When the gun goes at 11:00 UTC, competitors around the world will be given a 30-minute head start, and then race for as long as they can stay ahead of a vehicle that is gradually speeding up behind them.
But who will be driving the cars? Many of them, including Carlos Sainz and David Coulthard, are such a familiar sight in the driving seat that they need no introduction, but for others it will mean a significant change of discipline. So here are five of the 2017 Wings for Life World Run Catcher Car drivers you might not be so used to seeing on four wheels.
The miracle man – Ivan Jakes (driving in Bratislava, Slovakia): The motorcycle rally rider was famously struck by lightning during the Dakar Rally this year. He was almost 300 kilometres from the end of the stage when the accident occurred, yet he still managed to go on and finish 15th. There really is no stopping this guy!
The pass master – Rafa Márquez (driving in Guadalajara, Mexico): Rafa Márquez is a modern football legend – a stylish centre-back who still captains the Mexican national team more than 20 years after making his international debut. Among the highlights of his career have been four La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues with Barcelona, plus two CONCACAF Gold Cup wins.
The ocean adventurer – Adil Khalid (driving in Dubai, UAE): Former Olympic sailor Adil Khalid was part of the victorious Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team in the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Adil was just 22 when he made his debut in the event in 2011-12 and he received a true baptism of fire. On the first night of the nine-month race around the world, the boat’s mast broke in 30-knot winds – an experience he described as the scariest of his life.
The comeback kid – Reini Sampl (driving in Vienna, Austria): Reini made his name as a skier, before an accident in 1996 left him paralysed. He went on to become a successful wheelchair basketball player, handbiker and mono-skier and competed in three Paralympic Games, most recently in Sochi in 2014. He now concentrates not only on rally driving, but also his own fashion brand.
The young gun – Henrik Kristoffersen (driving in Stavanger, Norway): Henrik grew up with the nickname Wild Child and is the youngest male medallist in Olympic alpine skiing history, after his bronze in the slalom in Sochi. He is Norway’s most successful slalom racer of all time and in 2016 he became the only skier in 50 years of FIS World Cup history to win all the classic slalom races back to back: Adelboden, Wengen, Kitzbühel and Schladming.
On May 7, 2017, you can join thousands of runners in the Wings for Life World Run, a global race a world beyond any other. Step up, nominate friends, challenge family and run for those who can’t. Find out how to register here.