Last year the world moved together and ran, walked and rolled – all for the good cause. And what a day it was! At runs in 165 countries all around the globe, 161,892 participants from 192 nations joined together for the ninth annual edition of the Wings for Life Word Run, together raising an incredible 4.7 million euros for spinal cord research.
“Whenever a lot of people join forces, great things happen,” said Wings for Life CEO Anita Gerhardter. “I’m deeply grateful that so many people went out running for our cause today. 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.”
Some of the most inspiring moments in the run came as participants showed the potential of Wings for Life–supported research with their own achievements. The Wings for Life foundation finances promising research projects like a clinical study from Switzerland called Stimulation Movement Overground (STIMO), which has been supported since the beginning. It enabled two paralyzed men – Switzerland’s David Mzee and Italy’s Michel Roccati – to participate in the Wings for Life World Run under their own power, without a wheelchair.
Another groundbreaking example for research supported by the foundation is a clinical study in the US called RESET which has been funded with $7 million. Its aim is to induce damaged nerves to regrow and reconnect in patients who suffer from long-term spinal cord injury.
Of course, with a simultaneous start around the globe, weather is always a fascinating part of the run, and the conditions last year could hardly have been more diverse. The hottest temperature was in Jaipur, India (42 C/108 F) and the coldest in Nuussuag, Greenland (-8 C/18 F), according to the official race weather forecaster, UBIMET. The beauty of the world’s largest running event was that no matter where the runners were or what their personal goals were: they were all part of something big and special.
The sporting side of things was thrilling, too. Running with the App in Santa Monica, California, Nina Zarina stayed ahead of the Virtual Catcher Car for 56.00 kilometers 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 Japan’s Jo Fukuda managing 64.43 kilometers in Fukuoka for his first global win.
In all, the 2022 participants took an astounding 1,906,835,304 steps before they were caught by the Catcher Car, covering an average of 11.9 kilometers each!
The Wings for Life World Run this year will be a special edition. The 10th anniversary will take place on May 7, 2023, and registration is of course open.
For more information on registering for this year's run, visit www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com.