SPAIN – A global race where the finish line chases runners
During the first week of August the solidarity race Wings for Life World Run was held. A race to raise funds for the cure of spinal cord injury which was held simultaneously in 35 cities worldwide. The goal: highest possible number of participants to raise more funds. The solution: organize a race in which everyone can participate not because they have to reach a goal in the distance, is the goal that reaches to them by the rate at which they run.
A goal in the form of a “sweeper car“, the catcher cars, that eliminate runners as they go ahead of them. At 13:30, half an hour after the race would start, catcher cars began their journey at 15km/h. An hour later, they increased their speed a kilometer (16km/h), two hours later, another kilometer (17km/h), the fourth time rose to 20 km/h in case a runner resisted until the sixth hour, the car would go 35 km/h.
All drivers of the sweeper cars increase its speed at the same time and maintaine the same speed. After two hours and a half, the runners will have traveled 31 kms. As Wings for Life World Run began at 13:00 in the 35 locations, the overall control of the race and the help of technology ensured that all drivers increased the rate at the same moment.
Paradoxically drivers of sweeper cars are athletes that are not characterized by low speeds: drivers of Formula 1 Max Webber and David Coulthard, the American rider Ricky Johnson or Dakar winner, the intrepid Felix Baumgartner or Marc Coma had to hold their foot on the brake to pursue runners as the marking rate.
The race, organized by the agency Last Lap, took a tour of 59 km and lasted more than four hours. The athlete Chema Martinez was the winner to be overrun by the sweeper car driven by Marc Coma almost at the entrance of Toledo.
Wings for Life World Run had a moving target instead of fixed…how do you return to the starting line when you got eliminated by the sweeper car? Everything was thought out and every 5km there were collection points with passing buses that picked up the runners and brought them back to Aranjuez.