«I won’t give up.»

David Mzee inspired people all over the world. A sports accident in 2010 left him with an incomplete spinal cord injury. With his participation in an exciting clinical study, he learned to walk again. At last year’s Wings for Life World Run in Zug, David impressed the participants and spectators by walking a total of 390 meters with his own two legs. A record, he would love to beat. Find out more about the Swiss gym teacher’s approach and how his first test trial went here in the interview.

Last year, we eagerly followed your participation at Wings for Life World Run in Zug. How have you been? Is Prof. Courtine’s study still ongoing at the moment and has there been any progress?

I’ve been doing very well. It’s difficult to say if we achieved further progress, it also depends on how I feel on a daily basis. Last time I was in Lausanne, the results – although they’re still being evaluated in its details – were positive. At least, I go in the right direction. The technical field is also making progress. Thanks to the ongoing advancement of the stimulation through sensors, more and more new possibilities open up on how I can train in order to make quicker progress – at least now on the treadmill.

Despite the cancellation of all Flagship Runs and organized App Runs, many of the registered participants decided to donate their entrance fees to spinal cord research. Evidently, we were absolutely thrilled about that. What does this mean to you personally and as Wings for Life World Run Ambassador?

It makes me very happy, of course! To spend money on a good cause is always a great thing to do. As a person who is affected, it’s very moving to see that so many people want to give to the Foundation even though the Flagship Run was cancelled... both for me personally and as an ambassador of the Wings for Life World Run. This gives me joy!

Despite everything that is going on, participants all over the world will run for those who can’t on May 3 albeit alone, but with the App – provided the local regulations allow it. What does this that mean to you, what will you presumably do on May 3?

It’s really cool that people have the possibility to participate with the App. Apart from the special situation this year, not everybody can travel to a Flagship Run, even in normal times. With the technological possibilities, there is now an awesome alternative. It’s great! 
For the Wings for Life World Run, I hope that we will set a new App Run record this year.

I will probably also participate on May 3. However, I still don’t know in what form. Some time ago, I was training outside, also in regard to the record I set in Zug – the 390 meters. I wanted to know how much faster I am thanks to the new technology. I was actually slower than in 2019, I didn’t achieve my goal – so, there’s still much to do. But I won’t give up. And that’s the reason I will try to do my best on May 3.

Is there a piece of advice you want to give the Wings for Life World Run community these days?

Every crisis and challenging situation has something good to it. These are unusual times, so it’s a good thing to focus on what is possible. I personally try not to watch the news too much. I get the most important information anyway. However, I think it’s better for your own mental health not to be exposed too much to negative news. I wish everybody good health and: keep on running! ?

There is no greater thing that looking forward to something? Will you participate in 2021, when the world will physically run together for those who can’t?

Absolutely, looking forward to something is great. When I first participated in the Wings for Life World Run, I was a bit unsettled since I didn’t know what to expect. But now, after 2019, I’m looking forward all the more to be at the start line on May 9, 2021!

You wanted to break your 390-m record this year – now you have a bit more time to train ? what is your goal for 2021?

Yes absolutely! I guess this delay is just what I needed. I wasn’t able to run the 390 meters in my last attempt. The conditions aren’t the same as at the Wings for Life World Run in Zug, which makes a big difference. For one thing, it’s not the same terrain, which affects my speed, and for another thing, there aren’t so many people around who push me and cheer. With regard to the new record, I’m quite happy to have more time to train until the next Flagship Run ?.

All Information about participating in the Wings for Life World Run on May 3rd with the App you’ll find here.