What better way to push yourself out of your comfort zone than taking on a run with no finish line? Yes, you read that correct, no finish line!
The Wings for Life World Run is a unique concept. It is a simultaneous worldwide run which starts at the same time in 203 countries with over 130,000 runners; some of the runs are ‘selfie runs’ but more than 30 use a catcher car that starts driving at 15km/h, 30 minutes after the start time – when the car passes you, your run is over. It was held in Melbourne last Sunday and it was only the second time is had been held in Australia (Melbourne in 2015 was the first time).
Having no finish line, makes Wings for Life the ideal event to push yourself out of your comfort zone, physically and mentally, because it offers something that most charity runs don’t, a true challenge. Any runner can head out to run whatever distance they like, from 1km to 50km, any day of the week – you just lace up and run. We know that a lot of people prefer to set themselves a goal of a structured, timed event like Run for the Kids or Run Melbourne and train towards their chosen distance. But imagine lacing up to go out for a run that you don’t know when you will finish…
For most run events, common sense tells you that the faster you run, the faster you cross that finish line, but with Wings for Life, the faster your pace, the further you run; or on the flip side, the slower you run, the quicker your run is over. This year’s Melbourne winner managed a huge 65.7km at an average pace of 4 minutes per kilometre, running for over 4 hours and 20 minutes, and the global winner racked up a huge 88km!
Personally, Wings for Life was harder than I anticipated for a number of reasons. Firstly, the run in Melbourne starts at 9pm on a Sunday (when I am usually getting ready for bed, not going for a run). Secondly, the course is outbound on the inside lanes of the Monash Freeway which unexpectedly is a gradual climb the whole way with no real distractions to ‘escape in’. Also, the first refuel station wasn’t until 7km (which in my opinion is a little too far) and my shoes started to give me blisters around the 3.5km mark. It was a tough run and I got caught just after the 8km mark. My goal was 8km but, honestly, I would have loved to get to 10km.
I was perhaps a little unprepared, but it was a fantastic challenge and it definitely pushed me outside the usual comfort zone of my running routine. Wings for Life gave me an opportunity to run at a time I would never normally be lacing up my runners and in an environment that in any other circumstances you would never have the chance to run. Plenty of muscle soreness and the blisters told the tale for me the following morning.
Stepping out your comfort zone with something like the Wings for Life World Run gives you an idea of what you are really capable of. For example, if you do a 10km run every Saturday, you never give yourself a chance to see what you can do beyond that. That’s not to say that pushing yourself won’t be challenging or give you a little anxiety, it probably will. But sometimes that is exactly what you need to improve or give your routine new life. After all, what is reward without a little challenge?
The best bit of Wings for Life? It is all for a good cause. Unlike many other charity fun runs, 100 per cent of the entry fee from Wings for Life is donated to spinal cord research. Entries for 2017 are already open.