A few weeks ago me and some friends took part in an amazing event called the Wings for Life World Run. Wings for Life is a charity that was started up by the founder of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz and his close friend and two-time motocross world champion, Heinz Kinigadner who's son was involved in a motorcycle accident which left him tetraplegic.
On realising that research into finding a cure for spinal cord injury is underfunded due to the relatively small number of people who sustain such injuries, but that finding a cure is a realistic possibility due to the research that has been done so far; the two set up the Wings for Life research foundation, with the aim of finding a cure for spinal cord injury. The foundation remains the sole charity supported by Red Bull.
The Wings for Life World Run is an event that takes place all over the world in 34 locations, including Australia, Japan, Brazil and Russia, all starting at the same time (12pm in the UK happily for us!). 30 minutes after the runners start, the Catcher Car sets off at 15km/hour, getting faster each hour. If the catcher car catches up with you you have to stop.
This year 130,732 runners took part, raising over £5million to go towards finding a cure for spinal cord injury!
I took part with three friends and I knew quite a lot of others taking part in wheelchairs too, not surprising really, given the cause. The atmosphere was absolutely amazing, throughout the whole run there were supporters on the side lines cheering us on, spraying us with water (it got up to 27 degrees that day!) and giving us drinks. It was such a support having people shouting our names the whole way and made the hot weather all the more bearable.
Whilst on the run I caught up with my friend Laurie and we pushed together for a while before we were caught by the catcher car which was being driven by David Coulthard! So although I was pretty gutted not to have got further before getting caught it was a good consolation to have got a high five from him!
The event was an awesome thing to be part of and we all vowed that we'll do it again next year. It is such a fantastic charity and great cause - I'm pretty determined to raise as much as possible next year as well as getting a bit further before being caught by the car. It was a little spontaneous this year so I didn't have many practice runs but next year, helped by my ski training, I'd like to try and hit the half marathon mark! Watch this space!