Midnight Marathoners for Charity

Midnight Marathoners for Charity

Central doesn’t open ‘till 7am, guys

In a joint venture between the ski club (OUSSC) and canoe club (OUCC), and one lonely member of the bike club (OUBC), on Sunday May 5th a group of 30 students competed in the Red Bull event Wings for Life, a global charity run. 

The group’s run was part of the global 2024 Wings for Life, officially recognised as the largest running event in the world. The premise of the run is that it kicks off at the exact same time globally (hence the 11pm start) and asks participants to run as far as they can before being chased down by a virtual Catcher Car through an app. It’s hard at this point in the semester to say whether all the students running around campus in the wee hours of the night were partaking in the event, or employing a Critic approved writer’s block method.

Starting on campus at 11pm, the battlers raised $700 for spinal cord research, with some running a half-marathon by 1am on Monday morning, tracing a large loop from the OUSA archway (where the Pint Night line extends) to St Dave’s. They were charitably given a head start of 30 minutes on the Catcher Car, which got exponentially quicker as time wore on. 

To gauge the vibes on the night/morning, Critic Te Ārohi spoke with event organiser and OUSSC President Peter, who stated, “It was great fun, though not the ideal time of day to be doing that sort of thing.” OUSA President Keegan Wells, who took part in the event, disagreed: “The ability to run is just natural at that time.”

Peter didn’t seem to have an issue with the run itself though, clocking up 21km before eventually throwing in the towel. “I was kind of keen just to get to the half mark. When we got to the end, it turns out a bunch of us had that idea of just letting the car catch up to us,” said Peter. After the event, he admitted, “I slept pretty much the whole next day.” 

Keegan’s views on the event were brutally pessimistic, stating “nothing is stronger and faster than a Red Bull truck that's coming to mow you down on a random Monday at 1am.” She got mowed down after a measly 12km, musing that she “was hoping for car crash noises in your ear when you got caught […] I wanted it to be a bit more scary.” 

In comparison, the actual result was “quite upsetting” according to Keegan, with the virtual chaser congratulating you for your efforts instead of brutally condemning you for failing. The furthest distance anyone was able to muster before being mowed down by the Catcher Car was 70.1km in Japan. But they probably weren’t running at midnight on a day only meant for dusty naps.

Summing up her thoughts on the night, Keegan said, “It was a whole lot of fun and I think it really shows the juxtaposition that a lot of people have in their view of the Canoe Club and Ski Club as being these party animals to the intense multi sport athletes they actually are […] and how not fun Critic’s News Editor is for bailing.” Oops.

This article first appeared in Issue 11, 2024.
Posted 5:05pm Saturday 11th May 2024 by Hugh Askerud.