South Africa has been crowned Champion of the 2021 Vitality Running World Cup. Qualifying for the Finals in 2nd position, South Africa leapt up the leaderboard to take the win with 134,000 runners participating in the tournament.

In second place was Namibia with Mongolia just behind in third. England finished fourth with 61,000 runners taking part.

Now in its third year, the world’s largest mass participation, free to enter running event, attracted over 628,000 registrations from 237 countries and territories with over 3.2 million kilometres completed over the three-week tournament. There were three knockout rounds to reach Champion status.

Taking place from 21 September to 10 October, the VRWC gave everyone – no matter their ability – a chance to run for their country in the world’s largest mass participation event. Each participant ran 3km in under 30 minutes to earn points for their country. Namibia, South Africa, England and Mongolia reached the Finals to go head to head for the 2021 crown.

Country captain Wayde van Niekerk says: “We are so excited to have taken the win at this year’s Running World Cup. I am so proud to have captained a country, that time and time again has rallied behind powerful causes, especially during what has been such a challenging time for so many during the pandemic. Today, we celebrate gold and a massive step toward achieving Vitality’s aim of getting 100 million people 20% more active by 2025. Congratulations to all the runners who participated from around the world!”

Aiming to spark a global movement in health by empowering people to be more active, Nick Beresford, founder of the Vitality Running World Cup says of this year’s event: “We send our biggest congratulations to South Africa and to all runners contributing to the win, our 2021 Champions. We have seen over 628,000 runners of all ages and abilities across the world lace up over the past three weeks – it has been incredible to watch.”

In second place, was Namibia with 3,408 runners. Just behind with Mongolia was 4,424 runners and in fourth place, England with 61,000.

Andre Nepgen, Head of the Global Vitality Network, says: “The Running World Cup is part of Vitality’s global initiative to help encourage 100 million people to get 20% more active by 2025. This exciting partnership builds on our successful interventions over many years in encouraging, physical activity.

“Physical inactivity today is one of the biggest threats to society in terms of its link to chronic diseases of lifestyle, which directly impacts mortality and morbidity. Given recent insights that improved physical activity can build resilience against COVID-19 and improve mental wellbeing – two additional macro health trends in our world – getting people more active every day needs our collective attention. We are excited to be partnering with the Running World Cup to get the world moving more.”

He added that a broader aim was for all participants to support UNICEF’s immunisation campaign, in the ongoing battle to protect children against Polio: “As runners completed their weekly goals on their Running World Cup app, Vitality donated a vaccine to a child in need through UNICEF.”

A staggering 189,403 Polio vaccines were donated worldwide through UNICEF as a result of the incredible commitment of the VRWC runners across the world.

Find out more about this year’s event and plans for 2022 at www.runningworldcup.com