Wayde van Niekerk invites you to run for your country – against Usain Bolt, Jamaica and the world

06 November 2019 Discovery

Taking place in 2020, from 5 March to 5 April, the Vitality Running World Cup gives everyone the chance to represent their country in an annual, free-to-enter, knockout, global running competition.

The Vitality Running World Cup (VRWC) today announced the kick-off of a mass running movement designed to encourage people to Move More and get more active.

Taking place in 2020, from 5 March to 5 April, the Vitality Running World Cup gives everyone the chance to represent their country in an annual, free-to-enter, knockout, global running competition. Open to anyone, every participant who completes three kilometres in under 30 minutes and track their kilometres via a smartphone or fitness device, will be able to contribute towards their country’s total. Participation is free by signing up at

Three iconic Olympic Gold medallists have been named country captains for the VRWC, each encouraging their respective nations to lace up and take part. The eight-time gold medallist and global ambassador Usain Bolt will captain Jamaica, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill will captain the UK, and Rio 2016 champion and Discovery Vitality ambassador Wayde van Niekerk will lead for South Africa. A host of further captains will be announced soon.

Van Niekerk says, “I’m excited to be captaining South Africa for the Vitality Running World Cup, and to have the opportunity to encourage all South Africans to run with me, for our country. The competition gives everyone, regardless of their level of running, the chance to get up and moving. Together, we can make SA fitter and healthier. Good luck to all the runners and their countries!”

As the world’s largest behaviour change platform linked to insurance, Vitality has a history of using incentives and partnerships to influence and positively change people’s behaviour, in particular around physical activity.

Commenting on the Vitality Running World Cup, Dinesh Govender, Discovery Vitality Chief Executive in South Africa, said: “We’re excited about bringing this free running event to the whole of South Africa in a bid to get everyone moving more. This is also Vitality’s first global initiative to help encourage 100 million people to get 20% more active by 2025 and builds on our successful interventions over many years in encouraging physical activity.”

One of the ways in which Vitality has been encouraging members to get active, is through partnerships and collaborations such as parkrun. With parkrun in South Africa, Vitality is hosting a special 6km-distance at some parkrun locations, to coincide with parkrun’s 8th birthday on 9 November 2019. Govender said: “We are excited to extend the standard 5km run to a 6km distance to encourage regular parkrunners and new participants to be 20% more active.”

The new Vitality Running World Cup announcement was made at an event hosted by Vitality to launch a ground-breaking study on the benefits of regular exercise on economic growth, workforce productivity and life expectancy, evidencing the power of fit bodies to drive fit economies.

Nick Beresford, founder of the Running World Cup in 2018, commented: We are thrilled to work with Vitality – their passion and vision for getting more people moving is the exact reason why this competition exists. The Vitality Running World Cup gives everyone a chance to take pride in where they are from and represent their country whilst encouraging an active and healthy lifestyle. No matter your running ability, every kilometre will help your country's chance of winning. We hope to inspire the next generation of runners and get over 1 million people participating.”

Country captain for Jamaica, Usain Bolt commented: “Nothing made me prouder in my career than running for my country – and this event is giving everyone the chance to do the same, no matter their level. I hope by being part of this and leading my country, I can help inspire people across the world to get involved. Good luck to all the countries taking part – especially Jamaica!”

Participating in the competition is simple; individuals can register via and every run registered via a fitness device which is at least 3km within 30 minutes, contributes towards their country’s total. As the weeks go by, countries with the highest number of kilometres run relative to their country size and fitness device penetration will progress to the knockout stages.

To find out more about the Vitality Running World Cup and register visit:

For further information please contact:

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