Catcher Cars to leave start line half hour after runners start Wings for Life World Run
‘For some, the Catcher Car will be the most motivating part of the race; for others, it will be their biggest fear. Will it be welcomed or hated – let’s see!’ says Great Britain’s Olympic silver medallist, Colin Jackson, who is leading the charge of the Wings for Life World Run. These cars are what make the Wings for Life World Run so utterly different to anything that has come before.
Jackson, a highly regarded sports personality in Britain, will oversee the race on 4th May, when the world will start running, together, as one. ‘Runners of all levels, from first-timers and passionate amateurs to professional athletes, will set off at 10am UTC, running defined race tracks but not running a set distance.’
‘This is where it gets exciting,’ he enthused. Unlike normal running races, the finish line is chasing them rather than them running towards it; in short, you know where you start, but you do not know where you finish. ‘So this is how it works: half an hour after the start signal sounds and the first runners leave the start line, official Catcher Cars will simultaneously set off at each race track, worldwide, and pursue the runners. This pace will accelerate at determined intervals to a rigid global schedule. When the Catcher Car passes a runner, his or her race is over, and it’s time to catch the shuttle back to the start area to celebrate.’
Each location will have its own race and country winners, but, after the official Catcher Cars have accelerated over the hours, eliminating participants as they pass them, there will be one single man and one single woman left running, worldwide. Only they will be crowned the Global Champions of the Wings for Life World Run.
The Catcher Cars are fitted with completely new tracking technology, developed specifically for the Wings for Life World Run. A participant’s local and global ranking will be determined by the distance that they cover before being passed by a Catcher Car, not by their time spent running. The Catcher Cars are governed by the Wings for Life World Run rule book, ensuring fair and simultaneous progress on the 35 tracks around the world.
15.30 IST / 10.00 UTC – RACE START
16.00 IST / 10.30 UTC – CATCHER CAR STARTS ON COURSE – PACE: 15km/hr (9.32 miles/hr)
17.00 IST / 11.30 UTC – PACE INCREASE: 16km/hr (9.94 miles/hr)
18.00 IST / 12.30 UTC – PACE INCREASE: 17km/hr (10.56 miles/hr)
19.00 IST / 13.30 UTC – PACE INCREASE: 20 km/hr (12.43 miles/hr)
21.00 IST / 15.30 UTC – PACE INCREASE: 35km/hr (21.75 miles/hr)
The 35 tracks will encompass all manner of climates, weather conditions and time zones, all with distinctive light settings. All runners’ progress and final results across all tracks will be recorded by a timing tag hidden in each runner’s Individual Race Number. This tag is activated as they cross the start line and is deactivated and their final distance is recorded when they are passed by a Catcher Car.
When the Catcher Car passes the runner, he or she should slow down and head to the side of the road. Some locations will have a shuttle bus that picks people up; others will have shuttle bus stops that runners need to get to for a lift. Everyone, though, will be picked up and taken back to the start line, where they will be able to celebrate their run with friends both old and new.
How far will runners cover in the time? The Wings for Life Goal Calculator does all the difficult maths, so runners either enter the distance or time they want to run, and it calculates pace; or they put in estimated pace and get expected time and distance. The calculator shows where the official Catcher Car will overtake the runners and finish their race.
As this is the first Wings for Life World Run and a running concept never seen before, personal best doesn’t come into it. This time! But every runner out there will be taking precious steps towards finding a cure for the debilitating effects of spinal cord injury, with 100% of the proceeds from the race going directly to the Wings for Life Foundation.
The Wings for Life World Run is open to all individuals over 18. At select venues, including race tracks in the U.S., Canada and Australia, there will be separate races for participants using wheelchairs.