Cambridge was the perfect setting to host the fourth Wings for Life World Run, May 7. Attracting the biggest crowds yet, the race saw over 3,500 people taking part in the unique knock-out competition.
The one of a kind synchronised charity run saw over 3,500 men and women set off at the start line in the heart of Cambridge in Parker’s Piece before heading towards the Fens. Jacek Cieluszecki (POL) was crowned the UK male champion at impressive distance of 68.8 km while Nikolina Šustić (CRO) clinched the title for the women with a distance of 55.14km before being caught by Formula One star, David Coulthard in the Catcher Car.
This year saw the largest amount of participants since the race began, with 155,288 taking part around the globe and a huge €6.8 million raised for research into finding a cure for spinal cord injuries.
Wings for Life international ambassador David Coulthard said from his Catcher Car: “What an amazing event! I couldn’t get over the strength of the winners and the support from the crowd in Cambridge. It’s great to see everyone here and around the world getting behind such an amazing cause and fundraising for spinal cord research. I’m already looking forward to coming back again next year.”
Male winner Jacek Cieluszecki (POL) said in Cambridge: “What a great event! I feel amazing and surprisingly stronger than I expected after running over 68km. At 58km I saw someone ahead of me and decided to speed up. I was hoping to place somewhere between third and fifth so to win is something I really didn’t expect.”
Female winner Nikolina Šustić (CRO) said on winning in Cambridge: “I’m so happy to have the hat-trick, I really wasn’t expecting to win. It was my third win in three countries which is pretty cool! Today in Cambridge was a little windy but it didn’t feel so bad as I was running with a great group most of the way. When I broke out on my own I was able to take in some beautiful scenery which I really enjoyed. I want to say a big thank you to all of my supporters back in Croatia, they kept me going through the race.”
Justin Levene, London, male wheelchair winner (32km) said on winning: “I’m delighted to have won here today. I won the inaugural Wings for Life World Run at Silverstone, in Peru the year after, and then in Cambridge last year. I’m delighted to be back and to win again in front of a home crowd. It was a tough course for me today but it was fun, I really enjoyed it. I’ll definitely be back next year to try to defend my title!”
Martyna Snopek, London, female wheelchair winner (16km) said: “Today was my third race with Wings for Life World Run and my third time to win, so I’d say my form has been consistent. I enjoyed today’s race the most – I was faster and went further than I’ve ever been before so all in all a better event for me. It was great to have locals out on the road cheering us on during the race and the atmosphere afterwards in the park has been buzzing. I hope to be back next year!”
A staggering 1,431,183 kilometres of running was pounded out across all 25 locations. Wheelchair participant Aron Anderson of Sweden is the new Men’s Global Champion (92.14km), while Bartosz Olszewski of Poland was the men’s runner who achieved the longest distance (88.24km). Another Polish athlete, runner Dominika Stelmach (68.21 km), was crowned the women’s Global Champion.