A mouth-painting artist will join a host of famous faces and elite athletes to launch the first ever Wings for Life World Run on Sunday.
Keith Jansz, from Finmere, will take part in the main race held at Silverstone Circuit as part of his role as ambassador for the Wings for Life charity.
Keith said: “To be involved in the main race is tremendous. It is such a worthwhile thing that has spin-offs for many different aspects of medicine. It is not just a cure for spinal injury. Along the way they are discovering many cures for lots of other diseases.”
Any costs for the event will be met by Red Bull so 100 per cent of the £40 entry fee goes to fund spinal injury research, which is how Keith got involved. Keith, who also carried the Olympic torch in Stoke Mandeville in 2012, was asked to join the campaign by a mutual friend of Christian Horner, Red Bull’s Forumla One racing team boss. Keith has become a renowned mouth artist after a car accident in 1995 left him with a severe spinal injury. He is paralysed from the shoulders down, cannot use his hands and has limited mobility in his arms.
The race, which features runners trying to beat a chasing ‘catcher car’, represents a particular challenge for Keith.
He said: “For me just to push on a flat surface with the physical ability that I have got is quite an achievement. I have never been involved with something physical since being in a wheelchair. Painting has been my life.
“This has been a real challenge, I have been exercising and training.”
The winner of the race will be the runner who can keep running for the furthest without the ‘catcher car’ overtaking it.
Wings for Life has its roots in Formala one, having been started by Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz and two time motocross champion Heinz Kinigadner, so it is fitting that Silverstone should host the British race. Events in another 31 countries will launch simultaneously (11am BST) in six continents around the world.
After completing a lap of the home of the British Grand Prix, runners will head out into the Northants and Bucks countryside, taking in Blakesley to the north, heading west to Thorpe Mandeville and as far south as Stowe.
Forumla One stars past and present will be involved in races around the world, including Sebastian Vettel, Eddie Jordan and Mark Webber alongside a host of top-level athletes hoping to take the global title.
Online registration for the event at Silverstone has closed but runners may register between 8-9am on the day. For more information go to www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com