The Wings for Life World Run presented by I Feel Slovenia

Published: 3.5.2023

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The Wings for Life World Run presented by I Feel Slovenia

The Wings for Life World Run presented by I Feel Slovenia is a global running competition with a clear message and purpose: "We run for those who can't." This year will mark the 10th edition, which will take place simultaneously all over the world.

The Wings for Life World Run presented by I Feel Slovenia

On 7 May, runners from all over the world will once again come together for The Wings for Life World Run , which has raised €38.3 million for charity in the nine years since it was first held. All funds raised from entry fees go towards research into spinal cord injuries and finding a cure or solution.

The Wings for Life World Run is a run for everyone, not just professional runners. Every year, it is attended by those who are running to win, as well as those who run only occasionally or maybe even just for this race. The concept of the race is that no matter how fit you are, every participant reaches the finish line... Well, actually, the finish line reaches the participants.

Runners all over the world start at the same time, and half an hour after the start of the race, pursuit vehicles start following them in perfect synchronisation. These are equipped with state-of-the-art satellite technology and are connected at all times to a control centre in Austria. Their speed gradually increases over the course of the run. They start at 14 kilometres per hour, reach 18 kilometres per hour after two hours, then speed up a little and after four hours they are running at 34 kilometres per hour. When the vehicle catches the last competitor, he or she has finished the race and the distance covered is the result.

When this year's entries opened, Janja Garnbret, the world's best sport climber and the ambassador of Slovenian tourism, was among the first to submit hers. She said she doesn't run often as running is not a regular part of her training, but when she does, she runs for a reason. Her motivation is Nino Batagelj, who has been wheelchair-bound for more than ten years but is still an active athlete. "When you know that by taking part you are contributing to those who can't run, the reason for taking part is clear, but when your motivation has a face and a name, the desire to take part is even greater."

Legendary rower Peter Kauzer knows it too. His idol for this year's race is Jernej Slivnik. He will be running for the Slovenian para-alpine skier, who has been wheelchair-bound ever since he was five. He did not give up and decided to ski as a child. Today he is one of the best para-skiers in the world.

Wings For Life has been systematically searching for a cure for spinal cord injuries since 2004, when Dietrich Mateschitz and Heinz Kinigadner founded the foundation. Until then, targeted research was really scarce and funding was always scarce. In 2014, the Foundation also started raising funds by organising a World Run. Anita Gerhardter, the Foundation's Executive Director, is already looking forward to the anniversary event: "This run is always something special, everyone can take part and all the funds raised from the entry fees go to a good cause. The more money we raise, the more studies we can support and the sooner we can work towards a common goal."

Wings For Life has so far supported 276 different projects, which have made it through a rigorous scientific screening process. There are currently 74 on-going projects, with 16 new ones starting in 2022.

The Slovenian Tourist Board (STB), a leader in the development of responsibility in tourism, recognises the importance of international sporting events, which enhance Slovenia's image as an excellent and responsible destination for active holidays and athletes' training, and reinforce the value of the I Feel Slovenia brand.

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