The Wings for Life World Run chose Santa Clarita to represent the West Coast of the United States in the first ever worldwide charity marathon in May, event officials announced Monday.
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Thousands of runners from 35 host cities on six continents worldwide will begin the marathon simultaneously, running to benefit the nonprofit spinal cord research foundation Wings for Life, officials said.
The relay is scheduled to begin at 3 a.m. on May 4 at the Westfield Valencia Town Center, according to a Wings for Life news release.
“The city is very proud to be associated with the Wings for Life World Run, and we’re hoping to get a large turnout of residents to support the event,” said Evan Thomason, spokesman for the city of Santa Clarita. “What a unique opportunity for residents to run through the streets of Santa Clarita in the middle of the night and support a great cause.”
The groundbreaking event is the first ever marathon to take place simultaneously on a global basis, and Wings for Life coined the phrases, “On this day the world will run as one,” and “Running for those who can’t,” to promote the event.
In an unusual twist, runners will not be running a set distance like typical races. Instead, a unique “chase car” will literally chase runners with the finish line along a defined route rather than having runners run toward a stationary finish line, event officials said.
Chase cars at every host city will be deployed 30 minutes after the start of the race, and the pace of the cars will accelerate at determined intervals to a rigid global schedule. When the cars pass a runner, their race ends and they will shuttled back to the starting line to celebrate.
The cars will continue to eliminate competitors as they pass them until there is a single man and woman left running in each location, and then each country, and then the world, according to the news release.
“It’s great for marathoners, half-marathoners and even people who just want to get out and have a fun run,” Thomason said. “There’s going to be a lot of energy, and it’s something that should be fun for runners of all skill levels, however long they make it. I think it will be a very rewarding experience.”
Location and country champions will be crowned as the night progresses, leading up to the crowning of the global champions, who will have outlasted every other runner in every country, event officials said.
Each race location winner will receive an invitation to race in the country of their choice in the next Wings for Life World Run with all travel expenses paid for, and the global champions will each receive the grand prize of a trip around the world, according to the news release.
All proceeds from the marathon will go to the Wings for Life foundation, which funds research into curing spinal cord injury.
Runner’s Lane, a running store located in Santa Clarita, is offering a special promotion for Santa Clarita residents participating in the marathon. If a runner brings proof of registration to the store, they’ll receive 15 percent off one item and a complimentary can of Red Bull, whose officials help fund Wings for Life, event officials said.
For more information on the groundbreaking marathon or to sign up to participate, click here.
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