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

Published 04/05/2016

Michael Conlan. Pic: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Michael Conlan. Pic: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Michael Conlan, Felix Jones, Roz Purcell, Eoghan McDermott, Joe Canning and Ashling Thompson. Pic: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

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. 

Sports Star of the Year: Michael Conlan . Trophy presented by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Belfast Telegraph's editor Gail Walker, and Linwoods head of marketing Sarah Shimmons. Photo by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Sports Star of the Year: Michael Conlan . Trophy presented by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Belfast Telegraph's editor Gail Walker, and Linwoods head of marketing Sarah Shimmons. Photo by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Team of the Year winner: Northern Ireland football team. Manager Michael O'Neill and assistant coach Jimmy Nicholl collect the trophy on behalf of the team from champion cyclist Martyn Irvine and Patrick Woods, Director of Linwoods. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Belfast Telegraph Editor Gail Walker and Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards sponsored by Linwoods 2015 at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast.
Martin O'Neill is inducted into the Hall of Fame and presented with his trophy by football legends Pat Jennings, Gerry Armstrong, Michael O'Neill, Neil Lennon and joined by Chris Nelmes, Centre Manager of category sponsor The OUTLET Banbridge. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Hall of Fame award: Martin O'Neill is inducted into the Hall of Fame and presented with his trophy by Chris Nelmes, Centre Manager of category sponsor The OUTLET Banbridge. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Belfast boxer Michael Conlan gets a congratulatory kiss from his mum Theresa as he was named Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year at a glittering ceremony in Belfast’s Ramada Hotel last night
Manager of the Year winner: Michael O'Neill. Michael is presented with his award from Bolton Wanderers manager Neil Lennon and Richard McClean, Managing Director, Belfast Telegraph. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
After his storming World Cup for Ireland, the George Best Breakthrough Award is given to Ulster Rugby's Iain Henderson. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Top team: Representatives from the Commonwealth games Youth team, Conor Ferguson, Danielle Hill, Ben Fisher and James McGivern collect their award from rugby legend Tommy Bowe and Muriel O'Grady, chair of the SUBWAY Ireland Marketing Board
Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year: Steven Davis (collected by father David) .Rugby Legend Stephen Ferris and Rajesh Rana, Director of category sponsor Ramada Plaza presents David Davis with Stephen's trophy. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Young Player of the Year Conor Ferguson is presented with his trophy by Dame Mary Peters and Arthur Scott, Sport NI Interim Chief Executive. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Sportsperson with a Disability winner: Michael McKillop is presented with his trophy by Paddy Barnes and Joanne McDowell, Director for Northern Ireland of category sponsor, Big Lottery Fund. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Michael McKillop with Jackie Fullerton. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Winners all: Telegraph Sports Star of the Year Michael Conlan, flanked by Coach of the Year Michael O’Neill and Hall of Fame entrant Martin O’Neill
Local Heroes award winner: Aisling Reilly is presented with her trophy by GAA Tyrone Manager Mickey Harte and Brian Henning, Chair of Sport Northern Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Special recognition award goes to Crossmaglen's Paul Hearty. Paul Hearty is presented with his trophy by Belfast Giant's Matt Nickerson and Robert Cairns, Volvo Parts Manager of category sponsor Volvo. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Special recognition award goes to Crossmaglen's Paul Hearty. Photo: Paul Hearty aand Claire McCollum. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Young Team of the Year goes to the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Youth squad. Conor Ferguson, Danielle Hill, Ben Fisher and James McGivern collect their award from rugby legend Tommy Bowe and Muriel O'Grady, chair of the SUBWAY Ireland Marketing Board and franchisee. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Erin Cassidy, Julia McCann, Ella Rourke, Eile Bradley, Cara Gordon and Michela McAvoy pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards sponsored by Linwoods 2015 at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast.
Peter Spratt with his daughter Lucy pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards sponsored by Linwoods 2015 at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast.
Ben Fisher and Angel Reyes pictured at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards sponsored by Linwoods 2015 at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast.
Eileen Logan and Debby Armstrong
Sarah Shimmons, Michael O'Neill and Paddy Barnes
Carol McMenamin, Joanne Hayden and Jane Rowe
Gail Walker and Neil Lennon
Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards sponsored by Linwoods 2015 at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast.
Pat Jennings
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with boxer Michael Conlan pictured at the awards night. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th January 2016 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards sponsored by Linwoods 2015 at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast. Steven Beacom pictured at the awards night.   Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th January 2016 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards sponsored by Linwoods 2015 at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast. Guests at the awards night.   Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th January 2016 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards sponsored by Linwoods 2015 at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast. Guests at the awards night.   Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th January 2016 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards sponsored by Linwoods 2015 at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast. Stephen Baxter at the awards night.   Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th January 2016 - Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards sponsored by Linwoods 2015 at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast. Claire McCollum and Jackie Fullerton pictured at the awards night.   Picture by Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye

"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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