Ashwini Ponnappa gets behind 1 of 35 catcher cars for 2015 Life World Run
Shuttler, Ashwini Ponnappa drives the 2015 Life World Run catcher car. The run gets underway at 4:30 pm from Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Gurgaon on Sunday, 3rd May.
Former F1 driver David Coulthard, edge of space jumper Felix Baumgartner, Paris-Dakar champion Marc Coma, and US motorcyclist Ricky Johnson are also among 35 Catcher Car drivers that will chase participating runners during Wings for Life World Run edition 2 this weekend.
Registration for 2015 Life World Run closes today (April 28). The global charity run already has 60,000 registered runners this year. Amongst others, local ambassadors for Life World Run are Maj. DP Singh, CS Santosh, Tania Sachdev and Ayushmann Khurrana. Elsewhere, Australian Formula One drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Mark Webber, German marathon champion Sabrina Mockenhaupt and French World Cup downhiller Luc Alphand will participate. For a runner to be announced a winner, they need to outrun all other participants and be the last one the catcher car crosses.
David Coulthard will be at Silverstone driving at 15 km/h, and will cross former team mate Mark Webber, who would be running. Other catcher car drivers include Bruno Kernen and Jon Olsson, Abdo Feghali, Ireland’s rugby union star Simon Zebo and GP2 talent Pierre Gasly.
Felix Baumgartner will drive the Wings for Life World Run catcher car in Bucharest, Romania. His goal is to be the last catcher car driver out there, which would mean Romania would crowns the Global Champion.
In 2014, rally driver Franz Wittmann was the last catcher car driver on the day when he caught Global Champion, Ethiopian Lemawork Ketema, after five hours and 78 kilometres in Donautal, Lower Austria.
Half an hour after the start (11.30am UTC), catcher cars start driving at 15km/h (9.32 miles/hr). With each passing hour, they increase speed in a predetermined manner, i.e., 12.30, speed up to 16km/h, 13.30 to 17km/h, 14.30 to 20 km/h, and 16.30 to 35 km/h.
All catcher cars will speed up at the same time, and maintain the same speed. After two and a half hours, runners will have covered 31km. As Wings for Life World Run starts at 11am UTC in all 35 locations, Global Race Control and use of tech ensures all drivers speed up at the same moment.
Catcher cars are fitted with tracking tech developed for Wings for Life World Run. Local and global ranking for runnesr si determined by distance covered before being passed by a Catcher Car, not time spent running. Two German catcher cars in Munich and Darmstadt have been modified for drivers with spinal cord injury.