The third annual Wings for Life World Run took place today, with 130,732 people registered to compete at 34 different locations in 33 countries across the globe, raising more than $7.5 million for spinal cord injury research.
Rather than having a set distance for runners to achieve, the World Run features an innovative moving finish line in the form of a Catcher Car that takes off 30 minutes after the start and steadily increases its speed until all of the runners are caught. The format pushes runners to their personal best performances — the last male and female running were Giorgio Calcaterra in Italy and Kaori Yoshida in Japan, who ran for 54.95 miles and 40.83 miles respectively. These global champions, as well as all local race winners, will get to pick where they want to run in next year’s edition of the Wings for Life World Run.
There were two venues in the U.S., with runners Samuel Bradbury (37.78 miles) and Maibritt Daugaard (30.73 miles) logging the most miles in the male and female categories, respectively, and Simon Munyutu (38.24 miles) and Nathalie Vasseur (33.88 miles) doing the same before being caught in Sunrise, Florida.
Participants throughout the country included football legend Randy Moss, skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn, former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand and many others.
“The one thing that stood out for me is that we are running for those who can’t,” said Moss. “I played football for many years, but this is entirely different. The whole world is participating together for one cause.”
This ambitious global endeavor has now raised more than $16 million over its three years, with 100% of all entry fees and donations directed to spinal cord injury research. The fourth edition of the Wings for Life World Run is already confirmed for May 7, 2017, and registration is open now.
“The mentality going into this race is different than anything I’ve done before because there is no finish line,” said Santa Clarita winner Samuel Bradbury. “I set my goal of completing a marathon (26.2 miles) and seeing how I felt from there. After I completed the 26.2 miles I felt pretty good so I just kept going for as long as I could. As I was running I was thinking about how everyone else around the world was doing, knowing that there were other people out there pushing the limits and surprising themselves to achieve goals they didn’t think were possible.”
There were also 20,556 people worldwide who were not at any of the 34 official locations, but instead joined a Selfie Run, participating against a virtual catcher car on a path of their choosing via a downloadable app. Skiing and snowboarding stars Lindsey Vonn and Louie Vito participated in Selfie Runs in Louisville, Kentucky, and Columbus, Ohio, respectively.
Eric LeGrand hosted a Mother’s Day Selfie Run with his mom Karen in New York’s Battery Park. Team LeGrand of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which was established in 2013, is dedicated to funding research to find a cure for paralysis and to help improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries.
Missed it this year? Register now for the 2017 edition, taking place on May 7. Please join this global community and run for those who can’t.