Catching up with the Global Champions

In the Wings for Life World Run, everyone sets his or her own goal, because the excitement is in joining a global movement to find a cure for spinal cord injury. Among the recreational runners you’ll find athletes like Aron and Dominika, whose achievements provide extra inspiration.

Aron is an adventurer and motivational speaker who, despite paralysis, has trekked to the South Pole and across the lavabeds of the Ironman World Championship. He was crowned the men’s 2017 Wings for Life World Run Global Champion with a record 92.14 km in Dubai, UAE. Dominika has won marathon and mountain running titles and took the 2017 women’s Global Championship with her own record of 68.21 km in Santiago, Chile.

To prepare for the event last May 7, Aron trained extensively in his wheelchair. “I also kayaked and like to cross-train,” he says.

Meanwhile Dominika trained by racing! “Five weeks before the World Run I won the Polish marathon championship, and two weeks before I got a personal best in another marathon,” she explains. “Then I trained at altitude in the Atacama Desert before racing in Santiago.”

Aron knew that Dubai’s climate could be a big opponent: “It got to be something like 50[C] degrees. Around 60 kilometers I started getting really tired and warm. I would get messages – ‘You’re in the lead,’ ‘You’ve lost the lead’ – and I was afraid a flat tire could mess things up.”

How did it feel when they finally realized they were the Global Champions?

“It was amazing,” Aron recalls. “There was so much adrenaline, people everywhere, cameras, interviews. Then I started to feel dizzy and realized how exhausted my body was!”

For Dominika, the finish was a nail-biter: “At first I didn’t know if I was the female winner of the whole thing, or just Chile. I thought a woman in Milan might still be going. In the end it was good, because I ran farther than I would have if I’d known.”

Part of their prize was a training camp at a location of their choice. Dominika picked New Zealand. “Most of the training will be running and mountain running. I’ve never been there and I’m excited,” she relates. Dominika will also race in New Zealand’s Red Bull Skyline Traverse Run.

Aron also decided to train in the Southern Hemisphere, revealing, “I’m going to South Africa for activities from mountain biking to surf-skiing, kayaking and swimming.”

Maybe Aron will share his tips on South Africa with Dominika – she’ll defend her Wings for Life World Run title in Pretoria, while Aron has chosen Sunrise, FL, USA.

Dominika comments, “I really like the Wings for Life World Run because it’s for such a good cause – I have several friends with disabilities. And it’s different, because everyone is a finisher. I run all of these races with my husband, and his personal record is 18 kilometers.”

She continues, “I think I’ll know a lot of people taking part, whether they’re racing in Poznan or doing the App Run.”

Aron hopes some of his more than 125,000 social media followers will join – and attempt to challenge him – by doing an App Run, adding, “I’m so grateful that there’s such a great race to help people with spinal cord injuries, and I’m pumped about the next one. I don’t know if I’ll be able to walk again one day, but that would be an incredible feeling...”

Join Dominika and Aron on May 6! Register for the Wings for Life World Run now.