Wings For Life World Run – Silverstone

This race sounded a bit strange from the outset – no finish line, just a retired racing driver chasing you in car around Silverstone – and when I turned up on Saturday to sleep in what was a cross between a shipping container and a highly modern sleep pod, the strangeness was simply heightened!

Wings for Life World Run - Silverstone UK race recap

The Wings For Life World Run is a unique concept – a race that starts at the same time in 35 countries around the world, and where the winner is simply the person who can keep running for the longest.
I wasn’t sure how far I’d make it before being caught by David Coulthard – the driver of the Catcher Car in the UK- and decided just to enjoy running somewhere new and not tire my legs too much before Hackney Half next weekend!

Wings for Life World Run - Silverstone UK race recap

We lined up on the start line at 12pm on Sunday 3rd May, hoping that the grey rainclouds would stay away, and after an enthusiastic warm-up and trying to sneak selfies of Mark Webber set off around the Silverstone track.

Wings for Life World Run - Silverstone UK race recap
The course took us on 7-8km of tarmac looping past the empty stands and tyre walls, before heading off into the Northamptonshire countryside.

Wings for Life World Run - Silverstone UK race recap

If I’m honest, I would have preferred less running on the track and more chance to explore the winding country lanes, even if they were a lot more hilly!
As I’m a reasonably slow runner (and was stopping to take photos!) I only made it to just before 10k before I heard the yells and the approaching car engine.

Wings for Life World Run - Silverstone UK race recap

You couldn’t help but want to put on a burst of speed and try to outrun it for a little longer! But before long the cars were pulling past and the race was over for me, just over an hour after setting out.

Wings for Life World Run - Silverstone UK race recap

I continued running to the 10k marker, just around the corner and waited with plenty of other runners for a bus to transport us back to the start line.
Everything was ridiculously well organised – we were provided with bottles of cold water on the bus journey back, and were then able to collect our bags from the baggage drop, and were awarded a medal, t-shirt and goody bag very quickly.

Wings for Life World Run - Silverstone UK race recap

Large screens on the course and at the after party displayed the unfolding race- all runners were allowed entry to this area for free beer, Red Bull and popcorn (?). I relaxed with some other runners from the Red Bull/Freestak team (who had kindly given me the race place) and waited for people to finish and be transported back to Silverstone.

Wings for Life World Run - Silverstone UK race recap

Amazingly, the two UK winners were from our team- I’d only met them for the first time that day, but it was still exciting to be associated with such brilliant runners. The female winner Kate Carter completed an awesome 35km in 2hours 39minutes, after running the London Marathon the weekend before! And Tom Payne, who ran an epic 61km in 4hours 10minutes came a very impressive 23rd overall in the world.

Wings for Life World Run - Silverstone UK race recap

Bizarrely, the nature of the race where the winner actually finishes last, meant that the race circuit was very quiet, with barely any spectators by the time the victors returned. It also meant a long wait for those of us who only jogged a casual 10k! For future racers, I’d suggest packing plenty of snacks!
I enjoyed racing somewhere new and the novelty factor of the race was exciting – the setup meant that people who just wanted to complete a few kilometres on the track could take part alongside ultramarathoners. If I were to run again, I would want to try and improve my speed beforehand so that I got more chance to run on the scenic country lanes before being caught!

Wings for Life World Run - Silverstone UK race recap

Thanks to Freestak and Red Bull for inviting me along, and congratulations to all who took part!
100% of the race proceeds go to the Wings for Life charity, which funds world-class research aimed at finding a cure for spinal cord injury. All of the entry fees were contributed to these life-changing projects, with Red Bull covering the administration costs. 
Do you like the sound of racing at Silverstone and being chased by David Coulthard?  To pre-register for the Wings for Life World Run next year click here
Check out the video below for a recap of the race day at Silverstone.

Beki x

NB: Photos courtesy of Red Bull and other team members!

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  • Reply Maria

    Well done.I was really interested to read this, as I was tempted last year but the website didn't have much info about what happened once you were caught by the car ( I didn't think you would have to walk back, but it wasn't clear at all if the bus stopped anywhere or just at the mile signs or whatever). I would be tempted, although we often go away as it's the May bank holiday so not perfect timing. If Jenson Button was in the car I would sign up like a shot!

    May 10, 2015 at 7:51 pm
  • Reply Kelli

    That is a very interesting format for a race! Looks like a great time.

    May 13, 2015 at 7:27 am
  • Reply Mandi | No Apathy Allowed

    Wow, I've never heard of such a race before! Love the concept of the winners being the last ones to finish. πŸ™‚

    May 13, 2015 at 9:26 am
  • Reply Anna TheApple

    I love this concept!! I heard an interview with the winning lady on MarathonTalk and it sounded amazing.
    Well done for getting to 10k. It sounded like a fun day πŸ™‚

    May 15, 2015 at 7:40 pm
  • Reply Scallywag Sprints

    Looks like a fun race and concept, although I think I'd hate that the first 5 miles are on track!

    Its really impressive that 100% of the entry fees go to the charity, more often charity races take most of the fees as admin then donate a little!

    May 15, 2015 at 7:40 pm
  • Reply thesilvahlining

    I have never heard of anything like this! What an interesting concept. Thank you for sharing on the link up!

    May 15, 2015 at 7:40 pm
  • Reply Beki Cadd

    Yes they had buses which took you back to the start line! Maybe Jenson next year πŸ˜‰

    May 16, 2015 at 12:42 pm
  • Reply Beki Cadd

    Yes it's really nice that Red Bull pay all of the admin and organisation costs, so that the entry fees can go straight to charity. And I agree – after the novelty of running at Silverstone wore off, the track was a little boring!

    May 16, 2015 at 12:44 pm
  • Reply Beki Cadd

    Thanks Anna! It was definitely something different πŸ™‚ The female winner was awesome- especially having just raced the London Marathon the previous weekend!

    May 16, 2015 at 12:44 pm
  • Reply Mary Beth Jackson

    Well that is an interesting concept for a race, I have never heard of such a thing! Looks like everyone had a good time! I am impressed you made it that far before you got caught- great job!

    May 20, 2015 at 12:34 pm
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