David Mzee of Switzerland celebrates with his partner Janine Faessler during the seventh edition of the Wings for Life World Run - App Run in Wetzikon, Switzerland on May 3, 2020. // Romina Amato for Wings for Life World Run // AP-23WDVPR2H1W11 // Usage for editorial use only //

In 2010, David Mzee injured his spinal cord and was left paralysed. But thanks to Professor Grégoire Courtine‘s ground-breaking clinical study, he learned to walk again.

Last year, he’d already crossed the start line of the Wings for Life World Run charity run and inspired thousands by covering an astonishing 390m.

This Sunday, on May 3, Mzee once again exceeded expectations to walk a record 467m in his second participation. Here is all you need to know:

– This year’s Flagship Runs were cancelled in light of the current health situation, but Mzee was one of more than 77,000 people worldwide to use the official app to perform their own run and keep raising funds for a cure for spinal cord injury.

– He took to a track start line with Swede Nklas Sjöblom, who also lives in Switzerland, and was a previous run winner in Zug in 2018 and again in South Africa last year.

– This year, they pushed each other, Sjöblom finishing first in Switzerland with a distance of 62.1km before being caught by the Catcher Car.

– Mzee, meanwhile, had set himself an ambitious target of 400m having trained at home on a treadmill with bodyweight support.

– “One of the best memories of last year was all the people running by, applauding and cheering for me,” he said. “That was a super exciting feeling.

– “Here on this track I didn’t have that many people. Some ran by, were waving and that gave me a lot of energy. I could feel the people of last year in my heart and it was really cool to feel the support and know that so many people are running with the app.”

– The Swiss credited his improved speed with improved functionality in his body as well as training hard, but also insisted he was aided by a technological boost.

– He added: “The hardware changed. So, I’m using these sensors on my shank. Now it’s not that the stimulation only kicks in every 1.5 seconds, but it kicks in when I want.

– “If my leg hits a certain angle, stimulation kicks in so that lets me walk at my pace and lets me time everything much better. That’s one of the big reasons I could improve. Today it went perfect over the 490m.”

– A total of 77,103 people across 104 countries ran, walked or rolled simultaneously on Sunday. Separated by distance, but united in spirit, they raised €2.8m (US$3.04m) for spinal cord injury research.

– Mzee, who’s been aided by funds raised at previous Wings for Life World Run, thanked those for taking part this year while committing himself to competing again next year.

– “I’m happy that so many people participated with the app,” he said. “It’s not the same, but people were like ‘let’s do something, let’s run’. I’m looking forward to the next Wings for Life World Run and to hopefully set a new record.”

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