VWC 2020

The first half of the 2020 tower running season has been completely halted by coronavirus restrictions and there hasn’t been a tower race anywhere since mid-March. Dozens of races, including big events such as the Empire State Building Run-Up and the TWA World Championship race at Taipei 101, have been postponed or cancelled outright. But what about the nine races that form the Vertical World Circuit?

Read on to find out about the postponements and new dates for the races in the Vertical World Circuit 2020.

Allianz Vertical Run – Allianz Tower, Milan, Italy

The race up the 1,027-step Allianz Tower was scheduled for 19 April, but even though the organisers waited until the end of March to officially announce its postponement, it was clear very early on in the ongoing coronavirus situation that this event wasn’t going to happen as planned.

Allianz Tower Run 2020

The organisers are hoping to reschedule within 2020 so it can still slot into this year’s Vertical World Circuit. There’s no fixed date yet.

You can keep up to date with announcements on the Allianz Vertical Run Facebook page.

VertiGo – Tour First, Paris, France

Initially scheduled as the second race in the VWC 2020 to take place on May 14, VertiGO was rescheduled early on.

Competitors will now head to the tallest skyscraper in France to race up 954 steps on Thursday 24 September.

The event typically attracts top European tower runners, but with the new date so close to the rescheduled race at the Eiffel Tower (30 September) we may well see some international elites from further afield heading to France early to do the Parisian double.

Find out more details on the event at the VertiGO website.

Tunnel to Towers Tower Climb – One World Trade Center, New York, USA
world-trade-center

One World Trade Center in New York City

The tallest tower on the VWC, One World Trade Center was set to host a race on 14 June. With New York hit particularly hard by COVID-19, it was inevitable that this race wouldn’t be happening on the set date.

The race has now been shifted to Sunday 22 November.

The T2T NYC Tower Climb site or the general Tunnel to Towers FB page are the best places to check for updates on this race.

The Broadgate Tower Run Up – London, UK

The most competitive race on the UK tower running calendar, the Broadgate Tower Run Up was set to take place on 5 July.

The organisers then shifted the race to Sunday 27 September.

Unfortunately, due to the remaining uncertainty surrounding sporting events, they’ve now taken the decision to cancel the 2020 edition.

We look forward to its return in 2021.

The remaining races

The five remaining races in the VWC originally scheduled for the second half of 2020 are all still hoping to go ahead as planned:

  1. Race to Shanghai IFC, Two Shanghai International Finance Centre – Shanghai, China (18 October)
  2. Beijing Vertical Run, China World Summit Wing – Beijing, China (31 October)
  3. Dubai Holding SkyRun, Jumeirah Emirates Tower – Dubai, UAE (6 November)
  4. Harukas Skyrun, Abeno Harukas – Osaka, Japan (15 November)
  5. Race to Hong Kong ICC, International Commerce Centre – Hong Kong (6 December)

The last four months of 2020 will be action packed if all these races go ahead as planned. The travel schedule for the world’s top tower runners hoping to take part will also be hectic. Here’s hoping all the top athletes can compete at their best.

ESBRU 2010

In 2010, defending champion Thomas Dold was going for a record-equaling fifth win. New and familiar faces were lined up in the lobby aiming to put a stop to the German juggernaut. In the women’s division, three-time champ Suzy Walsham was sitting out the race while pregnant. Could Cindy Harris now finally claim a fifth title? Or would a new champion emerge?

If you missed the first installment of this series on the history of the Empire State Building Run-Up covering 1978-1980, you can read it here. Or jump back to 1981-19831984-19871988-19901991-19931994-19971998199920002001200220032004200520062007, 2008 or 2009 instead.

Otherwise read on for the next installment in the series and find out what happened at the Empire State Building Run-Up in 2010.

The first Vertical World Circuit

With his fourth ESBRU title in the bag, Thomas Dold set about the rest of the 2009 season eager to secure more accolades.

His win in New York in February had been the first race in the newly launched Vertical World Circuit (VWC), a stair climbing series consisting of eight events across four continents: Empire State Building Run-Up (New York), Ramada Tower Run (Basel), Pirelli Tower Vertical Sprint (Milan), Taipei 101 Run-Up, SkyRun Berlin, Sydney Tower Run Up, Torre de Collserola Vertical (Barcelona) and the ​​Singapore Vertical Marathon. A proposed ninth race at the Donauturm in Vienna was cancelled due to building works at the tower.

