May 4, 2014 9:17 pm

Runners in Saskatoon chase Prairie sunrise, global competitors

Watch the video above: Runner in Saskatoon chase global competitors

SASKATOON – Over 50,000 runners world-wide laced up to attempt a 100-kilometre course for the first-ever simultaneous global running race in the world.

In Canada, Saskatoon was the host city for the Wings of Life World Run which brought out 200 participants for the starting horn Sunday at 4 a.m.

As the horn went off, participants in 34 locations around the world started moving.

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The Wings For Life World Run is a race supporting spinal cord injury research. It also keeps things interesting with the unpredictability of an unknown finish line.

“A lot of people maybe didn’t quite get it but a lot of people are pretty excited about this crazy concept too with no finish line,” said Geoff Langford, Wings for Life World Run sports director.

The race featured a moving finish line. A pace car – or catcher car – was dispatched and once it passed runners they were eliminated from the race.

“We picked Saskatoon to be the Canadian city to host the event in part because the course needed to be very similar in every location. We needed a flat straight course that has minimal interruptions,” said Langford.

Some runners were sleep deprived but the unique format of the race managed to perk them up.

Participant Felicia Torchia laced up for a personal cause.

“I decided to race for my sister. She was diagnosed with MS a couple of years ago so I’m hoping she’ll get to a point of not needing a wheelchair. So I’m running for her and many others,” said Torchia.

It was a cause worth the early wake up call for participants who had a chance to chase the sunrise on the prairies together.

“It’s a great cause that probably doesn’t get as much attention as it should. It’s a good reason to come out and run – even just for your own fitness,” said Langford.

Ryan King and Chrissy Magneson pushed ahead of the catcher car longer than any of the other runners in Saskatoon.

King logged 46.7 kilometres while Magneson ran a total distance of 33 km.

Winners receive an all expenses paid trip to participate at any event during the next Wings for Life World Run.

According to officials, there are over 86,000 Canadians living with spinal cord injuries with 51 per cent as a result of traumatic injury.

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