Brits shine at world's biggest running event. WINGS FOR LIFE

Once a year, the 'Wings for Life World Run' takes place around the globe. Participants start at the same time and run either individually using the Wings for Life World Run App or together in multiple Flagship Runs. The race is run by the iconic two-time World champion, Olympic bronze medallist and former 110m hurdles world record holder Colin Jackson.

Alex Milne and Anna Morris were crowned the UK winners of the unique global event, held in London's Battersea Park located on the south bank of the River Thames, after being the last competitors to be caught by the event's signature 'Catcher Car.' With a 30-minute lead, the pair covered a total of 107.3km before being overtaken by a virtual 'catcher car' representing a moving finish line, this year voiced by IRONMAN World Champion Lucy Charles-Barclay.

Running for those who can't, 3,760 participants in the UK took part in the event virtually or by joining one of the in-person App Run events held across the country at locations including Battersea Park, David Ross Sport Village in Nottingham and Phillips Park in Manchester.

With its unique race format, the 2024 'Wings for Life World Run' once again showed why it is the world's most inclusive running event, attracting 265,827 participants worldwide to run, wheelchair roll, jog or simply walk for spinal cord research. Participants from 192 nationalities and 158 countries competed to stay ahead of the 'Catcher Car'.

The event's global winners were Poland's Dominika Stelmach (current 12-hour world record holder), who triumphed in the women's category with a 55km run in Poznań: In the men's category won Japan's Tomoya Watanabe, who ran 70.09km at the Marine Messe Fukuoka. 

Anna Morris was the winner in London's Battersea Park. WINGS FOR LIFE
Anna Morris was the winner in London's Battersea Park. WINGS FOR LIFE

The 2024 edition of Wings for Life World Run made significant strides in fundraising, with global entry fees and donations totalling a record €8,104,499.15. Remarkably, 100% of all entry fees and donations went directly to spinal cord research. Since the first event in 2014, the Wings for Life World Run has raised a total of €51.93 million over the past ten years, with 1,559,543 people taking part.

Speaking about her win at the 'Wings for Life World Run' in Battersea Park, Anna Morris, 20, from the University of Bath, said: "This was such an amazing experience! The atmosphere was brilliant and the temperature was just right. I came to run with my friends from university hoping to do a half marathon distance but ended up running my first ever marathon distance and more!"

Alex Milne, 34, from London, said: "I've wanted to do the 'Wings for Life World Run' for a long time, so I'm delighted to have taken part this year and competed against runners from all over the world. It was a unique but tough experience."

Alex Milne ran more than anyone else in London. WINGS FOR LIFE
Alex Milne ran more than anyone else in London. WINGS FOR LIFE

Millions of people around the world are confined to a wheelchair after suffering a spinal cord injury, most often as a result of a car accident or fall. 'Wings for Life' is a not-for-profit foundation with the single mission to finding a cure for spinal cord injury. Since 2004, it has funded life-changing research projects and clinical trials around the world. 

Whatever form the race takes, it is all about being there. It doesn't matter how well, how fast, or how far you run, whether you're a professional athlete, a hobby runner, or a beginner. Instead of a traditional finish line, 30 minutes after the start, either a virtual or, in the case of the Flagship Runs, a real 'Catcher Car' starts to chase and overtake participants. Results aren't measured in time but in distance covered. Best of all, 100% of entry fees and donations go directly to spinal cord research.