Dold would dedicate the rest of the year to winning the inaugural Vertical World Circuit.

Ramada Tower Run (Basel) 2009

Less than three weeks after his ESBRU victory, 24-year old Dold was in Switzerland, ready to renew his rivalry with European tower running sprint specialist Gabriel Lombriser.

The pair had been swapping course records at the 542-step Ramada hotel in Basel since Lombriser set a new record at the second edition in 2005. Dold broke it in 2006 and Lombriser claimed it back in 2007.

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The Ramada hotel in Basel, Switzerland

Dold hadn’t attended the 2008 edition of the race, but he was back on Saturday 21 February 2009 to face off once more with his Swiss rival.

Victory eluded the German, who had to settle for second behind the record setting Lombriser, who clocked a best time of 2:41.

Dold’s finishing time was just 0.9 seconds slower.

Pirelli Tower Vertical Sprint 2009

Dold skipped the Vertical Sprint at the Pirelli Tower in Milan 10 days later.

In Dold’s absence, Italians Marco De Gasperi and Fabio Ruga battled it out for top spot.

De Gasperi already had points on the board for the VWC, having finished second to Dold at the ESBRU in February, and was looking to pick up the maximum points available in this race.

He managed it by securing the narrowest of victories, with mere centimetres separating him from Ruga at the finish line.

Fabio Ruga

Marco De Gasperi (r) wins the 2009 Pirelli Tower Vertical Sprint ahead of Fabio Ruga

Record setting run in Stuttgart

Dold was back in action on Sunday 10 May at the 850-step Fernsehturm Stuttgart (TV Tower). He had won every edition of the race since it began in 2006.

Christian Riedl, Tomas Celko and Marcus Zahlbruckner were among the men looking to stop Dold’s winning run.

But the three-time champ was unstoppable as he set a new course record of 4:05.

Taipei 101 Run-Up 2009

The following weekend, Thomas Dold waited in the lobby of Taipei 101 alongside De Gasperi and Ruga. The experienced Fu-Cai Chen, third at the 2007 and 2008 Taipei 101 Run-Ups and fifth at the 2008 ESBRU, was with them, as was Pedro Ribeiro.

With a first and a second-place finish apiece leaving them level so far in the Vertical World Circuit standings, the pressure was on Dold and De Gasperi to win and create a bit of distance from the other.

The climate in Taipei that May was oppressively humid and created tough conditions inside the stairwell that put additional strain on the athletes.

Dold set off first at 8am and was followed 20 seconds later by De Gasperi.

The German maintained the distance from his Italian rival for around 40 floors, before De Gasperi began to close the gap.

‘Towards the 60th floor, I had gotten very close to Dold’, recalled De Gasperi shortly after the race, ‘so much so that I could hear his breathless breathing a few stairs above me. At that point, however, the effort began to take over.’

By the time they reached the top De Gasperi had managed to cut the gap again slightly but it wasn’t enough to take victory.

Dold clocked 11:05 to take the win, while De Gasperi had to settle for second with his 11:15 finish.

Thomas Dold Taipei 2009 finish

Thomas Dold 2009 Taipei 101 Run Up

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An exhausted Thomas Dold is helped from the finish line at the 2009 Taipei 101 Run-Up

The dominance continues

A week later, Dold was back racing in Germany. It was his third top-level race in 14 days. This time the venue was the Messeturm in Frankfurt.

It was the third edition of the race at the tower, which saw runners race up 1,344 steps to the 61st floor. Dold’s long-time rival, 26-year old Matthias Jahn, had won the first two editions of the race and was back in Frankfurt looking for a third straight win.

Dold 2009

Dold waiting to run in Frankfurt

But Dold was in dominant form. He set a new course record of 6:36 to take the honours ahead of Jahn, who reached the top in 6:54.

Thomas Dold Messeturm Frankfurt 2009

Thomas Dold nears the finish on his way to victory at the Messeturm Frankfurt in 2009

Dold messeturm 2009 winner

Thomas Dold celebrates his win at the Messeturm in Frankfurt

Eight days later, on Whit Monday 1 June, Dold raced for the fourth time in a little over three weeks. Once more he was squaring off against emerging European tower running stars Tomas Celko and Christian Riedl.

The 770 steps of the Park Inn Berlin-Alexanderplatz were the proving ground this time.

