Walking for Those Who Can’t

The general trend of attending “fun runs” for charity has recently gained a lot of popularity especially among collegians. There’s the Color Run, Highlighter Run, Spartan Race, and the college famous Undie Run. All these different runs aim to support separate charities via the admission fees or donations. Most of the time, the charities only get a portion of the proceeds of the money raised. However, one mad dash stands apart from the others because of its mission, what it has already accomplished from its success, and how the race is set up.

The Wings for Life World Run is a charity run that takes place on May 4th in 35 different cities, on six continents at the exact same time around the globe. 100 percent of the proceeds from the run go to the Wings for Life foundation, dedicated to the research of curing spinal cord injuries, the motto of the run being “Running for those who can’t.” The idea is to have athletes of every level all over the world uniting for one cause. This run is unique not only because of the simultaneous start time, but also in the way that the race is designed.

The race has no set distance but is instead like playing a giant game of tag. The runners begin their run, then after a half hour has passed a designated “catcher car” will begin to drive the course trying to chase the runner. Once the car passes a runner, that runner’s race is over. Everyone starts in the same place but ends in different areas. In the end, the catcher car accelerates to eliminate more and more runners until there is a single man or woman running globally. This person is then crowned the Global Champion. Champion titles will also be handed out for location, region, and country champions.

This foundation has been funding the last nine years of research, has founded over 82 different research projects with 247 scientific reviewers and involving 10 countries. The foundation is unlike any I have ever seen. The fact of 100 percent of the profits going to the research teams alone is something that makes this foundation stand out from the crowd, but even the website and the way that information is spread about the World Run is enticing to say the least. I am going to be running the World Run in May at the Southern California location. Since signing up, I’ve received tips on how to train, different ways to get involved, and updates on projects. Usually, those types of emails would go directly to my spam folder, but not these. The info is easy to read, short and sweet, and always gets the reader pumped for the run with different links back to the website. The website has a LeVar Burton “Don’t take my word for it” reading rainbow type section where people who have registered are encouraged to share their opinions, tips, and experiences in a forum. I have spent a few hours on their website reading the different testimonials and inspirational stories from runners about why they are running. Each one is incredibly heartfelt and submitted by participants.

The Wings for life World Run has done an excellent job promoting this charity event. They’ve put in work to rally people around a truly noble cause. I’m happy to be helping support the next nine years of spinal injury research, and look forward to running even at 3 a.m.