Spread your wings for spinal cord injury

Wings for Life Catcher car
The Catcher Car catches up to Kelly-Ann Varey, winner of the 2015 Wings for Life World Run in Melbourne. Image – Mark Dadswell.


Melbourne, Vic will play host to a new form of road racing in 2016, with registrations now open for the global Wings for Life World Run event on May 8.

Starting at the same time in 34 countries, the race will begin at 9pm from the Toorak Road on ramp to the Monash Freeway at Hawthorn East, and will be a flat, well-maintained road surface under streetlights.

Because of the late start, participants will be required to wear a high visibility vest and headlamp, and wheelchair participants are being encouraged to enter.

With no set distance, runners must outrun a ‘Catcher Car’ – there is no finish line, and the goal is to keep ahead of the vehicle until it catches up to them.

Completely new tracking technology will be used this year, so thousands of runners across the world could be ranked fairly, and to ensure each year’s race would eventually end, the Catcher Cars will increase their speed at given intervals until the last runner is caught.

Wings for Life CEO Anita Gerhardter, originally from Austria, said the underlying reason behind the fun run was to fundraise for spinal cord injury research.

“The idea for the Wings for Life World Run originally came from two sport and event specialists from Austria,” she said.

“We were very excited when they introduced the concept of ‘running for those who can not’ to us because the event is a great way to both raise funds and awareness for our cause on a global scale.

“This event helps to accelerate scientific progress; advancement in spinal cord research is largely based on private initiatives and through the Wings for Life World Run we raise much needed funds.

“Also it brings global attention to the cause itself – spinal cord injury is a major problem that can happen to anyone.”

Gerhardter said her favourite destinations to run at would be Australia because it’s a night run, Portugal because the track is close to the beach, and her home country of Austria.

Wings for Life is a foundation that aims to find a cure for spinal cord injury.

The event on May 8 is now in its third year, and 100 per cent of the entry fees and donations raised by participants will go directly to the charity.

For more information and to register visit Wings for Life World Run.


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