Dold had won the three previous editions of the race and was a favourite to make it four in a row.

He did just that, taking almost five seconds off his previous best time to set a new course record of 3:09.

In a little over 21 days, Thomas Dold had fully established himself as a practically invincible force in the world of tower running. In four races, he had set three course records and beaten many of the top competitors in the world in the process.

Dold took a break from racing in June and July and prepared for more Vertical World Circuit races in the back end of the year.

Sydney Tower Run-Up 2009

Sydney Tower Run-up winners

The next race in the series was the Sydney Tower Run-Up on Friday 21 August.

This event had been churning out Empire State Building Run-Up champions since the late 1980s. The offer of a trip to New York with race entry to the ESBRU had proven a lucrative draw for top Australian athletes.

Multi-time ESBRU winners, Geoff Case, Belinda Soszyn and Paul Crake were just some of the brilliant tower runners to emerge victorious in Sydney over the years.

Dold was making his debut at the 1,504-step tower, where A$7,500 were up for grabs for the winner. He would be going up against a familiar challenger in the form of Scott McTaggart.

McTaggart had won the Sydney Tower Run-Up for the past three years. He’d also finished fourth at the ESBRU in 2008 and 2009, so Dold knew who he was.

Also in attendance were former Australian mountain running champion Daniel Green, an old rival of Paul Crake, and 2004 Sydney Tower Run-Up winner Jeremey Horne.

Even with such a strong field of experienced competitors, Dold was tipped to win. But there was a dark horse in the line up who, although he was making his stair running debut, was anticipated to mount the most serious challenge to the German star.

It was the newly crowned Australian mountain running champion, Mark Bourne.

Dold and Bourne 2009 Sydney

Mark Bourne, Jim White, Thomas Dold and Scott McTaggart at the 2009 Sydney Tower Run-Up

But Dold secured the win with a time of 7:04. Newcomer Mark Bourne followed in 7:26 and Scott McTaggart took third spot in 7:35.

Dold had only arrived in Sydney on Tuesday, three days before the race, and just three hours after winning he was on a plane heading back to Germany.

Thomas Dold Sydney Tower Run Up winner 2009

Four weeks later, Dold set a new backwards running world record. Already a multi-world record holder in the discipline, he cut 23 seconds off his own 1,500m record to set a new best time of 5:01.

Two race-free months followed before Dold headed to Singapore for the finale of the Vertical World Circuit at the Swissotel Vertical Marathon on Sunday 22 November.

Singapore Vertical Marathon – the Vertical World Circuit finale

With an unassailable lead in the VWC, Dold wasn’t joined in Singapore by any of his big rivals.

Three-time winner Pedro Ribeiro and Poland’s Tomasz Klisz were well-established stair runners, but none were in the league of Dold.

Dold had broken the course record that had stood for nearly two decades when he won the event in 2008 in a time of 6:52. He was almost certain to win again. All eyes were on the clock to see if the German could beat his own time.

DSCN7656

Thomas Dold (r) alongside Pedro Ribeiro (12) at the start of the 2009 Swissotel Vertical Marathon

He ran clear from all his rivals, finishing almost a minute ahead of Klisz as he set a new record of 6:46.

Dold Swissotel Vertical Marathon 2009 winner

Thomas Dold on the roof of the Swissotel The Stamford, Singapore after setting a new course record

Dold Singapore 2009 winner

DSCN7664

Thomas Dold toasts his win alongside women’s winner Suzy Walsham

Dold left immediately for New Zealand to race at the Sky Tower Vertical Challenge in Auckland three days later. Predictably he won, setting what was widely reported as a new record time of 4:53.

Thomas Dold Sky Tower Auckland 2009

Thomas Dold nears the finish at the Sky Tower, Auckland in 2009

[Ed. note – The previous best time of 5:17 was set by Jonathan Wyatt in 1999. Paul Crake’s best time at the tower was 5:38. Wyatt and Crake had run 5:07 and 5:08 respectively in a brilliant race in 2002, but that was on a slightly shorter, altered course. Back in the early 2000s the race started with an approximately 150m pre-run into the tower. We were unable to determine if the 2009 edition started with a pre-run. But it’s hard to believe, although not inconceivable, that Dold undercut the time of two of the best tower runners of all time by 24+ seconds if he started from the same spot.]

With the first Vertical World Circuit title and a bunch of new course records in the bag, Dold headed into 2010 confident of securing a fifth Empire State Building Run-Up title.

