In a record-breaking global charity race, 130,732 people registered to compete at 34 locations in 33 countries for the third annual Wings for Life World Run, raising more than $7.5 million for spinal cord injury research.
In this worldwide race with no finish line, the last male and female running were Giorgio Calcaterra in Italy and Kaori Yoshida in Japan, who ran for 54.95 miles and 40.83 miles respectively, before being overtaken by the ‘Catcher Car,’ an innovative moving finish line that took off 30 minutes after the start and steadily increased its speed until the final runners were caught. These global champions, as well as all local race winners, will get to pick where they want to run in next year’s edition of the Wings for Life World Run.
Participants throughout the country included football legend Randy Moss, skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn, former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, and many others.
“The one thing that stood out for me is that we are running for those who can’t,” said Moss. “I played football for many years, but this is entirely different, the whole world is participating together for one cause.”
Produced by Red Bull in partnership with the Wings for Life Foundation, this ambitious global endeavor has now raised more than $16 million across three years, with 100% of all entry fees and donations directed to spinal cord injury research.
In the USA, Santa Clarita, Calif. runners Samuel Bradbury (37.78 miles) and Maibritt Daugaard (30.73 miles), and Sunrise, Fla., runners Simon Munyutu (38.24 miles) and Nathalie Vasseur (33.88 miles)were the last males and females running before being caught.
“The mentality going into this race is different than anything I’ve done before because there is no finish line,” said Santa Clarita winner Samuel Bradbury. “I set my goal of completing a marathon (26.2 miles) and seeing how I felt from there. After I completed the 26.2 miles I felt pretty good so I just kept going for as long as I could. As I was running I was thinking about how everyone else around the world was doing, knowing that there were other people out there pushing the limits and surprising themselves on achieving goals they didn’t think were possible.”
There were also 20,556 people worldwide who were not at any of the 34 official locations, but joined a Selfie Run, meaning they participated against a virtual catcher car on a path of their choosing via a downloadable app. Skiing and snowboarding stars Lindsey Vonn and Louie Vito participated in Selfie Runs from Louisville, Kentucky and Columbus, Ohio, where they spent the weekend.
Other ambassadors included Cory Hahn, a former college baseball player who was paralyzed in a game in 2010 and is helping the Wings for Life World Run raise funds for spinal cord injury research.In addition to LeGrand and Hahn, hundreds of notable athletes participated globally. Each was eventually caught and passed by the ‘Catcher Car.’ Here is a partial list of current and former professional athletes who participated: Olympians Mikaela Shiffrin and Greg Bretz; motorbike legend Robbie Maddison; Surfer Ian Walsh; BMX bike rider Corey Bohan; freestyle motocross star Ronnie Renner; mountain biker Rebecca Rusch; free skier Michelle Parker; NFL legend Randy Moss; Track & Field star Manteo Mitchell; and ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson.
The fourth edition of the Wings for Life World Run is already confirmed for May 7, 2017 and registration is open at wingsforlifeworldrun.com.