How David Mzee walked a record 467m in this year’s Run

In 2010, David Mzee injured his spinal cord and was left paralyzed. But thanks to a promising clinical trial funded by Wings for Life, years later he learned to walk his first steps again. In 2019, he inspired thousands worldwide when he walked across the Wings for Life World Run start line and covered an astonishing 390m.

Just days ago, on May 3, David once again exceeded expectations by walking 467m, a new personal record.

When the 2020 Flagship and organized App Runs were cancelled in light of the current health situation, David was one of 77,103 people worldwide to use the Wings for Life World Run App to perform their own run and keep raising funds for a cure for spinal cord injury.

Motivated by participating together – apart

At home in Switzerland, David started the Run at a track with Swedish native Niklas Sjöblom, a previous Wings for Life World Run winner in Switzerland and South Africa. The two pushed each other: Niklas finished first in Switzerland once again with a distance of 62.1km before being caught by the Catcher Car. David far exceeded his target of 400m.

“One of the best memories of last year was the people running by, applauding and cheering for me. That was super-exciting,” he described. “Here on this track I didn’t have that many people. Some ran by, were waving and that gave me a lot of energy. I could feel the people of last year in my heart, and it was really cool to feel the support and know that so many people are running with the App.”

Progression in treatment makes strides, too

David credited his even better result this year with improved functionality in his body, as well as training hard on a treadmill with bodyweight support. He also shared that he was aided by a technological boost: the hardware that provides his electrical stimulation had changed.

“Now it’s not that the stimulation only kicks in every 1.5 seconds – it kicks in when I want,” he explained. “If my leg hits a certain angle, stimulation kicks in, so that lets me walk at my pace and lets me time everything much better. Today it went perfect.”

David offered his heartfelt thanks to all the participants, adding, “I’m happy that so many people participated with the App. People were like, ‘Let’s do something, let’s run.’ I’m looking forward to the next Wings for Life World Run and to hopefully setting a new record.”