I have been, over the years, vaguely aware of the Running of the Gnomes event. When I saw it was coming up again I posted about it in our group Discord, thinking it might be something interesting for Ula to make a video about. She looked into what it was about, found the official site and the charity which it supports, and said we ought to do the run.
It was slated for Saturday, so we got on early and rolled up the required characters, gnomes with pink hair, in order to join in. At least male gnomes can have pink hair.
Before hand you want to get in one of the guilds they form in order to get directions (and, I gather, get counted for participation) and maybe get a red shirt to go with the color theme. They were handing those out for free. If you had the cash to opt for a guild tabard you ended up with a nice pink and white theme with a heart. I saved my gold, but Ula and Skronk bought them on the plan that they are not soul bound so could be handed off to their main characters once the guild got around to spending 10g on a tabard design. That might be a while.
There were not many people on as early as us, and I was wondering how big the turnout might be given that the run on retail had gone off the week before. But as the clock ticked down more and more pink haired gnomes began showing up.
As the hour approached more and more gnomes piled into the scrum. And then we were off. The three of us formed out own little group so we could keep track of each other, and I tried to simply follow Ula’s gnome, but the server wasn’t sure what to do about all of us.
There was a lot of rubber banding and stops and starts as we ran up the path and into the first tunnel. But it all seemed to be holding together for the moment.
But on the far side of the tunnel something happened… layering probably… and for a bit I was running down the road by myself.
We were on voice coms as well, reporting what we saw. I kept on trotting, but I was nervous about being ahead of the pack. It wasn’t a big deal in the starter zone, but we were headed to Booty Bay and along the way there it was going to be a good idea to be in the middle of the pack.
However, as I ran along gnomes started re-appearing running along the road with me.
We ran up into Ironforge, took the tram to Stormwind, running through town to group up again at the front gate.
It was hard to take a good picture as a lot of people kept shouting or talking and I have speech bubbles turned on. (And I couldn’t quickly find how to turn that off.) Still, a lot of us clumped up at the gates. The guild we were in, one of a couple, showed more than 500 players running along with us, but I imagine layering was keeping us separated.
From the gates we took off with the fountain in Darkshire as our destination.
There was some confusion as to which route to follow. Some people cut across country before we made it to the Eastvale logging camp while others stuck to the road and went through Redridge.
We halted at the fountain in Darkshire to form back up again.
From Darkshire the next leg was through Stranglethorn Vale and into Booty Bay, the official destination of the run.
STV was interesting though. Up until this point things hadn’t been very high level around us. A few gnomes were lost, but the guides, high level characters around to clear the way, had kept the path pretty safe. On the path in STV though the aggro radius of level 2-4 gnomes… nobody who made it that far was still level 1 based on discovery xp alone… was such that distant beasts would come crashing out of the jungle to attack gnomes.
Tigers, gorillas, panthers, and those lizards for that one quest all came running at us. Our shepherds killed them as they came, but they were not fast enough to save every gnome. The sight of gnomes being mauled by the local wildlife was pretty damn hilarious.
Most of us made it to Booty Bay though. I stayed in the middle of the road in the middle of the pack and was never bothered. Once there we headed to what I gather is the traditional location on the roof above the inn to form a heart. Color me surprised that we managed it.
We jumped into the water to form a heart there as well. There was some odd layering issue and a the server was having problems keeping track of gnomes. If you went under water it looked like gnomes who jumped in were crashing all the way to the bottom of the bay.
That was the end of the official event. The run took about 40 minutes to make from start to heart, at least if you didn’t die along the way.
But there is an after party aspect to it. We all got on the boat to Ratchet and sailed to The Barrens. From there we ran up to the side gate of Orgrimmar… the one we used on our Ragefire Chasm adventure… and ran on into town.
There were so many of us that the guards could not slay us all. Those of us further back in the pack ran past many a pink haired corpse as we ran deeper and deeper into town.
The goal was to find Thrall and lick him. I made it to just outside the building where he resides before being cut down. Ula was cut down much further back, but Skronk made it into Thrall’s chamber before dying.
We released and ran back as ghosts… something we have some practice with… to see if we could get into licking range of Thrall. However, the guards are thick on the ground around Thrall and without the sheer weight in numbers a low level gnome has less than a 2 second life expectancy in that building.
I managed to get within sight of Thrall, but it was going to take a few more runs to be able to try to lick him. And Skonk, who could revive right on Thrall’s throne, reported getting beat down before he could click the macro he made to target and lick Thrall.
After playing around with that for a bit, we gave up, used the angel to revive at the graveyard, and hearthstoned back home. (Guild chat indicated that we did that just ahead of some Horde players deciding to camp the graveyard.)
There we took a final pic of our three even gnomes.
It was quite the event. I hope they raised some money. I will definitely run it next year if I am subscribed.