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The Wings For Life World Run Celebrated Its 10th Anniversary With A Record-breaking 206,728 Participants, Making It The Biggest Running Event In The World

  • 4 min read

4.7K South Africans took to the streets in support of spinal cord research 

Sunday’s Wings for Life World Run kicked off at 1 p.m. with an abundance of enthusiasm with a number of 206,728 participants of 192 nationalities in 158 countries set off together running, walking or rolling, to keep ahead of the Catcher Car. A total of R117,1 million was raised to help support the research of spinal cord injuries.  South Africa’s participants Jenna Spooner won the race under the women’s category clocking 42.62kms, alongside Riaan Barnard in the men’s category with 47.08kms.

“I wanted to run the event for those who can’t, it’s a special event to be part of my goal was to run and really enjoy the race. Today’s plan was to run for an hour and a half, but I started enjoying it and hit the 40km mark until the Catcher Car caught me” stated Jenna Spooner who clocked 42,62 KMs on the day.

South African runners, young, old, and wheelchair users estimated at 4.7K  participants, came in their numbers to support the cause. Some of the runners that took to the streets included Red Bull OCR Athlete Thomas van Tonder,  and Ultra trail runner  Ryan Sandes. An average of 11.59 kilometres was covered by runners by the time the Catcher Car finished the race for them. In this year’s Run Team Red Bull South Africa covered an average of 1498km which was 136km more than last year which enabled them to move up the ranks from 45th place to 43rd place. But in fact, time or distance didn’t matter at all – it was all about the fun and the spirit of everybody coming together for a good cause, with 100% of all entry fees and donations going directly to spinal cord research. 

Ultra trail runner and Red Bull athlete Ryan Sandes commented on the importance of Wings for Life World Run;  “I can’t imagine a day without running or being able to move, so for me Wings For Life has a close place in my heart, just running for those that can’t run. This is the 10th year now and I have been to every single one and I’m just as excited as the first one.”

The global field of participants began at the same moment throughout the world, and all runners were virtually connected via the Wings for Life World Run App. This served as the foundation for the unique community experience, which was supplemented with motivating comments and messages from the virtual Catcher Car, which began the chase 30 minutes after the runners’ start. Participants were able to experience the same event feeling that is adored all over the world by using the app. 

The 10th Wings for Life World Run marks a milestone: “Now I’m totally overwhelmed; I am happy beyond words and I am so proud of everyone who helped us to make this happen. Today, 206,728 world runners walked, ran, rolled, and raced the amount of R117,1 million. And having felt the World Run vibes I know for sure that we will have the power to find a cure for spinal cord injury. If so many people join forces we will make that happen. So a heartfelt thank you to each and everyone who was part of this race today. Thank you so much. And next year, May 5th, it would be great to see all of you at the start line again,” said Anita Gerhardter, CEO of Wings for Life.

The 11th edition of the Wings for Life World Run will take place on May 5, 2024. Registration opens later this year. Participants can set a notification at 

Full results list, news, and reactions are available at