A personal connection with spinal cord injury can make the Wings for Life World Run so much more than a race or even just a good cause. For Norway’s Joachim Norvik, taking part in Stavanger provided a sense of community, of pride – and of hope.
Participants in the Wings for Life World Run find their motivation in a lot of different places – from the challenge of raising money and awareness in the fight against spinal cord injury to pushing themselves to get fit or run further than they ever have before.
For those people whose lives have been personally affected by spinal cord injury, Wings for Life World Run can provide something more than that – a tangible sense of something much bigger than themselves. That was certainly the case with Joachim Norvik, whose son Isak suffered a spinal cord injury just a week after he learned to walk.
Joachim was one of the many people running in Stavanger, Norway on May 7 and few people can have felt such a sense of belonging as he took the start line.
“As a family directly struck by spinal cord injury, I think it’s normal to feel a sense of loneliness about it all,” Joachim explains. “Isak’s injury has had a tremendous impact on our lives, in a way that many people cannot comprehend.
“But being part of this wonderful project gives meaning and hope, and running together with so many people, for the cause that has become the most important one for us, is incredibly moving. For a very brief period of time, I feel that this is the most important cause for all the people involved, and not only for us. We love Wings for Life World Run.”
Joachim struggled to train ahead of this year’s race, partly because of little injuries and partly just the day-to-day demands in his life.
Despite that, he still managed to run through the pain barrier and improve his 2016 performance in the race with the unique moving finish line, staying ahead of the Catcher Car for an extra 550 meters.
“I trained for last year’s race, and felt much better during and after the race. I ran on pure willpower for a large part of this year’s race.
“By the time the Catcher Car approached me, my legs had felt like lead for at least 10 kilometers. I have never been so happy to see a vehicle in my entire life. I will be better prepared next year!
“But as I ran, I felt immensely proud of what my family has achieved. Many times I was moved to tears by all the people showing their support. And I felt so at home with what I have come to call our ‘extended family’ at Wings for Life World Run.
“Team Joachim Runs for Isak had 19 participants in 2017. Out of those 19 people, every single one will run in 2018 – if this is not a testament to what a great race this is, I don’t know.”
And in the end, how would he sum up Wings for Life World Run to those thinking about entering?
“It’s the world’s greatest race - no less!”