More than 100,000 participants in 203 locations around the globe cover a massive 934,484km to raise money for spinal cord injury research as the running event breaks more barriers.
Wings for Life World Run, global race without the finish line, celebrated this Sunday its fifth edition. The run’s simultaneous start – night or day, sun or rain – spanned every corner of the earth, from New Zealand to Kazakhstan, from Svalbard to Mexico and Ecuador. The whole world was running for those who can’t
The unprecedented show of global camaraderie and competition meant that over 100,000 competitors covered a massive 934,484km in Sunday's fifth running of the world's most unique race, which raises vital money and awareness for spinal cord research – an astonishing 23-and-a-half times the circumference of Planet Earth!
This year it was Swedish adventurer and wheelchair athlete Aron Anderson who made history by outpacing the Catcher Car the longest in Sunrise, Florida, USA to earn a second consecutive Global Championship crown with a phenomenal distance of 89.85km, a full 13.1km further than runner-up Andreas Straßner, who took an impressive national win in Germany. Making Anderson's win even more impressive is the fact that he did it once again in a normal wheelchair rather than a custom racing chair.
Aron: "I was so tired, but I wanted to keep pushing so that maybe we could raise more money and make even more of a difference. Everything hurts right now, but this is amazing!"
Portugal's Vera Nunes, previously a national event winner, ran hard to capture the women’s overall crown with a distance of 53.78km in the day's most exciting finish. Nunes, running in Munich, Germany, claimed the win by a margin of just 50m over Croatia's Nikolina Šustić.
Three localities in Slovakia were part of the fifth edition of Wings for Life World Run. Vysoké Tatry (The High Tatras), Žilina and Bratislava were hosting runners and wheelchair users from all over the country. Local winners were both running in Bratislava. Mária Gašparíková finished at 30.48km: "This was my fourth Wings for Life World Run and I truly can’t believe I ran such a distance!” Martin Köteles was part of the global race for the third time and he was caught by virtual Catcher Car at 33.69km: "Perfect location, nice track with hills, both shadow and sunshine. I’ve had expected to run shorter distance, according to the wind and camber. I’m really happy with the result!“
The female wheelchair winner from 2017 - Jadranka Marić – was participating in App Run Bratislava this year. She did a great job on the track full of steep hills and camber. She managed to reach almost 10km without any help: "The track was kind of difficult for wheelchair participants. You could see it on my hands, they are full of blisters. But it was great! What I like the most is the idea of running together - same day and same time -with the whole world. No one is organizing such a race.”
Wings for Life World Run made the whole world running together for those who can’t. One hundred percent of entry fees and donations raised in the Wings for Life World Run –over 3,000,000 euros in the 2018 edition alone, with more still coming in – goes to leading-edge research funded by the non-profit Wings for Life foundation.