mount Doom, of course, is too far away (one does not simply walk into it, apparently), so The Conqueror gives players the chance to complete those distances across five challenges: The Shire, The Fellowship, Mines of Moria, The Eye of Sauron and Mordor.


You'll begin your journey from the Shire, and you can only unlock the next challenge once you clear the previous one. You can track your progress on a custom-made map of Middle-earth to see how far you've come (and how far you still need to go). Along the way, you'll hit milestones that will reward you with snippets of the story, as well as virtual postcards you can collect to commemorate your epic quest.

The Conqueror also lets you do your part to save the world IRL by planting a tree for every 20% of the challenge that you complete. It's actually a pretty cool incentive to get your sweat on if the LOTR trilogy isn't reason enough to get motivated to move.

You can sync your progress across various fitness apps as well, but if you don't have one that's compatible with the official app, you can input your progress manually via the activity conversion chart.


That chart, while certainly handy, honestly dulls the appeal of the challenge for me, as anyone can simply input manual kilometres into the app and be done with it. I do appreciate that the challenge supports all kinds of fitness activities as opposed to just actual runs (you can box, bowl, dance and even canoe your way to the finish line here), but it just felt a little odd to get one step closer to Mount Doom just because I did some yoga.

I can understand the rationale behind it - because the target distance for the Shire alone is a whopping 233 kilometres, it can feel like Mount Everest for casual runners. I myself got to the finish line mainly because of the daily housework I did that was equivalent to a lot of miles every day. But to be honest, I would have preferred it if it was all strictly for running, jogging or walking with a lesser and more doable distance, just to keep the spirit of the Hobbits' trek alive. It is a gamified run, after all.

Also, if you're strictly trying to clear those kilometres purely by running, I feel like you might eventually get tired of the "game" when the novelty of it all fades away after a few weeks. Of course, if you keep your eye on the prize - a gorgeous medal that features the Shire and the One Ring in all its tempting glory - you might just be motivated enough to push forward.

And the medal really does look absolutely stunning. It arrived in the mail two weeks after I cleared the challenge, and it was totally worth the wait. Top-notch craftsmanship aside, there's a groove you can flip open to reveal the One Ring entrusted to your care, and it's now up to you to throw it into the depths of Mount Doom provided you're up to the task.

Overall, The Conqueror's Lord of the Rings gamified run is a unique way to get players moving with an actual real-life reward waiting for them at the finish line. The experience might have felt a bit odd at times (especially with the conversion chart) but I'm definitely glad I gave it a try - and it likely won't be the last.

The Conqueror Lord of the Rings challenge review - "Running (or doing chores and yoga) to reach Mordor"

The Conqueror's Lord of the Rings run challenges gamers to run proper distances while journeying with the Hobbits from the Shire to Mordor. The huge distances might be overwhelming, but the medals look absolutely gorgeous - plus, you get to help plant trees too while you're at it.
Catherine Dellosa
Catherine Dellosa
Catherine plays video games for a living, reads comics for inspiration, and writes because she’s in love with words. Her Young Adult fantasy novel, Of Myths And Men, has been published by Penguin Random House SEA and is her love letter to gamer geeks, mythological creatures, aliens, and epic quests to save the world. She one day hopes to soar the skies as a superhero, but for now, she strongly believes in saving lives through her works in fiction. Check out her books at, or follow her on FB/IG/Twitter at @thenoobwife.