Honda fielded a strong presence in Killarney at the weekend as proud vehicle sponsor of the first Wings for Life World Run which took place around the stunning Ring of Kerry on Sunday May 4th. Ultra marathon athletes joined a host of Irish stars and over 600 Irish runners on the start-line, all in aid of spinal cord injury research. A fleet of Honda vehicles provided race support on the day, including in the most important role of all, the moving finish line!
The Irish event was part of a truly global event attracting over 35,000 people in 32 countries across 13 time zones and all four seasons, all running at exactly the same time.
The race had a unique format where there was no traditional finish line, instead the Honda CR-V acted as the moving finish line, pursuing runners along the route. Runners got the chance to run a scenic route starting in Killarney National Park and heading west around the Ring of Kerry towards Killorglin with the CR-V ‘Catcher Car’ chasing them down one by one which set off 30 minutes after the start, travelling at 15km/h.
The last man standing was Leixlip, Co. Kildare native John O’Regan who managed 49.2 kms in 3 hrs 33 minutes, running from Killarney to the village of Kells, on the Ring of Kerry. The last woman standing in the Irish race was Louth woman Alison Kirwan now living in Killorglin, Co. Kerry who managed a fantastic 30.4 km’s in 2hrs 28 mins before being caught by the CR-V Catcher Car which was accelerating in speed by 1km for every hour of the race.
Honda entered a team of runners into the race, including Honda Ambassadors Munster Rugby star JJ Hanrahan and model Alison Canavan. Team Honda joined a host of Irish stars supporting the event including Dublin footballer Bernard Brogan, Galway hurler Joe Canning, Irish women’s rugby star Siobhan Flemming, Kerry GAA legend and four time All-Ireland medal winner Seamus Moynihan, as well as 2FM’s Paddy McKenna & Mark McCabe.
Globally, the run raised over €3m for spinal cord injury research, as 100% of all entry fees for the World Run go directly towards funding cutting edge spinal cord injury research and clinical studies through the work of the Wings For Life Foundation. In Ireland, there are circa 1,700 people who are paralysed as a result of spinal cord injury with 50 new cases every year, and 40% are due to road traffic accidents.
In total, across the 32 countries and races, the participants ran the equivalent of 13 times around the globe.The worldwide winners were Lemawork Ketema of Ethiopia and Elise Selvikvag Molvik of Norway who came in first place in the men’s and women’s races, running 78.58 km and 54.78 km, respectively. But everyone who took part was a winner.