On Sunday, May 7, a foot race with several unique features gets underway. Participants in this race, the Wings for Life World Run, will be scattered across the globe, yet they’ll all set off at the same moment: 11 a.m. Coordinated Universal Time.

Some runners will take part in one of several organized, so-called Flagship Runs; others will participate virtually, by means of an app. In place of a traditional finish line, the race will end for an individual runner at the time he or she is caught by a so-called “Catcher Car.”

These real or virtual cars set off half an hour after the runners and travel along at a steady pace, passing runners one by one until just one man and woman are left. While the last two runners to be caught anywhere are crowned the Global Champions, the race’s format ensures that every participant is a finisher.

Flagship runs will be staged in Munich, Germany; Zug, Switzerland; Ljubljana, Slovenia; and a handful of other cities. Entry fees vary; taking part in the Munich race, for example, costs 49 euros. Participation in the run by means of the app costs 20 euros. In some cities, runners will get together for fun and support as they take part in the app run; in Germany, such gatherings are scheduled for Bad Tölz, Frankfurt am Main and Ostfildern-Nellingen, among other places.

The Wings for Life World Run is staged for a worthy cause. According to the event website, 100% of the entry fees support research into finding cures for spinal cord injuries and paraplegia. Online:

A number of other races and competitions are organized to support worthy causes. Here’s a look at some upcoming events and the charities that benefit from them.


Schauinsland Muddy Angel Run is the name of a 5-km ladies’ run through mud and across 15 various obstacles. Geared toward all ages, abilities and fitness levels, a dozen or so such friendly competitions are staged throughout the country each year. A part of the proceeds generated by the race go toward building awareness of breast cancer and supporting those affected by it. Muddy Angel Runs have been set for Berlin on May 20-21, Offenbach on June 17, Mannheim on July 1, Munich on July 29, Stuttgart on Aug. 5, Dresden on Aug. 19, Hamburg on Sept. 2-3 and Cologne on Sept. 23-24. Participants must be at least 12 years old. Registration fees vary, but are cheaper the further in advance one registers. Registration in the Mannheim event cost 56 euros at the time of this writing. Online:

The ZeroHungerRun will make its debut in Düsseldorf on June 21. Organized by the charity Welthungerhilfe (World Hunger Help), the 5- or 10-km run takes place in the relaxed environment of the Volksgarten in Oberbilk. The 5-km event gets underway at 6 p.m. and the 10-km event starts at 7:30 p.m. While participation in the run is free, donations are requested. This year, funds raised will go towards projects addressing hunger and poverty in Sierra Leone. An additional ZeroHungerRun is scheduled to take place in Bonn on Sept. 10. Online:

The Charity Walk & Run is a sporting event in which participants can elect to run either 5 or 10 km or walk a 5-km stretch. An initiative of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Organization, the race was established in 2007 and has been held in more than 15 locations throughout the land to date. Funds raised through the events benefit various social institutions tasked with looking after sick children. Upcoming races include those to be staged in Munich on Aug. 26, Augsburg on Sept. 17 and Freiburg am Breisgau on Sept. 23. Individual participants can elect to pay 15, 20, 50 or 100 euros to participate. Online:


La Course des Lumières are a series of charity races organized to benefit various organizations battling sickness and disease. Since its inception in 2010, over a million euros has been raised in support of health-related causes. The races’ name alludes to the fact that they are held in the evening hours, and participants are provided with illuminated sticks to light their way. Upcoming races include those to be held in Marseilles on Nov. 4, in Paris on Nov. 18, in Toulouse on Nov. 25 and in Bordeaux on Dec. 2. The Paris event is either a 4-km walk or a 10-km run. The entry fee ranges between 30 and 42 euros, depending on date of signup, 10 euros of which goes directly to l’Institut Curie. Online:

United Kingdom

The Race for Life is the collective name for hundreds of races staged throughout the United Kingdom in support of Cancer Research UK. Marking their 30th anniversary this year, the series feature 3-, 5- and 10-km running events. Walkers are also welcome to take part in the 3- and 5-km events. Other benefit races include the Pretty Muddy, a 5 km muddy obstacle course open to all racers, no matter their fitness level. Pretty Muddy Kids are races staged for children on the same days as the adult races; these are open to children ages 12 and under, who must be at least 1.2 meters tall (3 feet 9 inches) to participate. Upcoming races not far from U.S. bases in the UK include those in Harlow and Peterborough on May 7, Bury St. Edmunds on June 11, Cambridge on July 2, Stevenage on July 9 and Bedford on July 29. Online:

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