Johannesburg - Wings For Life World Run is a race designed to raise money, draw attention to the limitations and medical problems of people who are paraplegic, and potentially find a cure for spinal cord injuries.
Experiencing the World Run made Landie Greyling, who won the race last year in Centurion, conscious of how privileged she is as an able-bodied athlete.
She is happy to make a difference in the lives of others.
“There are so many people living with disabilities. By running in the Wings for Life World Run, I can help make a difference in their lives,” she said.
She said the race’s global presence helped reach many people around the world.
“Not only is the World Run for a good cause with 100% of the entry fees going to finding a cure, it’s also pretty exhilarating knowing that people from all over the world are running at the same time.”
The race format is unique in that there is no finish line. Instead, 30 minutes after the race starts, a catcher car slowly chases down participants, ending their race as the car overtakes them until one woman and one man are declared the winners.
“I found that the catcher car coming after me motivated me to run faster,” she said about the format of the race.
Greyling was caught after running 37km, and being the last woman still on the course made her the South African champion. The win meant she could choose to run any of the 12 races around the world this year.
“I am hoping to run in Denver in the US. I’d like to combine the race with a road trip to see Colorado and Utah,” she said.
The South African race will start at 1pm on May 6 at SuperSport Park in Centurion, while the Denver event will start at 4am.
Greyling says running early in the morning will be no problem for her: “Everyone around the world will run at the same time. It will just be different time zones, so for me it will be no problem.”
Paralympian and World Run ambassador Pieter du Preez said: “As the world celebrates International Wheelchair Day, we are reminded of those living with spinal cord injuries.
“The Wings for Life foundation invests in vital research projects to find a cure for spinal cord injuries – something that is not as far away as we might think.”
Last year, the initiative raised R97 million and Du Preez hopes to raise more money this year.
“Every year, you push further and further. I can’t tell you how much, but we are hoping for more,” said the 2016 Laureus World Sports Award nominee.
About 3 500 people turned up for last year’s event locally, and 100 000 runners from 189 countries hit the road.
“Being in a wheelchair myself, I encourage more disabled people to enter the race,” said Du Preez.
.Visit wingsforlifeworldrun.com/za/en/pretoria/ for more information. The entry fee is R175