One of the world's most inspirational running competitions are back: at 13.00 Swedish time on May 8, 2016 can start in the "Wings for Life World Run". Parallel race in 33 countries will start at the same time and the runners run as far as they can before a finish line course to catch up. Last year's global winners hann 79.9 kilometers! In Sweden determined the competition for third year starting in Kalmar and running over the Öland bridge.
Registration for the 2016 race is now open right here on www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com.
This year's start at the main square in Kalmar. Photo: Anders Neuman.
Popular to get run over the Öland bridge. Photo: Anders Neuman.
The aim of the competition is to raise awareness of spinal cord injuries and to raise money for spinal cord research.
The question is not whether injured backs will be able to be cured in the future. The question is when. Wings for Life is trying to speed up the development by financing research, says Niclas Rodhborn, Ambassador of the competition and self ryggmärgsskadad after a car accident as a 19-year-old.
This year Wings for Life World Run attracted over 100 000 runners to sign up to 33 simultaneous races around the world, from Japan in the East to South Africa in the South, and Peru to the West. Among the runners were well known athletes such as cross country ski star Marcus Hellner, former F1 driver Mark Webber and Alpine Queen Lindsey Vonn. Even celebrity dog Arthur ran together with the Peak Performance Adventure Racing Team. One explanation for the popularity is the charitable cause. Another is the different race format.
"It's a fantastic format where everyone can join in and run regardless of level. Elite motions. Well trained or untrained. They all face the same challenge. The purpose and the fact that every penny goes to something good just makes it even better," says Michael Lemmel, Sporting Manager for the Swedish race.
The thing that really separates the Wings for Life World Run from other running competitions is that race does not have a specific distance. One runs away from the finish line rather than against it. Many find that they run longer than they have ever done before.
Half an hour after the race starts a moving finish line, a specially-equipped car, starts to chase the runners. The car increases the pace at certain specified times around the world. The male and female runners who are last in the world to be overtaken by the finish line become global winners.
Last year's overall winner Lemawork Ketema managed to run a staggering 79.9 km and kept ahead of the chasing finish line car for over five hours! But Wings for Life World Run doesn't only attracts elite runners. Everyone is welcome and it does not matter if you are a professional runner, amateurs or participants just wanting to run for a good cause.
Also participants in wheelchairs tackles the challenge. In the Swedish race wheelchair participant Aaron Anderson won sensationally by rolling 64.8 km in a standard wheel chair, longer than the best elite runners. Women's class was won by ultra runner Frida Södermark who ran 42.2 km.
2015 winner of the Swedish race, Aaron Anderson. Photo: Anders Neuman.
"It was an awesome feeling to take part. What an event! To then have a great day and win over the runners didn't make it less good. I am really looking forward to competing 2016, says Aaron Anderson.
Behind the initiative Wings for Life World Run is the Wings for Life foundation, a nonprofit organization that collects money to support research on spinal cord injuries. 100% of the proceeds from the race in the form of participation fees and donations will go directly to fund research projects all over the world. This year's event raised over 4 million!
Sign up now! www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com