Out racing the virtual Catcher Car

Rolling Inspiration
By Rolling Inspiration
5 Min Read

In the run up to the Wings for Life World Run, which will be held on Sunday, 7 May, Red Bull South Africa hosted a trial run on Friday, 10 March, to showcase how the Wings for Life World Run app works. The run raises funds for the Wings for Life Foundation, which is searching for a cure for spinal cord injuries. All the money raised through entries will go to the Foundation.

Unlike traditional races, there is no finish line. Instead, participates from across the globe will try to out race the Catcher Car. When the vehicle passes a participant, their race is finished. The event can be joined from anywhere in the world through the Wings For Life World Run app, which can be downloaded from any mobile app store.

The trial run hosted by Red Bull, a global partner for the Wings for Life Foundation, gave participants the opportunity to test the app by making use of its training function under the “run” tab, which mimics the race day, complete with virtual Catcher Car.

Users can chose between a 10, 20 or 30 minute head start. On race day, participants will get a 30-minute head start, but this can be adjust for trial runs to accommodate the individual’s workout schedule or time. The app monitors the user’s route and progress. After the head start, users can see the progress of the Catcher Car with a virtual icon as well as a countdown timer. When the car passes the participant, the phone vibrates to inform them that they have been passed.

Richard Barron (front) attend the Wings for Life World Run Trial Run with representatives from Red Bull and Sportsman’s Warehouse.

In attendance at the trial run was Rolling Inspiration editor, Mariska Morris. She notes of the event: “This will be my third Wings for Life World Run, but my first with the app. I was unsure of whether the virtual run will compare with the in-person event, but I think I might prefer the virtual run.

“With the in-person events, you only know the Catcher Car is close by when it is about a kilometre or so away. With the app, I can see when it leaves and how far behind it is, which definitely motivates you to move quicker.”

 For the trial run with Red Bull, she opted for a leisurely stroll. Mariska explains: “I was curious to see how far I would get with a light walk. Previously, I would run/walk the event, but this year, I’m not very fit.” Surprisingly, at a pace of 14 minutes per kilometre, she was able to do three kilometres.

“This included stopping to take some photographs of the event,” she adds. “It took the Catcher Car roughly 13 minutes to catch up with me after my 30 minute head start.”

While everyone who participates will have to run through the app, Red Bull is organising app events so that participants can enjoy the race with others. There will be an event in Johannesburg at the Roodepoort Ruimsig Stadium, and in Cape Town at the Green Point Urban Park. These events will include water stations, a big screen that broadcasts the event and runners from across the globe, as well as medals for all the participants.

With only 54 days to go, people are encouraged to register for the event. “It is nice to think you are participating in a run that brings people from across the globe together in a single cause – finding a cure for spinal cord injuries,” Mariska concluded. “It is also nice to be part of a race that is accessible to everyone whether you travel a kilometre or 50.”

For more about the event, click here. For our highlights from previous races, click here.

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