Shannon Rahlves wins Wings for Life World Run | SierraSun.com

Shannon Rahlves wins Wings for Life World Run

Sylas Wright
swright@sierrasun.com
Shannon Rahlves is interviewed after placing first among women in the Wings for Life World Run in Santa Clarita, Calif. Rahlves covered 23.1 miles before being caught from behind by the "catcher car."
Courtesy Daron Rahlves |

Given her competitive spirit and athleticism, Shannon Rahlves is a contender in just about any event she enters. This past Sunday it was the second annual Wings for Life World Run in Santa Clarita, Calif.

Rahlves, a regular top finisher in the Donner Lake Triathlon and the annual Rahlves’ Banzai Tour, was the top woman and 12th-place finisher overall in a field of more than 1,600 racers.

The race featured a one-of-a-kind format in which a “catcher car” set out 30 minutes after the last runner crossed the starting line and chased down the field. Pursued by this moving finish line, Rahlves covered 23.1 miles before she was caught.

“I expected to run 15 to 18 miles, but once I knew the catcher car was getting close, I told myself, ‘I’ve got to run,’” said Rahlves, who’s the sister of Olympic alpine ski racer Daron Rahlves of Truckee.

The fundraising event is produced by Red Bull in partnership with the Wings for Life Foundation, which raises awareness for spinal cord injuries. The 2015 Wings for Life World Run featured 35 simultaneous races on six continents, with 101,000 runners. Races in the United States were held in Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles, and Sunrise, Fla.

Among all the races worldwide, Ethiopian Lemawork Ketema in Austria and Yuuko Watanabe in Japan were the last male and female runners caught. They ran 49.7 and 35 miles, respectively.

Thibault Baronian of France, who ran 34.3 miles, was the top overall finisher in Santa Clarita.

As the top U.S. finishers, Rahlves and Baronian — as well as the top finishers from the Florida race — will choose anywhere in the world to compete in next year’s Wings for Life World Run.