The world moved closer together on Sunday, May 8 and ran, walked, and rolled united hand-in-hand for a good cause as 161,892 participants from 192 nations at runs in 165 countries all around the globe raised 4.7 million euros at the ninth annual Wings for Life World Run.
Runners and wheelchair users raised the money for spinal cord research through their entry fees and donations with Jo Fukuda (JPN, 64.43 kilometers, Tokyo/JPN) and Nina Zarina (RUS, 56.00 kilometers, Santa Monica/USA) the respective men’s and women’s winners of the 2022 event.
This year the worldwide participants covered an average 11.9 kilometres by the time the Catcher Car – the moving finishing line – caught and passed them with results available at www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com
Anita Gerhardter, CEO Wings for Life, declared: “Whenever a lot of people join forces, great things happen. I’m deeply grateful that so many people went out running for our cause today.
Over the past years, we’ve already made big steps towards finding a cure for spinal cord injury and thanks to today’s participants we can continue to fund brilliant scientists on their journey.”
The ninth edition saw thousands of enthusiastic participants joining all around the world individually with the App or in organised groups at 217 App Run Events, where everyone ran together before being chased down one by one by the Virtual Catcher Car.
There was also the return of seven big Flagship Runs – after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic – with Vienna (Austria), Munich (Germany), Zug (Switzerland), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Zadar (Croatia), Poznan (Poland) and Izmir (Turkey) seeing participants pursued by physical Catcher Cars steered by the likes of ski-jumping legend Adam Malyz in Poland and German motorsport star Sophia Floersch.
“Seeing my friend Eliud Kipchoge make the world a better place through his run, it inspired me to also want to do the same,” said Fukuda, referring to the Kenyan marathon champion’s charity work. “This year I wanted to challenge myself and win first place so I am very happy,” he added.
Zarina, who ran individually with the App and won impressively for the fourth straight time, said: “I am very happy to have won in Santa Monica today. It’s hard to run 55 kilometres alone, however I am very happy to be with all runners together finally again.”
Sun in Cairo, rain in New York, hail in Croatia and snow in Sweden: The conditions for the runners could hardly have been more diverse at the Wings for Life World Run.
The hottest temperature recorded for the runners was in Jaipur, India (42 C/108 F) and the coldest in Nuussuag, Greenland (-8 C/18 F), according to the official race weather forecaster UBIMET.
The same great diversity applied for the local times. The worldwide field of participants started off at exactly 11 a.m. UTC. At some locations such as in Auckland, New Zealand it was a night-time run, while in other locations like Los Angeles and in Mexico City it was an early morning run.
It was a midday race throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The beauty of the world’s largest running event was that no matter where the runners were and what their personal goals were: they were all part of something big and special.
From running novices to experienced ultra-distance runners, old and young, runners and wheelchair users – the starting field of the Wings for Life World Run was again an eclectic mix of humanity.
Everyone was welcomed at the Wings for Life World Run as the unique race format made it possible for participants with completely different ability levels to walk, run and roll together for the good cause.
At the Wings for Life World Run there is no set finish line, but a Catcher Car that starts 30 minutes after the runners sets off in hot pursuit and overtakes one participant after another.
Since 2014, a grand total of 1,086,988 participants have taken part in the global charity run. The one-millionth participant signed up just this year and ran at the Flagship Run in Zug (SUI), where he proudly carried his ceremonial golden start number on his run.
A total of 10,266,768 kilometres have been covered since the first event and most importantly a total of 38 million euros have been raised. 100% of all entry fees and donations goes directly to spinal cord research and help to find a cure for spinal cord injury.
The Wings for Life foundation supports promising research projects like a clinical study from Switzerland called Stimulation Movement Overground (STIMO), which has been supported since the beginning.
It enabled the two paralysed men – Swiss David Mzee and Italian Michel Roccati – to participate in the Wings for Life World Run under their own power – without a wheelchair.
Another groundbreaking example is a clinical study in the US called RESET which has been funded with $7 million. Its aim is to induce damaged nerves to regrow and reconnect in patients who suffer from long-term spinal cord injury.
Next year’s Wings for Life World Run will be a special edition. The 10th anniversary will take place on May 7, 2023, and many participants already registered immediately right after the race for this extraordinary event. Registration for the 2023 run is already open.
All results as well as information on how to register for the 2023 run can be found at www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com
Unofficial Wings for Life World Run 2022 results
Name, nationality, running location, kilometres achieved
1. Jo Fukuda, JPN, Tokyo (JPN), 64.43km
2. Jonas Mueller, GER, Edinburgh (GBR), 63.93km
3. Dariusz Nozynski, POL, Poznan (POL), 63.90km
Name, nationality, running location, kilometres achieved
1. Nina Zarina, RUS, Santa Monica (USA), 56.00km
2. Patrycja Talar, POL, Poznan (POL), 53.56km
3. Sophia Sundberg, SWE, Ljubljana (SLO), 49.39km