It could have been a scene from an action movie. A man is running on a remote road in Austria, hunted down relentlessly by a car. He turns his head nervously, increasing his speed to make sure the approaching vehicle does not catch him. He refuses to give in.
On Sunday, Ethiopia's Lemawork Ketema (pictured above) kept on running until he won the thrilling race with no finish line.
The inaugural Wings for Life World Run saw 35,000 runners competing simultaneously in 32 countries and across 13 different time zones, raising money for the Wings of Life foundation, a charity dedicated to finding a cure for spinal cord injuries.
With literally no end in sight, competitors were chased by ‘Catcher Cars’, which began advancing towards them 30 minutes after the starting pistol was fired, and steadily increasing in speed.
Runners were overtaken by the cars and duly eliminated one by one. The winner, Lemawork Ketema, completed 78.57km (48.8 miles) over five hours before being caught.
The ground-breaking race format united runners of 164 nations and finished with a thrilling finale between Ketema, who was running the race in Austria, and Remigio Huaman Quispe of Peru, who was caught just 90 metres earlier.
Under the watchful eye of Race Director (and former 110m hurdles world champion) Colin Jackson, 18-year-old Elise Selvikvåg Molvik of Norway was the leading woman, lasting for a staggering four hours and 54.79km (34 miles).
Elise Molvik, global winner of the women's race
In Belgium, heptathlete Nafi Thiam covered 10.13km, quite a performance considering the longest distance she has to cover in a heptathlon is 800m.
The event raised over €3 million, and another World Run has already been confirmed for May 2015. Full results of this year’s race can be found here, and you can watch the action below.