On May 8, 2016, Giorgio Calcaterra set a new Wings for Life World Run distance record as he became the first Italian to win the Global Championship. “It is exciting running for a cause as important as spinal cord research: my greatest desire is to restore hope to those who now rely on a wheelchair,” the new Global Champion says. “Together we can make a difference.”
But Giorgio is hardly a new name on the world running scene. Want to know more about the man who was the first ever to beat the Catcher Car to the mythic 80-kilometer mark? Here are some fun facts:
He’s got a knack for hat tricks. In winning his first Wings for Life World Run Global Championship, Giorgio also clinched his third Italian national title in the event. In other events, he’s also a three-time world champion at the 100-kilometer distance.
He’s an overachiever – in the best possible way. Although many doubted that an athlete could reach the elusive 80-kilometer mark in the Wings for Life World Run, Calcaterra absolutely smashed the barrier, reaching a mindblowing 88.44km before the Catcher Car finally caught up with him.
The numbers two and zero seem to be lucky for him. In the year 2000, Giorgio kicked off the new millennium by running 20 marathons in under 2 hours and 20 minutes each.
He’s been running for 34 years. Born in 1972, Giorgio had barely turned 10 when he took part in the marathon derby in his native Rome. Since then he has participated in more than 1,000 races.
Ultra running is his new challenge. In 2006 Giorgio entered – and won – his first 100km race with a time of 6 hours, 45 minutes. Two years later he won his first 100km World Championship.
He’s a “Flying Taxi Driver”!? After Giorgio graduated high school, he began working as a taxi driver, navigating Rome's famously intense traffic. Somebody mashed up a moniker based on his profession and his passion, and it stuck.
He thinks there’s more to life than winning. Giorgio likes to win, but he says that topping the podium is not his top priority. His main goal, always, is to perform at his best. He also puts a priority on running for those who can’t, which is why he set up a team to encourage more people to take part in the 2016 Wings for Life World Run.