How to team up with your sporting hero for race day

If you’ve ever wished you could be on a team with your favourite sporting star – working together toward a global goal – now is the time to make that wish come true. Some of the biggest names in sports are putting together teams for the Wings for Life World Run 2024, and anyone can join.

Teams have long been a popular part of the run, and this year athletes such as South African rugby icon Siya Kolisi, Norwegian track-and-field star Karsten Warholm, and the RB Leipzig football club and its fans are creating teams, not to mention history-making downhill mountain bike champion Rachel Atherton of Great Britain, windsurf legend Björn Dunkerbeck of Denmark and the Alinghi Red Bull Racing team that’s training toward the America’s Cup. Plus many more.

Karsten, who is an Olympic Gold Medallist, three-time World Champion and current record holder in 400m hurdles, says, “I’m part of the Wings for Life World Run because I think it’s a really good and important cause. But also, I think it’s good for all the people participating – I feel like everyone’s a winner.”

He confides, “This year I want to build an even bigger team, and I also want my team to perform, so hopefully it’s going all in for 2024.”

And yes, our fantastic friend, German ultrarunner Florian Neuschwander, will be leading his Run with the Flow crew once again – they’ve delivered the best team result every year since 2016!

Motivation for all

Studies have shown that having a “running buddy” can increase motivation and performance for people of all fitness levels. And thanks to the Wings for Life World Run App, you can run together with your favourite team no matter where you are. Siya, the groundbreaking South African team captain who led the Springboks to consecutive Rugby World Cup titles in 2019 and 2023, will be participating from his current location in Paris, but he’ll be side-by-side with his team virtually whether they’re in France, back home in South Africa or elsewhere.

“When you join the Wings for Life World Run, it’s exciting: You’re doing something that’s benefiting others, but it’s also going to benefit you, too,” Siya says.

“Just like when I prepare for a game, it gives you something you can train for. It’s an awesome challenge for yourself, to see how healthy you can be while you’re helping someone else.”

He adds, “The nice thing is that anybody can do it. You don’t have to be someone who runs every day. You don’t even have to run – you can just walk and set your own goals.”

Special incentives

Some teams are also offering extra-special incentives. For example, all members of Karsten’s team who complete the race will have an equal chance to win a meet-and-greet and potential training session with him. Meanwhile, one lucky member of Siya’s team will receive a Springboks jersey signed by the rugby superstar himself.

How to find a team and sign up

There are thousands of Wings for Life World Run teams, with more being formed all the time, and athletes aren’t the only team captains. Entertainment personalities, university clubs, community-focused companies and everyday individuals have all created teams, inspired by the good cause.

As always, the first thing to do is register. And then start exploring teams! Of course, 100% of entry fees and donations goes to find a cure for spinal cord injury, and the sooner you sign up for a team, the sooner you can feel the excitement and motivation of training toward race day with your hero and the rest of your teammates.

RB Leipzig team captain Willi Orban says, “I’m so excited to be part of our club’s Wings for Life World Run team, and I hope lots of people – including all of our great fans – will join us. But no matter what team you sign up for, or even if you take part on your own, we’ll all be running together toward a cure. The most important thing is participating, however you like to do it!”

To find and sign up for a dream team – or to create a new one – check out our Teams page.