May 5 2019. The UK Wings for Life App Run in Chiswick Business Park was won by Owen Edwards with the virtual catcher car finally catching him after he ran 33 km.
The Wings for Life World Run is a truly unique and global race for both runners and wheelchair participants. Instead of a finish line, competitors race side by side to keep ahead of the virtual Catcher Car. Now in its sixth year, Wings for Life World Run returned to the UK with the App Run format allowing participants in the United Kingdom to run together until the virtual Catcher Car caught all those taking part.
The race started at 12:00 and 30 minutes later, the virtual Catcher Car started at 14 km/h and steadily increased its speed until the last athlete had been caught. 100% of all donations and the entry fees go directly into spinal cord research projects.
Chiswick Business Park in London hosted the UK App Run. Which saw 120 participants take part at the 3 km closed road circuit. Locals Owen Edwards and Sophie Mckeeman won the UK men’s and women’s race respectively.
After the race, Owen Edwards commented, “It was amazing, the supporters and volunteers were great. The general atmosphere was just incredible. Thanks to everyone at Red Bull and Wings for Life for putting this event on”.
He added, “It was tough at the beginning, not really knowing what pace I was running but I settled into a good pace. I wanted to get a PB, which was just under 33 km and really wasn’t expecting to win so, yeah really good!”.
The UK women’s race was won by London local Sophie Mckeeman who covered 32.1 km.
Following her win, Sophie Mckeeman said, “It was quite tough towards the end, knowing the car was catching up. The good vibes pulled me through. There were people all around the course so it didn’t get boring at all. I ran just over 30 km, I went off a bit quick, to begin with, but I slowed it down a bit and tried to hang on as long as possible before the Catcher Car caught me. I didn’t have a distance in mind, I just went for it!”.
Also participating in the race was Steven Dowd from London. Three year’s ago, Dowd was paralysed from the chest down after falling from his bike in London. The Wings for Life Foundation funded a clinical trial that has helped him get back on his feet and he took part in the event in Chiswick Park to raise money and awareness of the spinal cord charity.
After finishing Steven Dowd said, “I’ve just run 7 km when I had a target of 5 km. Just to put that into context, three years ago I broke my neck and I was paralysed from the neck down. I never thought I’d move again let alone run!”
A record 120,000 registered runners charged past start lines at 323 locations in 72 countries at 11 am UTC
for the fifth annual Wings for Life World Run. At high noon and in the deep of night, in rain and in the blazing sun, recreational runners and top long-distance pros from around the globe came together to run simultaneously, raising awareness and much-needed funds for spinal cord research.
Emotions ran high at the Swiss leg of the race when David Mzee of Switzerland, who has been paralyzed for nearly a decade due to spinal cord injury, walked across the start line at today’s Wings for Life World Run in Zug. The milestone moment was one of many highlights in the sixth annual charity event that raises funds to find a cure for spinal cord injury. More than 120,000 registered runners and wheelchair participants raced in more than 323 locations across 72 countries. In a thrilling race finish, Ivan Motorin of Russia achieved 67.1 km to clinch the title of men’s Global Champion, while Nina Zarina of Russia took the Global Women’s title in Zug, Switzerland 53.7 km.
Mzee has become the embodiment of what the Wings for Life World Run is all about. Fellow participants in Zug and the millions watching live around the world held their breath as he pushed up from his wheelchair and walked forward independently for several minutes.
With each historic step, the 31-year-old brought to life the real human impact of a technologically complex research breakthrough announced last fall. One hundred percent of entry fees and donations raised by the run goes to projects supported by the Wings for Life Foundation, which funds the most promising spinal cord injury research to find a cure. The 2019 edition of the Wings for Life World Run has raised 3.5 million euros so far, with more still coming in.
At each location, the moving Catcher Car finish line was driven by sporting stars as Dakar Rally champion Matthias Walkner (AUT), record-setting ski jumper Adam Małysz (POL) and Formula One legend David Coulthard (GBR), while World Champion skier Henrik Kristofferson (NOR) “drove” the virtual Catcher Car, congratulating participants using the Wings for Life World Run App. Also supporting the run were renowned names like beach volleyball sensation Eduarda “Duda” Santos Lisboa (BRA), multiple Ironman winner Daniela Ryf (SUI), five-time Dakar champ Cyril Despres (FRA) and mountain bike World Cup champion Yana Belomoina (UKR).
The seventh edition of the Wings for Life World Run will be held on Sunday, May 3, 2020. For registration alerts, complete 2019 global results and unforgettable race highlights, plus the full race broadcast on demand and more: