Thousands of South Africans joined the world to run for those who can’t

Over 130,000 people around the world took part in the third Wings for Life World Run today, raising almost R112 million (€6.6 million) for spinal injury research.

Thousands of South Africans, both able-bodied and in wheelchairs, started in Centurion which was among 34 international locations. Local and international participants raced simultaneously across 12 time zones in varying light and weather conditions for one cause – to find a cure for spinal cord injury.

The South African ladies’ winner, Onele Dintwe, ran a distance of 52.7kms and was the first woman in the world to reach 21kms. She ran over 22kms further than she has ever run before.

“I’m really excited by how far I managed to run, my plan was to go for 42kms this year. Knowing I’m running for those who can’t, I’m encouraged to run this race again and go even further next year,” said Dintwe. As the winner of the women’s race she’ll be able to choose where in the world she’d like to run in 2017.

“I’d love to run anywhere in Europe and go more than 55km in 2017. I’m looking forward to it,” she said.

The winner of the South African men’s race, Frenchman Thibault Baronian, ran 62,4kms and is now the only person worldwide to have won the Wings For Life World Run on three continents. He won in France in 2014 and in the United States in 2015.

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One of the things that makes the Wings For Life World Run special is that 100% of all entry fees globally go directly to research projects determined to improve treatment for spinal cord injuries and ultimately, find a cure. As the event has grown in scale since it started in 2014, it has increased international attention on spinal cord injury alongside.

The next Wings for Life World Run will take place on 7 May 2017.

Wings For Life World Run 2016 facts and figures
· Men’s Global Winner – Giorgio Calcaterra reached 88,44km in Milano, Italy – a new Wings for Life World Run record.
· Women’s Global Winner – Kaori Yoshida reached 65,71km in Takashima, Japan
· 1,255,000kms run around the world
· 130,732 registered participants worldwide
· 2,300 registered participants in South Africa
· 203 nationalities represented
· 16,000 volunteers made the 2016 Wings For Life World Run a success
· 140,000 litres of water consumed
· 28 tons of bananas consumed

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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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