Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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See how thousands ran for those who can’t

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The sixth edition of the Wings for Life World Run was the biggest yet, as some 120 000 runners from across the globe came together to run for those who can’t. This is what went down.

Niklas Sjöblom (Swe) and Olesya Nurgalieva (Rus) won the South African edition of Wings for Life World Run, in Pretoria.

Nurgalieva took the women’s race, completing a distance of 44,7km before the catcher car caught her, while Sjöblom completed 54.3km before he was caught.

Meanwhile, running in Kakheti, Georgia, 2018 South African winner Admire Muzopambwa (Zim) managed 45,8km.

Niklas Sjöblom – © Craig Kolesky / Red Bull Content Pool

Despite this year’s Catcher Car – driven by 5fm’s Nick Hamman – increasing in speeds faster than any previous year, winning distances were still impressive. However, this race is not about those who win, but about the funds raised for those who cannot run…

More than 5000 abled and differently-abled South Africans took part in the local leg of the race, held at Irene Agricultural Farm in Tshwane on Sunday. This included the likes of trail ace, Ryan Sandes, among others.

In its biggest year to date, the Wings for Life World Run saw over 120 000 runners from 72 places cross the start line, all in the name of raising funds for spinal cord injury research.

The Catcher Car – © Sam Clark / Red Bull Content Pool

The global event, held annually in 12 locations around the world, encourages people to run for those who can’t and provides much-needed funding for spinal cord research with 100% of the entry fee going to the Wings for Life Foundation.

Now in its sixth year, the Wings for Life World Run raised a record-breaking R56-million that will be used towards finding a cure for spinal cord injury.

All for one, and one for all – © Tyrone Bradley / Red Bull Content Pool

This event was particularly remarkable, with Swiss participant David Mzee, who was paralyzed in a 2010 gymnastics accident, walking across the start line unassisted – the first such achievement made possible by the funds raised in this iconic event.

Mzee, who was one of three clinical-trial participants receiving Stimulation Movement Overground (STIMO) treatment took his first steps a few months ago and joined the 120 thousand participants in this year’s World Run to give others affected by spinal cord injury the hope that a cure is in sight.

Some stats from the day:
  • 323 locations (31 official app run, 12 event)
  • 72 countries
  • 186 nationalities
  • Over 120 000 registered runners
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