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Join Belfast Telegraph Sportperson of the Year Michael Conlan for 2016 Wings for Life World Run

Belfast Telegraph Sportsperson of the Year and world amateur boxing champion Michael Conlan will join a host of well known personalities in Sandycove, Dun Laoghaire in Dublin this weekend to run the 2016 Wings for Life World Run. 

This is the third year of the global charity run that sees over 100,000 people run at the same time in 34 locations worldwide, all of which start at noon local time. The race will start at the seafront in Dún Laoghaire.

Those confirmed to join over 2,000 runners at the start line include Belfast World Champion boxer Michael Conlan, Felix Jones (of Munster and Irish rugby player), Roz Purcell (model & nutritionist), Eoghan McDermott (RTE 2fm Presenter), Bernard Brogan (Dublin GAA), Wings for Life Amassador Mark Pollock and Irish Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD.

What makes the Wings For Life World Run unique is that the finish line catches you.

Thirty minutes after the athletes start, the Volkswagen Catcher Car will begin to follow all runners.  Driving slowly first, but increasing its speed at specific periods, the Volkswagen Catcher Car is the moving finish line. The winner will be deemed the last person to be caught by the car, both in Ireland and globally.

Runners of all abilities, fun runners and fanatics, young and old, will come together in Dun Laoghaire to run the Irish race.

Participants will run south towards Bray and Greystones, enjoying the beautiful coastal views and scenic landscape of the East Coast. There’s no static finish line, no set distance. Everyone finishes.

The event was launched in 2014 to raise funds for the Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation. Pioneering the concept of a synchronised race where participants across the world run simultaneously, the event introduced the Volkswagen Catcher Car format, in which a celebrity-driven vehicle gives the runners a head start, chasing the field at a predetermined pace.

While the individual man and woman last to be caught are declared global champions, all the participants have their own personal goals and motivations, which are as varied and unique as the runners themselves.

Michael Conlan said: "Spinal cord injury is a serious risk for all sportspeople and as such I am delighted to support the Wings for Life World Run. 

"The race both raises awareness and funding for spinal cord research. I would encourage runners of abilities to get behind the race and run for those who can’t on Sunday in Dun Laoghaire."

One-hundred percent of all entry fees and donations contributed by the Wings for Life World Run participants, and by the friends and families who support them to maximise their financial impact, goes to spinal cord research projects to help find a cure for spinal cord injuries.

The 2015 event saw 101,280 participants in 33 countries across 12 time zones raising €4.2 million for Wings for Life’s single goal.

Japan’s Yuuko Watanabe was crowned 2015 Wings for Life World Run Female Global Champion with 56.3 km, while Lemawork Ketema of Ethiopia repeated as men’s Global Champion in running to a distance of 79.9km.

As it will be in 2016, the entire event was followed by viewers across the globe, thanks to an enthralling live-stream experience, which shares the effort, elation and emotion of the runners.

Registration is open to all at www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com.

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