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Red Bull gives Wings to World Run

by Robert Britton
Wednesday 7th May 2014
Tags  Wings For Life World Run   |   Wings For Life   |   Red Bull   |   Robbie Britton   |   Paul Martelletti   |   Eddie Sutton   |   Joasia Zakrzewski

Race report: Run247 columnist Robert Britton, member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad, Team Inov-8 and Team Centurion reports from the 2014 Wings For Life World Run - Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 10am

Getting chased by a car for 45.5km around the country lanes near Silverstone race track, that's my idea of a good time on a Bank Holiday weekend. Paul Martelletti enjoyed it so much he ran for 69.3km before falling into some bushes in a last, farcical attempt to avoid capture (HERE). This wasn't a prison break like last time though, we were taking part in the first Wings for Life World Run. Running for those who can't.

When the Red Bull founder discovered that finding the cure for spinal injuries was just a matter of time and money, the Wings for Life Foundation was set up. Fully funded by Red Bull, every penny raised goes straight to funding cutting edge research and every cost for the charity is covered by Red Bull. The same with the World Run: you didn't pay an entry fee as such, just put £40 of your cash into a great charity and then you also got the added bonus of taking part in this awesome event.

The race format is completly unique, in that not only is there no finish line (your race is over when the catcher car passes you), but this year you were also racing 35,000 other runners around the globe. You could race your mate in Oz without having to pay the air fare and you could invite your friends in Peru to take up the challenge too.

The UK's event was based in and around Silverstone race track (such is the pulling power of Red Bull) and Paul Navesey, a top 50 mile trail runner from the UK, was delighted to be given the chance to race Mark Webber around the F1 course and for once be a favourite for the win.

Run247 columnist Robert Britton, member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad, Team Inov-8 and Team Centurion reports from the 2014 Wings For Life World Run - Sunday, May 4, 2014

Photo: Eventual UK winner Paul Martelletti and Robbie

The men's race in the UK was to be a battle of the Paul's, despite a breakaway by myself at the front, that was purely powered by a chance to appear in front of a camera. Under strict orders to only do 70-80 minutes this weekend I might have got a little carried away by the event! Mine was merely a Tour De France style breakaway cameo to keep the sponsors happy!

Fellow Team Inov-8 runner Tracy Dean was racing too but was slightly distracted by rugby hunk Thom Evans and finished at exactly the same spot... How'd that happen Tracy?

The women's race was keenly contested by Eddie Sutton and Joasia Zakrzewski and they soon found that the common enemy was not each other but those around the globe and those catcher cars coming fast up the lanes behind. I had the pleasure of seeing them finish hand in hand as the car sped towards them and, following a lesson from PR chap Alex Coulson, promptly photo bombed them as the cameras arrived. I did jog on the other side of the road to avoid affecting the live feed during the race though!

After being caught by the catcher car we caught a van to follow the leaders - we didn't know who was ahead, either my training partner Paul Navesey or speedster Paul Martelletti. We did however hear that whoever it was was also second globally, an amazing feat considering that the Silverstone route is probably not the flattest around the globe. However, the UK participants had been blessed with an ideal start time and perfect weather for running through the green British countryside.

Run247 columnist Robert Britton, member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad, Team Inov-8 and Team Centurion reports from the 2014 Wings For Life World Run - Sunday, May 4, 2014

Photos: The UK women's winners Eddie Sutton and Joasia Zakrzewski - and Robbie

Alas, I wasn't going to be able to try piggy back on training partner Paul's trip to his location of choice to race next year, as it was the other Paul, who I had met that morning, who was another two miles down the road from Navesey's sterling 59km effort.

The wheelchair race was shorter than expected, mainly due to how fast Justin Levene caught the catcher car! With a 1:46 marathon PB I imagine it would be a matter of how many laps before he would be caught on the 100k circuit.

We were whisked back to the party in the paddock and found that for once it wasn't the speedy chaps who finished first and the party was in full swing upon our hobbled arrival. Cheers greeted the girls and then big celebrations started when Paul M was brought back, prizes and bottles of Champers, ready to be sprayed as they should be on a podium at Silverstone, were handed out and duly distributed throughout the air!

It was a truly cracking day for everyone involved and definitely an experience I would recommend to anyone who asks. Personally I think the charity is worth donating money to regardless and the fact that this awesome run is part of it too is only a greater incentive. As expected Red Bull put on an event like no other and next year will only be better!

Put it in your diaries for next year and you will not regret it. Paul and I are going to spend the next few days figuring out which two courses are quickest and book some flights!

To find out more visit www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com


About The Author

Robert Britton

Robbie is a 100 mile runner who is a member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad and Team Centurion and likes to run ridiculous distances as quickly as possible.

To provide enough food to feed a monster running habit, Robbie coaches other ultra marathon runners through www.robbiebritton.co.uk and is also a member of the coaching team at Centurion Running. He likes to dabble with a bit of writing so that others can learn from his mistakes and enjoy the sport as much as he does.

Robbie is also a is a Profeet ambassador.


"Pain is inevitable, suffering is just part of the fun"


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