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'World's largest running event' races into Houston for a good cause

'World's largest running event' races into Houston for a good cause

Wings for Life race Houston
Join runners across the world at Wings for Life. Photo courtesy of Wings of Life

The largest running event in history is coming to Houston.

The Wings for Life World Run, which raises money for spinal cord injury research, kicks off at 6 am Sunday, May 8. The annual event unites runners around the globe via the Wings for Life World Run App and the Audio Experience that will inform, entertain, and motivate participants. 

Here in Houston, runners, power walkers, and wheelchair rollers can join their choice of organized Wings For Life event runs. The University of Houston will host the run at its outdoor track; the event will feature a DJ, breakfast snacks, plenty of Red Bull and water, and potentially, a visit from a Red Bull athlete. This event is welcome to runners, walkers, and wheelchair users, per a release.

Another organized and scenic run will take place at Eleanor Tinsley Park (within Buffalo Bayou Park) accessible from Allen Parkway, where participants can load up on pre-run snacks, fruit, Red Bull and water.

Both events start at 6 am, which coincides with the start of events all over the country.

As for runners, there is no set finish line. Instead, 30 minutes after the start signal, the app’s virtual Catcher Car will start moving and gradually accelerate to overtake the participants one by one. Once the virtual Catcher Car has passed the runner, their race is over, and they are knocked out of contention.

Now in its ninth year, Wings for Life raised nearly $5 million for spinal cord research in 2021 through entry fees and donations for the Wings for Life USA – Spinal Cord Research Foundation, Inc.

A total of 1,029,513 miles were completed — by the numbers, that equals running more than 41 times around the globe. Some 84,236 registered participants across 195 different nations participated last year.

“The excitement is really building up,” said Anita Gerhardter, global CEO for Wings For Life. “Last year was overwhelming considering the circumstances, and this year we want to grow even bigger because we have created a really bold vision that by 2025 we aim to have 1 million runners in the Wings For Life World Run.

Everyone can participate, this is the beauty of this run because the finish line comes from behind. So if you stroll or take a power walk you might just be covering a few miles, but if you’re sportier you might complete 10, 20 or even 30 miles. But it doesn’t matter, it’s just you against your own personal goal.”

To register for the run and download the app, visit www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com.