Wings for Life World Runners raise over $4.9m
Numbers told only part of the story as the ninth annual run for those who can’t brought together people from around the world for a great day out at the Wings for Life World Run 2022.
“Whenever a lot of people join forces, great things happen.”
Those were the words of Anita Gerhardter, CEO of the not-for-profit Wings for Life foundation, and the proof was in the smiling faces of everyone who ran, rolled and walked in the latest edition of the Wings for Life World Run.
In 165 countries all around the globe, 161,892 participants from 192 nations came together to raise an incredible $4.9m, with 100 percent of those funds going to cutting-edge spinal cord research that the foundation supports.
“I’m deeply grateful that so many people went out running for our cause today,” said Gerhardter. “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 Wings for Life World Run has a unique format with a simultaneous start and a moving finish line called the Catcher Car. This year’s participants were able to challenge a virtual version on the run’s App, or, for the first time since 2019, face a physical Catcher Car at one of seven large-scale Flagship Runs. With sun in Cairo, rain in New York, hail in Croatia and snow in Sweden, the conditions could hardly have been more diverse.
The sporting side of the world’s largest running event was thrilling. Running in Santa Monica, California, Nina Zarina (RUS) stayed ahead of the Virtual Catcher Car of the Wings for Life World Run App for over 34 miles to win for the fourth consecutive time, more wins than any other woman or man in the history of the event. Meanwhile, the men’s competition was a nail-biter, with Jo Fukuda (JPN) edging out a win with a run of 40 miles in Fukuoka, despite close challenges by talents including Britain’s Tom Evans.
Results for everyone who participated, searchable by name as well as by team, are available here.
Some of the most inspiring moments came as participants showed the potential that research holds for those affected by spinal cord injury. Among the promising research projects supported by the foundation is a clinical study from Switzerland called Stimulation Movement Overground (STIMO), which enabled two paralysed men – Switzerland’s David Mzee and Italy’s Michel Roccati – to take part in the run under their own power, without a wheelchair.
Another groundbreaking example of a Wings for Life–supported project is a clinical study in the USA called RESET. Its aim is to induce damaged nerves to regrow and reconnect in patients who suffer from long-term spinal cord injury.
Christian Horner, Team Principal of the Oracle Red Bull Racing Formula One team, said, “Wings for Life is an amazing organisation, an amazing charity, and they’re making real gains – scientific breakthroughs. In the Wings for Life World Run, you don’t have to run that far, you don’t have to run that long, and anybody can do it anywhere. It’s a great thing to get involved in – it really is making a difference, and it's going to make a difference to so many people’s lives if a cure for spinal cord injury is found.”
Next year’s Wings for Life World Run will be a special edition. The 10th anniversary will take place on May 7, 2023 and registration is already open at www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com.