Catcher Car – how long could you outrun it?

A Catcher Car chases a Wings for Life World Run competitor in Guadalajara, Mexico © Marcos Ferro for Wings for Life World Run/Red Bull Content Pool

Race fans keen on something a little different could do worse than outpace a ‘Catcher Car’ in the Wings for Life World Run.

The 2018 event takes place soon, May 6, and is held simultaneously in numerous locations and via an App across the world.

Everyone starts at the same time, whether day or night in a bid to raise cash for the Wings for Life Foundation. There is no set distance to run and no set time to do it in.

A unique format features a Catcher Car, which chases runners along the course or virtually in the App. The Catcher Car gradually gets faster until each participant has been caught. Competitors run as far as they can until they are passed by this moving finish line.

By having the Catcher Car, it allows all abilities to complete the run – the slower ones are passed early while ultra athletes go on for hours.

It certainly sounds an intriguing challenge.

Colin Jackson gives tips on how to take on the Catcher Car

Former Team GB hurdler Colin Jackson is the Sport Director for the event. Here’s 3 of his top tips on how to prepare for the ‘dreaded’ Catcher Car.

Tailor your running style

Being chased creates all sorts of changes in your mindset. The most important thing is to have good pace judgment. Don’t go off too hard at the start. Try to run at the same speed throughout the race, which you can do by focusing on your arms. Keep your arm carriage – how you swing them – low and loose. Stay as relaxed as you can, and it’ll help you to hold a steady pace.

Preparation is key

To prepare for the race, I’d say the best thing to do is download our app (available on iOS and Android) and get used to racing against the Catcher Car. Pick a good course that you know and which is compatible with your ability, and start training. If you’re doing an App Run along with your own track, you can train on exactly that course, so there’ll be no surprises on race day. Good solid all-round general physical conditioning will help, too.

Add in some core exercises before or after your run; building muscle will help your body posture.

During your training sessions, get used to hydrating while running, as you may be out for longer than ever before. Another thing is to make sure you have good equipment, shoes, and clothes – they’re vital!

Don’t sprint when the Catcher Car approaches

As the Catcher Car approaches in the distance, don’t break into an instant sprint; you can increase your pace by swinging your arms faster, which will help to lengthen your stride, meaning you’ll be covering more ground. You should only start sprinting when you can hear the Catcher Car is very close to you. Don’t look behind you! Keep your focus in front and run as hard as you can.

Those keen to sign up to the Wings for Life World Run can head to www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com. App Runs will take place in the UK in Richmond and Cambridge.

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