Courtesy of Red Bull Media Services
Top stars divulge their running passion ahead of the Wings for Life World Run.
Nearly 80,000 runners will take to the streets for the respective annual London and Vienna Marathons on Sunday, April 23, each of them pounding the roads for 42 km (26.2 miles).
It comes on the sporting calendar a mere two weeks before the Wings for Life World Run, which spans six continents and many different locations worldwide.
The event on May 7 is running with a twist as there is no set finish line, a Catcher Car deciding when your time is up and the global spoils going to the last male and female runner to be caught. You can also join the event and be chased by a virtual Catcher Car by downloading the Wings for Life World Run App.
As well as the fun of joining this run and enjoying its unique format, the event raises money for spinal cord research, aiming at curing spinal cord injury.
In the build-up to the event, here is just some of the Red Bull athletes talking about why running is important to them.
Regularly referred to as the fastest man in rugby, Isles has long been a member of the USA rugby team. Of running, he says: “I just feel alive. It’s just this incredible feeling I get inside me – it’s just like I’m on top of the world, on cloud nine. It’s a rush, you get your body just so in the moment. It’s indescribable what I really feel.”
Vonn is no stranger to having to use running during rehab having faced a series of serious injuries from the slopes. Wings for Life World Run has been among the motivating factors. Speaking last year, she said: “The first two months going through rehab were really bad, and I was very limited with what I could do. Being stuck in bed and being in pain, that was definitely the worst. However, when I look at people who are affected by spinal cord injury and manage to fight back, I understand how lucky I was and that they are the true heroes.”
Ricciardo ran with the app in 2015, covering 12.56 kilometres in Monaco before he was caught by the virtual catcher car. “The special thing about the run is knowing thousands of people at that very moment are sharing the experience with you. The fatigue, the joy, the emotion afterwards. Everything. It was great.” As for running alone, he added: “My life is filled with organised chaos so, for me, it was alone time. Running alone is peaceful.” As for his tips for this year’s event, he said: “It’s super important to pick the right footwear, important to know your surroundings… it’s a unique run as there’s no finishing line so pace yourself, and like any sporting environment, it’s important to stay fuelled and hydrated.”
In February, the England all-rounder became the most expensive player in the history of the Indian Premier League when Rising Pune Supergiants paid £1.7 million for his services. Running is part of his training regime and his outlook is: “We try and get the legs heavy and get the lungs going – you need to be tired and out of breath [when running]. When your body’s feeling it, that’s when you’re building fitness.”
The Australian won nine grands prix during his 12-year tenure in Formula 1 and three times finished third overall in the world championship. A keen runner, he said: “I get pretty bored in the gym so I’d rather train outside and that includes running. Running, people have different ways of keeping their motivation up. I’ve never trained with music ever, not once. I’ve always enjoyed the scenery so, if you can find a good location, that helps. If you get the chance to run through some forests and nice paths, that’s beautiful.”
Spanovic is the current European Indoor champion after a monstrous jump of 7.24 metres won her gold in front of her home crowd in Serbia last month. The long jumper explained: “Your run-up speed is so important so my legs are my main asset. Uphill sprints are key and benefit the heart, lungs and muscles while also helping you maintain a healthy weight whether it’s uphill sprints on an incline treadmill, outside in the park or up a hilly neighbourhood street.”
The Scottish trials cyclist has made a name for himself with his ever more eye-catching videos. A debutant at the Wings for Life World Run in 2015, he made the error of not training beforehand, but has better plans for this year. “I’ll definitely train before next time,” he admitted of his 2015 foray. “I did it without any running training beforehand, not a single step. I ran like 25km and I completely wrote myself off for about two weeks so next time I plan to don my running shoes and do a little before to stop that from happening because I was absolutely wrecked.”
The Swiss triathlete is the current Ironman World Champion and also sealed that particular title in 2015. Running is just a third of her discipline, and she said: “I run about 11 times a week, and don’t think that Ironman run training must all be about plodding. If you only ever run steady you’ll only improve at running steady. Ironman athletes include speed work into their training to achieve quicker run splits so like 15 x three minutes on the treadmill with your heart rate at 185bpm.”
Just 11 months before the Olympic sailing regatta in Rio de Janeiro, Lange underwent surgery to have part of his lung removed because of cancer only to go on to win a fairytale gold. For him, running was among the ways back, pushed in that quest by his sons Yago and Klaus. He explains: “If I cycle, run or go to the gym on my own I am tired of it but, if I go with them, they always say ‘come on, you are too old for this’ and it gives me motivation to do it harder.”