International Sports Director Colin Jackson
International Sports Director Colin Jackson 

13 laps around the globe for a good cause


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After the Wings for Life World Run, International Sports Director Colin Jackson announces some of the staggering official numbers. In Sunday’s race for charity, the 35,397 runners ran a total of 530,928 kilometers – or the equivalent of one runner taking more than 13 laps around the world.

A resounding success in its very first year by every measure, the simultaneous race for charity on 34 different courses in 32 countries on 6 continents and 13 time zones produced a mountain of impressive statistics.
There were countless memories of people having a great time together while raising funds for a good cause in the most complex running race ever staged. Lemawork Ketema of Ethiopia and Elise Selvikvag Molvik of Norway may have come in first place in the men’s and women’s races, running 78.58 km and 54.78 km, respectively. But everyone who took part was a winner.

"I think we can say this was a very huge success," Jackson said. "People all over the globe said how much they enjoyed this unique race and can't wait for next year."

The entire amount of the entry fees from the 50,110 registered runners, sponsor fees and additional donations made on top all went exclusively to the Wings for Life charity, which raised more than million euros.
A total of 35,397 runners were at the 34 starting lines around the world – ranging from searing 40 degree afternoon heat on the course in India to freezing pre-dawn temperatures recorded at the run in northern Canada. The average distance covered by the runners was 14.99 kilometers. A total of 233 reached the marathon distance of 42.2 kilometers.

The goal was to run as far as possible before the “Catcher Cars” that started 30 minutes behind the runners caught them. A total of 29,847 runners were still in the race after an hour – an impressive achievement by any standard.  The number was reduced even more dramatically in the third hour as only 327 runners were still in the race at that point and by the four-hour mark there were just 26 runners left.

The real drama unfolded just after the five-hour mark when the final three runners battled it. Ketema first passed Evgenii Glyva of Ukraine in their riveting duel along the Donau River Valley in Austria while some 11,000 kilometers away in Lima, Peru Remigio Huaman Quispe was his only rival still left in the race. Their virtual duel on two different continents sent television audiences and online viewers watching live into a state of frenzy. In the end, Ketema won the race by just 90 meters.

“That was on a course of more than 78 kilometers a photo finish,” said Jackson. It took Jackson and the team of timekeepers several minutes to check the results, which were again confirmed on Monday.

Figures in brief

Registered runners: 50,398
Runners starting: 35,397
Still running at 1 hour mark: 29,847
Still running at 2 hour mark: 5.146
Still running at 3 hour mark: 327
Still running at 4 hour mark: 26
Still running at 5 hour mark: 3

Marathon distance achieved: 233
Total kilometers: 530,928
Average distance: 14.99 km