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The 2021 Vitality Running World Cup Champion Announced

South Africa takes top spot of the world’s largest mass participation event. South Africa has today been crowned Champion of the 2021 Vitality Running World Cup.

Qualifying for the Finals in 2nd position, South Africa leapt up the leaderboard to take the win with 134,000 runners participating in the tournament.

In second place was Namibia with 3,408 runners. Just behind, Mongolia was 4,424 runners and in fourth place, England with 61,000. The score for each nation is calculated using a formula that includes the qualifying kilometres run divided by the population of the country and the smartphone penetration of that country, which provides a score for that country that enables smaller and larger countries to compete as fairly as possible.

Now in its third year, the world’s largest mass participation, free to enter running event, attracted over 628,000 registrations from 237 countries and territories with over 3.2 million kilometres completed over the three-week tournament. There were three knockout rounds to reach Champion status.

Taking place from 21 September to 10 October, the VRWC gave everyone – no matter their ability – a chance to run for their country in the world’s largest mass participation event. Each participant ran 3km in under 30 minutes to earn points for their country. Namibia, South Africa, England and Mongolia reached the Finals to go head to head for the 2021 crown.

Country captain Wayde van Niekerk says: “We are so excited to have taken the win at this year’s Running World Cup. I am so proud to have captained a country that time and time again has rallied behind powerful causes, especially during what has been such a challenging time for so many during the pandemic. Today, we celebrate gold and a massive step toward achieving Vitality’s aim of getting 100 million people 20% more active by 2025. Congratulations to all the runners who participated from around the world!”

Aiming to spark a global movement in health by empowering people to be more active, Nick Beresford, founder of the Vitality Running World Cup says of this year’s event: “We send our biggest congratulations to South Africa and to all runners contributing to the win, our 2021 Champions. We have seen over 628,000 runners of all ages and abilities across the world lace up over the past three weeks – it has been incredible to watch.”

Physical inactivity today is one of the biggest threats to society in terms of its link to chronic diseases of lifestyle, which directly impacts mortality and morbidity. Given recent insights that improved physical activity can build resilience against COVID-19 and improve mental wellbeing – two additional macro health trends in our world – getting people more active every day needs our collective attention. We are excited to be partnering with the Running World Cup to get the world moving more.”   

He added that a broader aim was for all participants to support UNICEF’s immunisation campaign, in the ongoing battle to protect children against Polio. “As runners completed their weekly goals on their Running World Cup app, Vitality donated a vaccine to a child in need through UNICEF.”

A staggering 189,403 Polio vaccines were donated worldwide through UNICEF as a result of the incredible commitment of the VRWC runners across the world. DM/MS

Find out more about this year’s event and plans for 2022 at www.runningworldcup.com 


About the Running World Cup:

The Running World Cup is a small organisation with a big dream, to get the world running together. Founded by Nick Beresford & supported by several partners and experts, The Running World Cup hosted over 180 countries in the inaugural 2018 competition, 237 countries in 2020, and is on track to become the world’s largest mass participation sporting event in 2021. Social channels: Twitter: @runningworldcup | Instagram: @runningworldcup | Facebook: @Runningworldcup2021

Participation is simple; individuals can register via www.runningworldcup.com, download the app and log at least 3km in under 30 minutes – the more runs each person logs, the more kilometre points they score for their country. Runs can take place at any time and location that suits the participant, be it your favourite parkrun or running race to your normal daily running routes. Every run registered contributes towards their country’s total and as the weeks go by, countries with the highest number of kilometres run (relative to their country size and smartphone penetration) will progress to the knock-out stages. Each person who takes part receives a digital goodie bag and discounts for great brands and services including Freetrain, Vitruvian, CRX Compression and Green Chef.

Press enquiries: Nicki Petitt, [email protected] 

About Vitality:

Vitality is part of Discovery Limited, a worldwide insurer and investment manager protecting more than 20 million members in 31 markets worldwide, across Europe, the United States, Australia, South Africa, Canada and China.   

Vitality pioneered the ‘shared-value’ insurance model, a unique approach based on the scientifically proven principles of behavioural economics. Through this model, Vitality helps members take a more active role in managing their own wellness, encouraging them to develop healthy long-term habits that are good for them, good for the company and good for society. The effect is positive for all stakeholders – members benefit from better health, financial rewards and additional incentives; employers benefit from healthier, more productive, and more engaged employees; and Vitality benefits from a healthier membership base.   

Vitality Ambassadors Jessica Ennis-Hill, Heather Knight, Tracey Neville, Alex Scott, Ellie Simmonds, Jos Buttler, Maro Itoje, Joe Root and Jonny Wilkinson are role models who embody the company’s values. They use their passion for living a healthy, active lifestyle to motivate others to make positive changes, promoting the message that taking small steps today can dramatically improve wellbeing over the long-term. In the UK, Vitality operates as four distinct businesses:  VitalityHealth, VitalityLife, VitalityInvest and VitalityCar employing more than 2000 people in London, Bournemouth, Stockport and Croydon.  


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