Former world champion hurdler Colin Jackson is helping to create a global buzz as the International Director for Sports for the Wings For Life World Run on May 4, 2014. The charismatic Olympic silver medallist from Great Britain aims to make the unique race that will be staged simultaneously in 35 countries an unforgettable experience while raising funds for research into spinal cord injury.
Jackson, a three-time world champion, said he was captivated by the slogan of the Wings For Life World Run: Running for those who can’t. The 46-year-old Olympic silver medallist (1988) is thrilled by the special challenges of organising the world’s first-ever global endurance event, where thousands of runners will be racing up to 40 tracks in 35 countries at exactly the same time.
“Ultimately the goal for me is to have a very successful event,” said Jackson. “I want people to talk about it, to say ‘This was fantastic.’ First, because it’s a great idea. Second, because it’s well-organised. And third, because they’ll say ‘Look at how much money you raised!’”
Jackson, a highly regarded sports personality in Britain, will oversee the race on May 4, when the world will run as one for a day. Thousands of competitors will all start at 10am UTC and the corresponding times across the globe. New Zealand’s run will start in Auckland at 9pm. The race is open to runners of all levels, from first-timers and passionate amateurs to professional athletes.
The format of the Wings for Life World Run is the first such global sporting event of its kind. The race tracks will be defined but runners will not be running a set distance. Instead of chasing the finish line, the finish line will be chasing them. Half an hour after the start signal sounds, the official catcher cars will simultaneously set off at each race track, pursuing the runners. The pace will accelerate at determined intervals to a rigid global schedule. When the catcher car passes a runner, their race is over. The last man and woman left running on the world will be the global winners.
“What we’re trying to achieve is genuine – running for those who can’t. The title says it all,” said Jackson, whose 110-meter hurdle world record time of 12.91 seconds stood for more than a decade. “Deep down, every single person on this planet knows they could potentially have a spinal cord injury. It’s a shock and there’s not enough investment into research about it. We need to raise enough so we can capture the best scientists who will stick around and make a real difference in people’s lives.”
New Zealand’s run will be held in Auckland, starting at 9pm. Visit wingsforlifeworldrun.com to register.