2010 Empire State Building Run-Up

There was a notable absentee among the women lined up in the lobby of the Empire State Building on Tuesday 2 February 2010 for the 33rd edition of the Run-Up. The three-time winner from Australia Suzy Walsham, who had also won the Taipei 101 Run-Up and Singapore Vertical Marathon in 2009, was pregnant and sitting out the race.

Not since 2003 had anyone but Andrea Mayr or Suzy Walsham won the ESBRU. Finally there would be a different name in the record books.

Cindy Harris had bagged her fourth title in 2003, and since then she had finished in second place four times, as well as third and fourth in other years.

She’d retained her Bop to the Top title in Indianapolis nine days prior to the ESBRU, so was obviously in good shape. As a result, the Indianapolis veteran who had won her first ESBRU title in 1998 was on the shortlist of expected winners.

There were plenty of experienced ESBRU runners alongside Harris. One had even won it before while others had been on the podium and in the top five. But their personal records weren’t quite as good as Harris’ sub-13 minute best.

Michelle Blessing had won the ESBRU in 1995 and finished second in 1994 and third in 1996. She returned out of the blue in 2009 to finish 14th. Could she bounce back with a much better time in 2010? Blessing had also been coaching first time tower runner, but regular marathoner, Gretchen Hurlbutt. Could Blessing’s protege throw in a surprise performance of her own?

Amy Fredericks, who had finished third in 2004 and 2005 and fourth on a few other occasions, had a decent chance of getting back on the podium this year.

Stacey Creamer had finished in the top five on three previous occasions. Could she finally step onto the podium?

Caroline Gaynor was back for another shot too. A former rower at Columbia University who had turned her focus to Ironman events and other triathlon distances, Gaynor had finished fourth in 2008.

But there were some exciting debutants on the start line too.

New York-based Australian Rondi Davies was a sub-three hour marathoner and long distance open water swimmer. In 2008 she’d taken third at the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim and in summer 2009 she’d won the inaugural 10-mile Kingdom Swim at Lake Memphremagog up in Vermont. A complete unknown on the stairs, but a serious athlete and one to watch.

A far more familiar and formidable name was also on the start list, Melissa Moon from New Zealand.

The 2001 and 2003 world mountain running champion (also third in 1997 and 1998) was no stranger to tower running. She’d been racing on the stairs on and off for a decade, but had never taken part in the Empire State Building Run-Up.

Among her stair running successes were wins in very competitive races at the Telekom Malaysia Towerthon at Kuala Lumpur Tower in 2000-2002. She also won the Sky Tower race in Auckland in 2001 and 2002.

2002 wyatt moon 2001kl tower

Melissa Moon and Jonathan Wyatt – winners of the KL Tower Run 2001

In 2005 she had finished second behind Andrea Mayr at the inaugural Taipei 101 Run-Up, running a solid 13:34. She took third in 2006 and fourth in 2007.

Melissa Moon Taipei 2005

Melissa Moon took second at the 2005 Taipei 101 Run-Up

Moon had been in Sydney at the same race as Thomas Dold back in August. She’d finished fourth behind winner Vanessa Haverd, former ESBRU winner Angela Leadbeatter (1999) and reigning ESBRU champion Suzy Walsham. A little over 20 seconds separated Moon and Walsham, so the Kiwi runner was evidently in good stair climbing shape coming into 2010.

She’d been training regularly on the stairs of the 28-floor Majestic Centre in Wellington, where she had told security guards that she was trying to become the first New Zealander to win the Empire State Building race.

“They bent over backward,” said Moon, ‘What do you need? We’ll give you a swipe card.’ They put supportive signs in the stairwell.”

Well prepared and well experienced, all the signs pointed toward Melissa Moon launching the most serious challenge to Cindy Harris and the other experienced ESBRU runners.

ESBRU STRETCH 2010

Caroline Gaynor (orange vest) and Melissa Moon stretch next to Cindy Harris (103) on the front row of the start line at the 2010 Empire State Building Run-Up

At the sound of the starter’s horn, ambitious debutant Kacie Fisher (#105) got out in front of everyone. A former collegiate heptathlete at Cal Poly, Fisher had found out about the race three weeks before the start and said, ‘there was no way I was gonna miss this’.

ESBRU 2010

Cindy Harris followed closest, with Melissa Moon (#102) and Gretchen Hurlbutt (far right, red vest) running together a step behind.

