(Pocket-lint) - Wings for Life Global Run is a unique charity run that aims to challenge participants, while raising money for spinal cord injury research.
The thing that sets this event apart from other races is that you can run it virtually. While there are runs in locations around the world, there's also the "app run", allowing anyone, of any skill or ability, anywhere, to take part.
That encourages huge diversity, wide participation, and the added element of using technology to drive the race along.
We slotted in a pair of Philips A7306 headphones, laced up our running shoes and ran a section of the river Thames in Surrey to get a first-hand taste of the action.
It's an app-based experience
The Wings for Life app drives the experience and about 30 minutes before the race starts, it springs to life, starting commentary like you'd get at any big race. Announcements, interviews - there's even a warm up to take yourself through.
As you need to run with your phone, this is why a good set of running headphones is important. We chose the Philips A7306, from the Philips Go range. This is a set of true wireless in-ear sports headphones, so there's no worry about plugging in - just connect, slip your phone into your pocket and off you go.
Getting the right fit
Before we started the race, we checked all our kit. It's always good to run in gear you've trained in so there's no surprise on race day.
That also includes the technology. The Philips A7306 come with a choice of three different tips to help you get the correct fit, while also offering a range of ear hook colours and designs.
These elements - the tips and hooks - help the Philips A7306 feel secure. Again, it's one less thing to worry about: they're not going to fall out of your ears when you're running.
Into the race
It was a sunny day in the UK on race day, a great temperature for running, but warm enough to soon work up a sweat.
Wings for Life lets you choose the route, so we decided to run along the banks of the river Thames, away from traffic and alongside plenty of other runners.
The commentary from the Wings for Life head office certainly adds a sense of occasion, so it feels like you're part of something much bigger - and you are.
The Philips A7306 coped perfectly with the sweat and dust off the dirt path thanks to their IP57 protection rating, while the good fit ensured great sound quality on the run too.
After 30 minutes, the chase car sets off. This is the unique element to Wings for Life - there's no fixed distance. When the chase car catches you your race is over - and we'd made it through about 6km before it started.
That's when the race was really on, it was getting warmer and we were starting to feel the effort a little more. That's also when another feature of the Philips A7306 comes in handy: it has a build-in heart rate sensor.
Via the Philips Headphone app, we'd turned this on before the race, and now a tap on the earbud would read out our heart rate. This is a great way to check how hard your body thinks you're running and ideal if you're aiming to run within particular heart rate ranges, or zones.
Reporting back a heart rate of 160bpm, we decided to ease off a little and drop the pace slightly for what we thought would be the second half of the race.
Before starting the race, we'd used the Wings for Life website to set a target, which we thought would be around 10km before the chaser car would catch us. But the kilometres clicked away and that second half was actually the middle third.
With a great playlist pushing tunes through the Philips A7306 headphones, we kept ahead of the chase car for about 30 minutes longer than we'd expected. We'd crossed Hampton Court Bridge, Kingston Bridge and were still going.
It was with some relief that the announcement came through that the race was over, putting nearly 16km on the board.
It was great to be part of something like the Wings for Life Global Run, to be one of 160,000 runners in 165 countries, raising €4.9 million for spinal cord research. And it was great to run with the Philips A7306 headphones.