At 11.30am UTC on May 8, the Catcher Car starts the chase. You’ll have been running, rolling or walking for 30 minutes already – putting as much distance between you and the Catcher Car – the mobile finish line – as possible.
Everyone finishes the race, and the slower you go, the sooner you get to meet the Catcher Car drivers. It’s the best way to run.
Driven by local heroes and big names, the Catcher Cars across the globe and the Virtual Catcher Car in the Wings for Life World Run App speed up at steady increments until they’ve passed every single competitor and ended every single race.
The App brings its own big-name Virtual Catcher Car drivers. The US English voice is the one and only Catherine O’Hara of Schitt’s Creek fame. Cristina Gutiérrez cheers you on in the Spanish version, and ski legend Marco Büxi Büchel is the Swiss-German Virtual Catcher Car – and there’s a Virtual Catcher Car voice also driving a real-life Catcher Car, too – read on to find out who!
Who are the Flagship Run Catcher Car drivers?
At the seven Flagship Runs across the planet, local celebrities and international A-listers step into the role of Catcher Car driver. The heart and soul of the race, they motivate, cheer, encourage and chase to make the Wings for Life World Run the sensation it is.
Check out our superstar Catcher Car drivers right now. The next time you’ll see and hear them is at the start line.
In Munich, two-time Olympic track cycling champion Kristina Vogel joins German racing driver Sophia Flörsch behind the wheel.
“I hope it will be a long drive and that the best runners will go very, very far. I think Sophia and I will have fun, laugh and sing in the car,” says Vogel. “While our job is to catch everyone, we’ll also be cheering on the participants.”
“My first Wings for Life World Run was in 2019. I still have tears in my eyes thinking of so many people running for such a good cause. When I saw the thousands of people at the start – just in Germany, let alone the rest of the world – it made me cry. It still gives me goosebumps.”
It’s a sentiment Wings for Life World Run veteran Reini Sampl shares. The one-time skier has been the Catcher Car driver in Vienna, Austria, since the very beginning in May 2014:
“What is incredibly beautiful, year after year, is all the hobby runners, people at 10 km who didn't believe they’d go 3k, it's so powerful. We see on our Catcher Car screen who we’re about to pass, so I shout their name and cheer and congratulate them as we go by. It's so emotional, it gives me goosebumps every time.”
Joining Sampl in Vienna 2022 is double Olympic champion snowboarder Anna Gasser. She’s taken part in the Wings for Life World Run a few times before, but this is her first time in the Catcher Car, so be nice to her!
“When I’ve run, right at the end, even when I thought I had nothing left, I still put in a little sprint when the Catcher Car closed in. And now, as the Catcher Car driver, I can’t wait to celebrate with everyone, whether they’re running, walking, on crutches or in a wheelchair, whether they’ve gone 60 km or 600 meters.”
Another veteran of the slow-moving Catcher Car is Polish ski-jumper and rally driver Adam Malysz. When he couldn’t get behind the wheel, he became the voice of the Polish Virtual Catcher Car, chasing Wings for Life World Runners down local running routes and re-creating that real-life experience in the App.
Watch on Facebook: https://fb.watch/cfDecfw36J/
If you’re part of the sold-out Poznan Flagship Run on May 8, 2022, look out for Malysz because he’s coming for you.
“There are two types of Wings for Life World Runners: the ‘What did you take so long?’ crew and ‘What? It’s over already?’ squad. Regardless of what they shout when the Catcher Car approaches, everyone pushes their legs a little more to go a bit further. It’s a great sight. The Wings for Life World Run IS my running tip. That everyone can choose their own goal and push their own limits really appeals to me as an athlete.”
If you’re heading to Zadar, the Croatian Virtual Catcher Car voice is coming to life: comedian Mario Petrekovic will drive the Catcher Car along that stunning coast road. He’ll cheer you on, shout at you, make you cover a few more kilometers, motivate you at the very end. Be sure to give him a wave!
It might well be one of the smallest European capitals, but when Luka Hren takes controls of the Catcher Car in Ljubljana he’ll chase you through the beautiful city and out into the countryside.
Over in Zug, World Cup slalom skier Marc Berthod of St. Moritz steps out of retirement and into the Catcher Car. Since his glory days in Adelboden, he’s been a ski commentator, so he’ll be in fine voice to cheer you on in the wonderful Swiss countryside.
Italian stunt pilot Dario Costa set his longest tunnel flight world record in Turkey, and now he’s back as the İzmir Catcher Car driver – so you know he has the tenacity to just keep going. Do you!?
If you’re not sure how far you’ll go on May 8, use the Goal Calculator to work out roughly where you’ll meet your Catcher Car driver for the first time.
The Wings for Life World Run is open to everyone – walkers, rollers, beginner runners, elite athletes. Come May 8 at 11am UTC, hundreds of thousands of people across the planet start the race against the Catcher Car. If you thought you’d never run with a smile on your face, think again. This race is all about the smiles. Sign up now!