Wings for Life World Run to return on 3 May 2015

The world’s global run reveals new locations and opens registration

In 2014, a new race format was born. Runners of all abilities – fun runners and fanatics, young and old – from 164 nations ran at the very same time on six continents and in 34 locations before the very last runner, Lemawork Ketema (Ethiopia) was overtaken after 78km by the "Catcher Car". The 2015 edition of the Wings for Life World Run will be on May 3, 11am UTC with new tracks and entirely new countries. The 34 national winners in 2014 were asked first to select the country they want to start in a "Champions Pick" earlier this week – bringing this year a direct duel between the two 2014 male finalists. Registration is now open for everyone.

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Starting almost 40.000 participants at exactly the same time, worldwide, is one challenge, but the Wings for Life World Run goes one step further and changes the face of racing altogether: thirty minutes after the athletes start, the "Catcher Car" will begin to follow them. Driving slowly first but increasing its speed at given periods in time, the "Catcher Car" is the moving finish line. Equipped with electronic sensors, the "Catcher Car" will pass the athletes, registering their digital chips on its way to the leaders. The last athlete to be caught worldwide is the global champion.

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In this week's "Champions Pick", 2014's national winners were asked to select their 2015 starting country. Lemawork Ketema (Ethiopia) and Remigio Quispe (Peru) will start alongside each other in Austria - will they make it more than 90 meters between them this time? A surprising number opted for Melbourne, Australia, excited about running into the night; the new track in Japan also drew many of the winners' eyes. All the decisions will be featured on the Wings for Life World Run page.

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While Austria looks, once again, to be a thrilling race, we are also excited to welcome five new tracks -- in Japan, Russia, Dubai, Denmark, and a second track in Germany. To make the Wings for Life World Run available to the many more people expected to participate, Australia’s race is moving from Busselton across the continent to Melbourne. Brazil’s course will take up residence in Brasilia, France’s near Rouen, and Spain’s will leave Barcelona and relocate to the charming town of Aranjuez near Madrid.

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Running for those who can't
The Wings for Life World Run was introduced to support the not-for-profit Wings for Life foundation, which funds spinal cord research projects all over the world. Millions of people around the world are living with a spinal cord injury. Every year, at least 250,000 more sustain a traumatic spinal cord injury, following traffic accidents, tragic falls and slips.

One-hundred percent of the entry fees from the Wings for Life World Run as well as all sponsorship goes straight into research. Said Anita Gerhardter, CEO of Wings for Life: “The Wings for Life World Run was an amazing global sports event in its first year. We hope that even more athletes take part in 2015 and that we raise again a substantial amount of money for spinal cord research.” More than €3 million was raised in 2014.

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Colin Jackson, who was known to be one of the world’s best hurdle runners in his prime, acts as International Sports Director of the race: “Spinal cord injury could happen to anyone. Everyone is an awkward slip or fall away from a shocking, life-changing accident. And there’s not enough investment into research about it. We need to raise money so we can capture the best scientists who will stick around and make a real difference in people’s lives.”

Wings for Life CEO Anita Gerhardter (R) of Austria and Wings for Life World Run Race Director Colin Jackson (L) of Great Britain

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International sports personalities and celebrities worldwide rallied and became ambassadors as well as active participants: Austrian ultra-runner Christian Schiester, Danish Ironman European champion Camilla Pedersen, ski legend Luc Alphand (France), Chilean model and TV host Javiera Acevedo, Olympic champion Aksel Svindal (Norway), F1 drivers Mark Webber (Australia) and David Coulthard (Great Britain) are just a few who support the event. Even three-time Olympic ski jump champion Thomas Morgenstern (Austria) will come out of retirement to run for those who can’t.

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