Race Recap: Wings for Life World Run Melbourne

Event: Wings for Life World Run
Date: 3rd May 2015
Type: Point to Point
Where: World Wide
Melbourne Start: Elwood Park 9 pm
Event Partners: Spinal Cord Research, Red Bull, Garmin, Puma, LED Lense, Lime Light Sports, BSC

Wings for life is an event that is not like any other event out there.

Why and how do I hear you ask?

Well, there is no finish line!

“No finish line?” I hear you say. Yes, no finish line. You run until the catcher car passes you. Then your race is over. This may only be 5km, or it could be 50km. It’s up to you on the day.

When I first heard of this event earlier this year, it was something that I knew I had to do.  In 2014 the Wings for Life event was held in Bunbury (Perth, WA).  Who is to say that it will be held in Melbourne in 2016?  It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I had to take.


The global start time for the Melbourne location was 9 pm.

As I am not normally a night runner, I had no idea how I was going to go on the event day.  I’m used to running in the morning, not at night. So what exactly do you eat for dinner? Well, Brinner (breakfast for dinner) of course!


I chose to eat a pear, topped with greek yoghurt and toasted muesli.  This is what I normally have before a morning event. So it made sense to have this for an evening event.


As to what to wear, well it all depended on the weather.  I brought with me a long & short sleeve top and pant set.  On the day I decided on this outfit.

Top – Asics Long sleeve high visibility vest
Bottoms – DHB shorts
Socks – Pro Compressions
Shoes – Brooks Pure Cadence 2
Other – SCTR Thir & Petzl tikka headlamp

At 6:30 pm I hopped into the car and drove over to Caulfield Race Course, where the event organisers had arranged free parking and a free shuttle bus to take us to the event village.

I decided on this option for the following reasons:

  1. Trying to find parking locally I knew was going to be a nightmare
  2. Driving at night, is just another reason to get lost
  3. They organised free buses, why not take it!

I did take the wrong turn when I got to Caulfield.  This did not help my nerves, but once I found the parking lot, I jumped on one of the buses and spoke to a couple of people.

It was there I met Katherine.  She was aiming to do 10km.  She has family out in Ararat and is hoping to do Run The Gap again this year.  If I see her again I’ll let you know.

RunMum-RMA Erin

After filling out all the forms, lining up for the toilet queue, and then dropping off my bag, I finally caught up with another RMA member Erin.

She was hoping to get anywhere from 17-21km.  She ended up smashing out 22.5km.  We lost each other at the start, just too many people, and all you could see were orange vests.

I started my watch at exactly 9 pm, even though I was still 200m away from the start line, I wanted to take that into factor, also saved me having to start it when I did cross it.

Let me tell you it was extremely congested.  People who were in slower start waves of course were at the front, so that first km was extremely slow.  It wasn’t until we were out on the main road that I was able to make up some time.

Homeowners were out on the footpath waving and cheering us on.  Was truly fantastic.

The one and only photo I took while on the course was this one.

Participants - Action

Um yeah, pathetic I know, but I had to include it cause it’s funny. Here is an official photo of the Melbourne Event. 

At the 10km, I decided I would listen to the Wings for Life mix that Rock my Run created. It’s a fantastic mix, and I’m glad I waited to listen to it until event day. The mix is only 45 minutes long, which is why I decided to listen to it around the 10km mark.

The difference between road running and trail running is that road runners seem to be in their own zone and not really communicative.  I only ended up talking to one person while on the road.  That was James.  He told me he was part of the Lysterfield trail running group.  I think one of the reasons why he spoke to me was because I was wearing a Surf Coast Trail Runners THIR. He had already run 20km out on the trails that morning. He was aiming to get to 15km.  I have no idea if he got there.  I’m sure he smashed it out and then some more.

I played cat and mouse with this one girl. She had her bib number (and name) on her back.  Her name was Jo, and we were pretty much on pace with each other.  At the 16km mark, I passed her, and I never saw her again. She made a great pacer, thanks Jo, I hope you reached your goal.

Speaking of goals I will let you know now that I did set a goal to run 25km.  That is a 5:05 pace per km.  Did I make that goal? No, nor did I make any of my sub-goals (23km or half marathon distance).  The catcher car passed me at 20.64km (according to my watch, officially 20.42km)

Was I disappointed that I didn’t make my goal?  I would be lying if I didn’t say yes.  I was utterly disappointed, however, it is what it is.

So what stopped me from running the 25km? Well, there were a lot of factors, but I don’t want those negativities to dwell on the actual event.

I will tell you to know that I’m glad that I have taken a few days to write this recap because if I wrote this immediately after the event (which I normally do), it would have been a sea of negativity.

Like having to wait over 30 minutes for a replacement bus to take us back to the event village! Then another 20 minutes to get back to the Caulfield racecourse!

Being handed a wings-for-life pin and a thermal space blanket was a win. I have to say that the pin is one of my fav racing tokens.

runmum bling

In other news, the 2015 Melbourne female winner was another RMA member Kelly-Ann.

Kelly-Ann Varey (AUS) - Winner

51km what a champion!

The wings for life event is definitely a race you need to put on your running calendar.  It’s well organised, has a fantastic atmosphere and supports a worthwhile cause; Spinal Cord Research.

There will be a day that I will no longer be able to run.  So I will run while I can.

8 thoughts on “Race Recap: Wings for Life World Run Melbourne”

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  2. Great recap, there were a couple of girls from our Runners Connect group who did it too. Absolutely marvelous run and you know I get it about being our own worst critics but as you said, this race was unique, never done before, so you had nothing to base your hoped for 25km on, unless you often train in the pitch black with a sea of people on a city road, hmmm? Yes yes I know the cup is half full always with me, but life’s too short yanno. Now I think it was on the radio I heard this, but don’t quote me on it, but I’m sure they said next year would be in Melb too, and it would clash with Mother’s Day weekend. But not sure where I heard that. So it might be wrong.

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