As the incredible accomplishment of May 9 starts to sink in, it’s time to celebrate you, the Wings for Life World Runners. Each and every one of you 184,236 record-setting superstars. Together, you ran, rolled, walked and jogged into history: the largest run ever.
You ran in the heat (hello, Greece!), the rain (heya, Georgia!) and let’s not forget the snow (we’re looking at you, Norway). But nothing could slow you down.
Headlamps were shining from Asia and Oceania to the west coast of the Americas. Yet your spirit shone even brighter.
Some of you were lucky enough to run with a buddy; but even solo, you were never alone. On an empty rural road in South Africa, Thomas van Tonder was connected to the world through the Audio Experience.
“No one around – but everyone around me,” he said, pointing to his headphones as he charged along. “Amazing!”
You showed us cityscapes and forests, oceans and deserts, mountain meadows and waving palm trees. Some of you ran with your dogs, while one runner encountered grazing giraffes. In the Alps, this happened:
You inspired us. Like Gert-Jan Oskam of the Netherlands, part of a groundbreaking clinical trial supported by Wings for Life, who stood up from his wheelchair and walked over 100 meters without the assistance of electrical stimulation.
And you moved us. Like Gert-Jan’s countryman Ydwer van der Heide, who brought his loved ones to joyful tears by pushing his wheelchair over 2 km just three months after a life-changing spinal cord injury.
Like them, each one of you had your reasons for taking part. You ran and rolled toward your own personal fitness goals. You did it for family members, for friends, for everyone affected by spinal cord injury. You ran with love, you ran with heart and you ran united – all coming together, virtually, for those who can’t.
Finally, when the Catcher Car passed by, you leapt, you laughed, you cheered and you just couldn’t seem to stop smiling.
In total, you covered 1,656,841 km. And the 4.1 million euros raised by your participation will ensure that spinal cord researchers can come closer to a cure.
We’re so grateful. And we can’t wait to see what you have in store next year!
The Wings for Life World Run will be back on May 8, 2022.
... and keep that good feeling going.