ESBRU WOMENS22

Kacie Fisher gets out in front, followed by Cindy Harris, Melissa Moon and Gretchen Hurlbutt (by the wall in the red vest)

2010 esbru womens

ESBRU 2010 WOMENS DOOR

Caroline Gaynor (104, high white socks), Meghan Newcomer (white visor) and Amy Fredericks (blue vest) follow in behind the leading group

The start was fairly orderly and there were no serious shoves or falls, such as had marred the start of the 2009 ESBRU when Suzy Walsham was pushed into the wall as she headed for the door.

You can see in the image below that padding had been fixed to the walls on either side of the door to the stairwell, to prevent a repeat of the smashed lip and knee Walsham received the year before.

2010 womens door

Kacie Fisher enters the doorway, followed by Harris, Moon, Hurlbutt and Fredericks

Details on what played out in the stairwell have been difficult to find. The available in-race footage (scroll to the bottom for race videos) offers little insight. Likewise, post-race interviews in newspapers are devoid of details about how the race played out.

But given the information available, it’s been possible to piece together a story that seems to make sense.

It seems that the inexperienced Fisher went out way too fast and was tracked by Harris, who was probably wary of giving an unknown runner too much of a lead early on.

At the 50th floor, Fisher later claimed she ‘tore the lining of her lung from over expansion’ and her legs gave out. The pace must have taken a massive toll on her and Harris, because the pair were passed by a number of runners in the latter stages of the race.

Before the race Gretchen Hurlbutt had said her plan was to pace herself for the first half and then see what she had left for the rest of the race. She seems to have done just that, sticking behind Melissa Moon for much of the race before being dropped in the second half.

In the second video below Moon can be seen running on her own at what seems to be somewhere between the 68th and 72nd floors. She remained completely unchallenged as she surged to the top.

Down below Gretchen Hurlbutt passed Harris and Fisher and pushed into second place. She was tracked closely by Amy Fredericks, Rondi Davies and Stacey Creamer, all battling for the podium.

Amy Fredericks remarked after the race: “Two women that I passed, they were starting to keel over and they were doing single steps.” It’s likely she is referring to Fisher and Harris.

Harris and Fisher continued to be passed by multiple runners. Cindy Harris eventually finished in 13th place in 15:13 while Fisher ended up in 20th position, crossing the line in 15:54. Bear in mind, Harris had taken third the year before in a time of 13:49. In no uncertain terms, the race was a disaster.

Kacie Fisher 2010

Kacie Fisher drops to the floor after crossing the finish line

Harris and Gaynor 2010

Cindy Harris (middle) and Caroline Gaynor (right, 14:42 – seventh place) recovering after the race

For Melissa Moon, however, it was a triumph. She ran untested in the latter stages and crossed the finish line in 13:13.

Melissa Moon 2010 finish line ESBRU

Melissa Moon ESBRU 2010

Gretchen Hurlbutt followed 40 seconds later in 13:53, while Amy Fredericks won the battle for the final podium spot with her 14:15 finish.

Rondi Davies was fourth in 14:23 and Stacey Creamer took fifth in 14:25.

Gretchen Hurlbutt ESBRU 2010

Gretchen Hurlbutt takes second place at the 2010 Empire State Building Run-Up

Overall it was one of the slowest women’s races in years. Not since 2003 had anyone run slower than 14:00 and made it onto the podium.

But Melissa Moon had run an excellent and well-paced debut race and was delighted with her win.

‘When you know the history of this building, built in 1931, years ahead of its time, it is a privilege to run here. I’ve climbed taller buildings, but here, this race has a completely different meaning. I am very proud of this victory that I will be able to write on my CV.’

The drive for five

In the 32 previous editions of the Empire State Building Run-Up, two men had managed to win five titles: Al Waquie (1983-87) and Paul Crake (1999-2003).

Thomas Dold would join that unique group if he could hold off the challenge of his competitors one more time. His closest rivals in recent years, Rickey Gates (eight seconds behind in 2008) and Marco De Gasperi (22 seconds slower in 2009), weren’t in attendance, so the race really was Dold’s to lose.

Although there was a lot of established and fast emerging talent in the field, none of them were quite at the level of Dold.

Matthias Jahn was the most likely to launch a significant challenge on his compatriot. Jahn had been on the ESBRU podium in 2007 and 2008, and had beaten Dold before in shorter races at European venues.

