This world keeps moving forward on its own. But it's the game-changers, the visionaries, who make it better. These people can see a future very different to the one the rest of us see. And then we live their future.
Mrs Benz – wife of car inventor Karl Benz -- saw her husband’s invention as a game changer. She saw how it could change the future. And in August 1888, she was fed up of the three-wheeled car Karl Menz had created just covering short distances. She wanted the world to know what was possible.
Credit: Heritage Images / Contributor (GettyImages) Bertha Benz and her husband in a Benz-Viktoria, 1893
Dawn of a New Age
Under cover of dawn, she and her teenage sons, pushed the car down the hill from their home and set off on the first ever road trip. From their home in Mannheim, Germany, they drove 50km south to visit Mrs Benz’s mother in Pforzheim.
En route, there were no petrol stations, no way of calling for roadside assistance as there are now; for fuel, she bought a petrol distillate from chemists; when the fuel line clogged, she cleared it with her hatpin, and when a wire short circuited, she used the material from her garter to insulate it.
Catcher Car Speeds
She arrived in Pforzheim just before dusk – putting her average speed around that of the Wings for Life World Run’s Catcher Car – and got a message through to her husband where she was and that she and the car were safe.
On her return drive, people lined the track to see the woman in her horseless carriage, and over those 50km, the future of the motorcar was set.
Boston Marathon, 1967. Just 49 years ago. 601 men lined up for the start. But two of those men were actually women: Kathrine Switzer and Bobbi Gibb. A year earlier, Bobbi had been the first woman to ever run beyond the recommended female’s competition distance of 2km. But it was Kathrine Switzer who was about to change the landscape of women’s running forever.
After around six kilometres, Boston race manager Jock Semple chased Switzer down, shouting “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!”
Credit: Boston Globe / Contributor (GettyImages)
Photographers caught the attack and images of her and Semple flew around the world, and with them, the world of women’s running took a huge step forward. Switzer crossed the finish line with her running buddies at 4:20, nearly an hour behind Bobbi Gibb, but the two women had finished and, together, became game changers, leading the way for the millions of female runners who run today, and the thousands running on May 8 in the Wings for Life World Run in locations worldwide.
People have run since the beginning, but CROP Hunger Walkers in Bismark, North Dakota, in 1969 walked to raise money for charity, that running became a way to help others.
The Polytechnic Marathon in London, which started out in 1908 and ran till 1996 every year also raised a fair amount of money for charity and raised the profile of mass running. But it wasn’t until the London Marathon announced its first official charity in 1984 that mass charity events really got going.
Credit: Getty Images / Staff
Over the years, charity races with start and finish lines worldwide have drawn millions of amateur and professional runners in 5km races to marathon and ultra-run distances.
But the Wings for Life World Run changed the running game. It’s open to everyone: from the elite ultrarunners with their eyes on breaking the 79.9km record to someone who started running yesterday who just wants to give it a go and enjoy the pleasure of being overtaken by the celebrity-driven Catcher Car.
Everyone who steps over the start line will finish the race, no matter how far they go. It could be 2km, it could be 82km … maybe 102km. Runners just keep running until the Catcher Car passes them.
In 2014, the start signal sounded, and spectators following the Live Experience on the website cheered as thousands of runners in 34 locations worldwide surged forward. Numbers more than doubled in 2015 as the format caught the world’s attention.
And now, in 2016, the global run is on for its best year yet. 100% of entry fees and boosters paid goes directly to Wings for Life and the game-changing research projects and clinical trials it supports in the hunt for the cure for spinal cord injury.
100% of all entry fees and donations go directly to spinal cord research projects. Please make a donation.