Wings for Life World Run in Vienna: A Running Spectacle Deluxe. © Philip Platzer for Wings for Life World Run
Wolfgang Wallner & Alex Roudayna win in Vienna - Aron Anderson is crowned Global Champ again. All the emotions, photos, video highlights and results from the Wings for Life World Run at a glance.
At 1.00 pm the starting signal for the fifth Wings for Life World Run in Vienna goes. At the same time, 102,862 registered runners compete against the Catcher Car worldwide. With the Wings for Life World Run App, participants can compete anywhere in the world this year. Nobody proves this as clearly as Austria's ultrarunner Christian Schiester, who starts on the Cocos Islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Olympic Champion Anna Gasser and Nina Proll, last year’s winner in Rome, start for the first time with the App, too - hitting their favourite3 tracks. Ski jumping legend Gregor Schlierenzauer runs with his buddy Simon Wallner on one of the numerous Organized App Runs. The duo Schlierenzauer and Wallner ran about 20 km together.Gregor Schlierenzauer and Simon Wallner during the App Run in Innsbruck. © Sebastian Marko for Wings for Life World Run
In front of such a backdrop, with a highly motivated field of participants, this year's Wings for Life Run was something very special and hopefully the App Run will be even bigger next year. -Gregor Schlierenzauer
An incredible 13,500 runners cross the starting line in Vienna. Among them well-known active and former sports stars such as Thomas Morgenstern, Andreas Goldberger or Markus Schairer, who was competing for the first time since he broke his cervical vertebra in the Olympic Men Snowboard Cross Competition:
Markus Schairer enjoys the luxury of being able to walk. © Philipp Schuster for Wings for Life World Run
After the fall I was only able to move my fingers for three days. So I'm very happy to be here this year. The Wings for Life World Run is very emotional for me at the because I know how your life can change in the blink of an eye. - Markus Schairer
Markus Schairer wanted to run 17 km for those who can’t in Vienna. Two hours in and he managed to run an incredible 22km! "I had to hold back my tears on my way," Schairer admits in retrospect.
The opportunity to run again for those who can’t, is not to be missed - neither by Austria's active nor former top athletes. Next to ski jumping legend Andreas Goldberger, snowboard expert Benjamin Karl, ex-athlete Patricia Kaiser, Olympic gold medal winner David Gleirscher and many others are starting at this year’s race. Thomas Morgenstern and Lukas Müller join forces again and starting together with a team.
This is a really cool event. It’s very nice to be part of it. At the beginning you get quite a big motivation boost - then I have found my pace well and pulled through to the end. - David Gleirscher
While David Gleirscher is caught by Matthias Walkner in the Catcher Car after about 10 km, Lukas Müller manages to race 27.1 km. Patricia Kaiser makes around 13 km and Thomas Morgenstern ran around 15 km.
The equally prominent and euphoric starting line in Vienna. © Philipp Schuster for Wings for Life World Run
The atmosphere was extraordinary again. At the end of the race I had another high, but I could not escape the Catcher Car ... We are happy, proud and already looking forward to next year.- Thomas Morgenstern
After his sensational 44.22 km, Austria's ski jumping legend Andi Goldberger is once again making a highly motivated start in 2018: "I want to give it my all again." Gold announces with determination before the start. Eventually, the 45-year-old runs, under cramps, to 36 km. Following the run, despite the pain, he concludes, "Running away from the catcher car - you can’t describe it, you have to experience it.
Andi Goldberger gibt alles für den guten Zweck – und mehr... © Philip Platzer für Wings for Life World Run
It really hit me at the 25 km mark. I then had to stop running and walk at km 30. Then the catcher car came and I mobilized all my reserves. I still can say where it hurts exactly right now. But when thinking of all those people who couldn’t run today and might never be able to feel their legs again, I don’t mind it at all and even enjoy the cramps. - Andi Goldberger
Lemawork Ketema, the two-time Wings for Life World Run Global Champ, starts 2018 for the fifth time in Austria. But instead of racing for the national and global victory again, the 31-year-old pushes Wings for Life World Run ambassador Kira Grünberg towards new distances.
Lemawork and Kira Grünberg on their way to the marathon. © Philip Platzer for Wings for Life World Run
My goal was to get past the 10km mark. That I have now reached 40 km is incredible. I can hardly put that into words. Lema has done such an incredible job – it’s almost scary. - Kira Grünberg
It is a very special day for Rallye Dakar winner Matthias Walkner, too, who, for the first time is starting as a Catcher Car. 30 minutes after the race has started, he is taking on the pursuit of the runners in the BMW X6.
Matthias Walkner gets them all. © Philipp Greindl for Wings for Life World Run
Seeing that many people and all the emotion, that's insane. It is all casual really, and there are all sorts of people starting, from 70-year-old pensioners to 30-year-old professional athletes. Being able to experience the mix of these emotions in one run is one of my highlights. - Matthias Walkner
Finally, on this memorable day, Matthias Walkner overtakes 53-year-old marathon specialist Wolfgang Wallner, who has excelled himself along the Danube. With a personal record of 64.18 km Wallner, in his fourth start, crowns himself for the first time as the national Wings for Life World Run Winner in Vienna - despite some strong headwinds and hot temperatures...
Wolfgang Wallner with Reini Sampl and Matthias Walkner (r). © Philip Platzer for Wings for Life World Run
That's crazy for me. Winning here is a dream. The whole atmosphere is crazy. I can only advise anyone to join us next year. It does not matter if you run in the front or in the back, the emotions you experience here are unique. - Wolfgang Wallner
National women’s winner is the Mexican Alex Roudayna, with 49.18 km. The obstacle course specialist celebrates her first victory in her second participation.
I am very happy! After the start, I just wanted to win and accelerated. I am extremely satisfied with my performance. It was a great race. - Alex Roudayna
Alex Roudayna celebrates her victory in Vienna. © Philipp Greindl for Wings for Life World RunA
In the race for the global title, it has been a showdown between Portuguese Vera Nunes in Munich and Croatian Nikolina Šustić in Zadar. The neck-and-neck race has ultimately been won by the Brazilian Nunes with a total distance of 53.78 km, a margin of only 50 meters.
Vera Nunes wins the distance battle of the women competition in Munich. © Flo Hagena für Wings for Life World Run
I can’t believe it all quite yet. To finally achieve global victory in my third race is a dream come true. - Vera Nunes
Global Champ in the men’s competition is again the Swede Aron Anderson, repeating his win from 2017. In the previous year, the professional adventurer managed an unbelievable 92.14 km, setting a record that has never been achieved before. In 2018 he runs 89.85 km in Florida, and secures a second overall victory.
Aron Anderson after his 2018 victory in Florida. © Robert Snow für Wings for Life World Run
This race is great, it means so much to me to start here. I was so tired in the end, but I wanted to give it all I had to collect more miles and money for spinal cord research. I'm so happy! - Aron Anderson
Colin Jackson and Anita Gerhardter. © Joerg Mitter für Wings for Life World Run
That was another fantastic day of running. We saw countless happy faces in 2018, crowned two wonderful global winners and collected more than € 3 million for the good cause. We’ll add this to the 20.6 million we've been raising for spinal cord research over the past five years. - Anita Gerhardter