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Historic milestones reached around globe during fourth #wingsforlifeworldrun.
Sunday's fourth annual Wings for Life World Run managed to raise 6.8 million euros for spinal cord injury research by 155,288 registered participants.
Wheelchair participant Aron Anderson of Sweden is the new Men’s Global Champion (92.14km), while Bartosz Olszewski of Poland was the men’s runner who achieved the longest distance (88.24km). Another Polish athlete, runner Dominika Stelmach (68.21 km), was crowned the women’s Global Champion.
The unprecedented total of 155,288 people, from everyday heroes to elite #running champions, registered for Sunday’s global #event across 111 locations.
The movement began at 11am UTC, when participants simultaneously crossed start lines in 58 countries, whether it was day (Brazil) or night (Australia), heat and humidity (Taiwan) or a hailstorm in Slovenia, which didn’t stop enthusiastic participants including the country’s president, Borut Pahor, who ran 20.48km.
“Congratulations to everyone, everywhere, who participated, donated or volunteered,” said Wings for Life CEO Anita Gerhardter.
“By taking on this single challenge today, you’ve given hope to those who face countless challenges every day. The funds you’ve raised will enable top researchers to push forward with finding a cure to spinal cord injury.”
Many people ran side-by-side at #event locations, and large numbers of registered App Runners also took part worldwide, creating their own routes.
Part of the fun was the shared experience of being chased by a moving finish line, the Catcher Car, which was driven by famous names like Formula One’s David Coulthard in the UK and Carlos Sainz in Spain.
What the participants achieved together is even greater than the combined 1,431,183km that they covered (another record, surpassing last year’s mark by more than 176,000km), because 100% of entry fees and donations go directly to funding urgently needed spinal cord injury research.
Participation is what matters in the #wingsforlifeworldrun, and everyone can set their own goals. In a great day for racing, 27 course records fell, and the men’s and women’s overall records were shattered.
In the 40-degree heat of Dubai, professional Swedish adventurer Anderson achieved 92.14km in an everyday wheelchair, while Olszewski outpaced the Catcher Car to 88.24km in Milan, Italy.
Commenting on Anderson’s win, Marc Herremans, Sports Director Wheelchair for the #wingsforlifeworldrun, stated, “In a sports wheelchair this is normal, but he did this in a regular wheelchair according to the rulebook – an amazing achievement.
"It’s important to know that we’re all doing this for spinal cord injury. There are so many people who have tetraplegia and are paralyzed from the neck down. They can’t use their arms like Aron. So he’s racing not only for those who can’t walk, but also for those who can’t use their hands.”
Running in Chile, Stelmach smashed the women’s world record by over two kilometers thanks to 68.21km, with Austria’s Cornelia Moser (62.37km) and Portugal’s Vera Nunes (62.17km) rounding out the top three.
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Global Results MEN: 1. Aron Anderson (SWE) / #event in UAE 92.14km, 2. Bartosz Olszewski (POL) / Italy 88.24, 3. Lemawork Ketema (AUT) / Austria 87.16, 4. Giorgio Calcaterra (ITA) / Italy 87.15, 5. Tomasz Walerowicz (POL) / Poland 85.14, 6. Florian Neuschwander (GER) / Italy 83.49, 7. Elov Olsson (SWE) / Sweden 75.05, 8. Anton Rehn (SWE) / Sweden 74.55, 9. Philipp Aigner (AUT) / Netherlands 71.37, 10. Shishov Konstantin (RUS) / Russia (70.39)
Global Results WOMEN: 1. Dominika Stelmach (POL) / #event in Chile 68.21km, 2. Cornelia Moser (AUT)/ Italy 62.37, 3. Vera Nunes (POR) / Chile 62.17, 4. Olesya Nurgalieva (RUS) / Australia 60.97, 5. Elena Nurgalieva (RUS) / Australia 57.92, 6. Alexandra Morozova (RUS) / Russia 57.59, 7. Nathalie Vasseur (FRA) / California USA 57.24, 8. Sophia Sundberg (SWE) / Sweden 55.29, 9. Karen Torrealba (CHI) / Chile 55.16, 10. Nikolina Šustić (CRO) / Great Britain 55.14
About the Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation
Worldwide, millions of people are dependent on a wheelchair after having sustained a spinal cord injury, most often as the result of a traffic accident or a fall. Wings for Life is a not-for-profit spinal cord research foundation with the single mission to find the cure for spinal cord injury. Since 2004, Wings for Life has funded life-changing research projects and clinical trials around the globe. While the cure is still to be found, steady progress has been made. One hundred percent of the #wingsforlifeworldrun entry fees and fundraising from this global #running #event will help work toward Wings for Life’s ultimate goal. Every step taken at the Wings for Life World Run and with the #wingsforlifeworldrun App is a step in the right direction.
About the Wings for Life World Run
On one day each year the #wingsforlifeworldrun is held simultaneously in numerous locations and the App across the world, all starting at the same time, whether day or night, and all with the same goal – to raise money for the Wings for Life Foundation. Under its unique format, participants run as far as they can until they are passed by a moving finish line, the “Catcher Car,” which chases runners along the course, gradually getting faster until each runner has been caught. This moving finish line allows participants of any ability to complete the run – the slower ones are passed early while the last man and woman to be caught after starting from an #event location are declared #wingsforlifeworldrun Champions. 100% of entry fees and donations goes toward helping to find a cure for spinal cord injury; and in the four editions since it was launched in 2014, the World Run has attracted more than 435,000 people from 193 nationalities to participate in more than 58 countries across all seven continents. Altogether they have raised €20.6 million euros while covering more than 4.2 million kilometres.
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