The Wings For Life Run is the latest groundbreaking event from Red Bull.
An innovative new running race concept organized by energy drink maker Red Bull is expected to have more than 100,000 runners running simultaneously in at least 35 countries on six continents next May 4, all in the name of spinal cord injury research. Among those race sites, four will be in the U.S., including Atlantic City, N.J., Sunrise, Fla., Denver, Colo., and Santa Clarita, Calif.
Known as the Wings For Life World Run, the groundbreaking race format will send runners off at 10 a.m. UTC (and equivalent times around the globe) on a predetermined race course. But runners won’t run a set distance; instead the finish line will be chasing them rather than the runners running towards it.
Confusing? Here’s how it works: 30 minutes after the start signal sounds and the runners leave the start line, an official “catcher car” will simultaneously set off at each course in pursuit of the runners. This pace will accelerate at determined intervals to a rigid global schedule. When the catcher car passes a runner, that runner’s race is over and it’s time to catch the shuttle back to start area for the post-race party.
As the race progresses, the catcher cars will accelerate, eliminating competitors as they pass them, until there’s a single man and woman left running in each race venue around the world. Those runners will be crowned the Global Champions of the Wings for Life World Run; location champions and country champions will also be named.
The race will start at 6 a.m. ET at the Atlantic City and Florida events, 4 a.m. MT for the Denver event and 3 a.m. PT for the California race site. The entry fee is $50 for the U.S. events.
Among those taking part and serving as ambassadors for the event will be Red Bull athletes Colorado’s Lindsey Vonn (ski racing champion), Utah’s Karl Meltzer (champion ultrarunner), California’s Robby Naish (windsurfing icon) and Brit David Coulthard (ex-Formula One driver).
“I’m inspired by the Wings for Life World Run and what they are trying to accomplish, which is finding a cure for spinal cord injuries,” Vonn said in a press release. “This is an opportunity for everyone to be part of a global race—and run for those who can’t.”
Other race locations will include cities in the United Kingdom, German, Ireland, France, Russia, New Zealand, Italy, Turkey, Peru, South Africa, Taiwan, India, South Korea, Romania among other countries. The only other other North American race locations will be Cancun, Mexico and Saskatoon, Canada.
The race’s website says 100 percent of proceeds will go to the Wings for Life Foundation, which funds research for curing spinal cord injuries. Three million people worldwide suffer from spinal cord injury and there are 130,000 cases diagnosed each year. According to the website: “The run will unite athletes around the world, in one race running for those who can’t!”