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Wings For Life World Run - UK

05-May-2019 Parker's Piece, Cambridge (CB2 1AA), UK (England)

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1 REVIEWS
Road Race Race Terrain
TIMED
1 Day

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Beginner  

Entry From £40 GBP

The Wings for Life World Run offers a totally new running experience, all for a good cause.

Runners in 34 locations worldwide start at exactly the same time and run for as long as they can. There is no finish line, a Catcher Car will start the chase 30 minutes after the race starts and speed up slowly until everyone is over taken and eliminated. The last one running is the global winner.

The race is open to anyone and everyone over 18 years of age, from beginners to the running elite and wheelchair users in a regular wheelchair.
 

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Wings For Life

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Beginner

Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.

Intermediate

Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Advanced

Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Expert

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Brutal

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Type: An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for: Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Global - Virtual

Type: A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for: For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Review Wings For Life World Run - UK

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ultraventure

10:48 30-05-17

When I first heard about this race I was really interested in it, none of this finishing time targets with set pace where if you slack off it will just take you longer to get to the finishing line and you don’t your PB. Here the slower you go the faster you finish, but the really interesting bit – if you go out faster than ever and blow up along the way – the finish line catches you – so a great place to go when you want to really push yourself out there.
The UK race starts in a Cambridge town centre, winds its way through the streets and bemused shoppers and tourist before heading out to the countryside. At about the 40km race mark the route merges with itself and starts into a loop. This way anybody still in the race will keep doing this loop until the chase car catches them.
The route itself is mostly tarmac with (if I remember correctly) cobblestones for some town sections, and then into some road sections that are practically trails through private property – overall light weight acing shoes is where you want to be, but don’t be surprised if you have to dodge a few potholes along the way.
The start line is organised into groups depending on your predicted race time. This being many peoples first race they all wander towards the front having seen a few Youtube videos of Mo Farah believe that a win is possible and doubted any further training is necessary. Suffice to say the start on narrow streets is frustratingly slow as people are walking only after a few hundred metres, after about 6-10min there starts to be room to speed up and only after an hour is there enough space to push it if you can. With 2,800 running this year it will always be a squeeze.
A few minutes ahead of the chase car are a number of motorbikes directing you to one side to allow the car to pass, which adds a massive wave of excitement to everyone around you and people start sprinting and even before the car catches up they have ran out of gas and are walking – keeping a steady head and keeping up a solid pace is key here, I think that once the car was 100m back we upped the pace and managed to sustain that lead for a while until it started to creep up on us.
I aimed for the unachievable and in the process achieved a lot more than I had thought was possible which was great. At about 25km-ish the lead wheelchair racer came past me. Up to that point my pace was starting to drop off and I was giving up, seeing him fly past tripped a switch in my head and I drafted in behind him all the way to just over 30km when the car came past us. Thanks to him I got further than I would have solo, so it was a much stronger finish than I had thought possible.
After the car passes, you make your way forward or back along the course to the nearest race bus stop – these are signposted along the way, so if you are done or have blown up during the race, at least run to one of these points for an easy bus trip back to the start line.
Gear-wise, I had a pair of On Cloudflow, which fit like a glove – probably the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. So obviously I think they are amazing, but it is not just the fit but the responsiveness of the shoe when pushing hard for a long-ish distance as well as the comfortable inside (helped avoid blisters) that makes them my favourite shoe.
In hindsight I would not have driven up the morning of the race and stayed over instead to be fresher and to avoid the horrible traffic and parking in the town – 40min spent crawling to the start line and then only to find 4hr parking allowed on the streets as the nearby parking lot was full.

The atmosphere of the race is great, people are extremely friendly and everyone is supportive of each other – and feed off each other’s nervous energy to try and keep ahead of the inevitable finish. Red Bull put on an amazing show and it is everything I wished for from a Red Bull type ultra, now if only they could do a trail ultra that would really make all my dreams come through!

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