But Dold had seen him off by an 18-second margin at the 1,344 step Messeturm in Frankfurt a few months earlier. He typically had Jahn’s number over the longer courses.

Similarly, Dold had beaten emerging European stars Christian Riedl and Tomas Celko at races back in 2009. Riedl was making his second apperance in Manhattan, while Celko was racing for the first time. The pair were decent shouts for a top 10 or possibly top five finish, but it was unlikely they would really challenge the reigning champion.

Another strong debutant and seasoned tower runner, Omar Bekkali, would possibly be in the mix for the top five, but it was hard to see him launching a serious challenge to Dold. Likewise, excellent athletes such as Javier Santiago, Jesse Berg and Pedro Ribeiro would be expected to be among the top finishers, but they’d never posed a threat to Dold at the ESBRU or various other races around the world.

The one unknown was the impressive Matthew Byrne from Scranton, PA. A successful collegiate runner for St Joseph’s University, Byrne had won three individual Atlantic 10 Conference championships while at the college in Philadelphia.

After college, he had qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon in 2004 and 2008. He’d also represented the United States in the World Mountain Running Championships in 2008 and 2009. He’d finished ahead of fellow USA team member Rickey Gates at the 2009 Championships, so was evidently a serious prospect.

Byrne would surely have reached out to Gates for tips on the race and the course as he prepared to make his ESBRU debut. Could he shock everyone and do what Rickey Gates had come so close to doing in 2008?

Gates had been stuck a few rows back from the start on his debut in 2007. Matthew Byrne made sure he was in prime position on the front row for his first race.

You can seen him in the picture below off to the left wearing #5. Left of him in the blue vest is Christian Riedl, then heading right across the lobby there’s Trevor Folgering (#10, well out of place and should be a couple of rows back), Jesse Berg (orange vest, #8), Tomas Celko (blue shorts, #44), Matthias Jahn (#3), Thomas Dold (#1) and Javier Santiago (blue longsleeves, #7).

The first image below, and the video at the bottom, shows that Byrne actually got the best start, gaining a step on Dold who was the next quickest to react to the horn. But the American had more ground to cover to the door and by the time the runners reached it Dold, as always, was in first place. Javier Santiago was next, followed by Jahn, Byrne and Jesse Berg.

2010 ESBRU MENS

2010 MENS START ESBRU

2010 ESBRU MEN RUSH

2010 Dold in front

2010 ESBRU NEAR DOOR

With Thomas Dold at the helm, the ESBRU was becoming increasingly formulaic. Some of his winning races had been a lot closer than others, but 2010 wasn’t one of them.

Details were scant in the post-race newspaper reports, but Dold was first in the door and didn’t relinquish the lead. The rest of the pack stuck with the powerful young German for as long as they could, but his strength saw him pull away in the second half of the race.

In the first video below (@0:38) you can see Dold running alone at the 65th floor crossover as he catches up with a group of runners from the women’s race. In the second video (@1:44) he is free from the crowds and running on a clear stairwell, likely somewhere between the 68th and 72nd floors.

He reached the top in 10:16, taking a record equaling fifth ESBRU title. He collapsed somewhat theatrically to the ground just after crossing the line and stayed on his knees for a while right in front of the finish, forcing tired runners to go around him as they too crossed the finish line.

Thomas Dold 2010 ESBRU finish line

Dold exhausted

Thomas Dold falls to his knees at the finish line of the 2010 ESBRU

He was followed by fellow German Matthias Jahn who crossed the finish in 10:56 (see him in the second video below @1:53 passing debutant Shari Klarfeld late in the race). Funnily, the margin between first and second in the men’s race was exactly the same as in the women’s, 40 seconds.

Matthias Jahn ESBRU 2010

Matthias Jahn celebrates taking second place as Thomas Dold and a race steward look on

Matthew Byrne took third in 11:29, while Omar Bekkali (11:51) and Javier Santiago (11:55) completed the top five.

Byrne said he’d like to come back next year and challenge Dold again, but noted he’d have to find a different strategy.

“He was off like a dart right from the beginning,” Byrne said of the start. “He really takes his stance early. I’d have to change something.”

Matthew Byrne ESBRU 2010

Matthew Byrne recovers after taking third at the 2010 Empire State Building Run-Up

CELKO Holec RIEDL 2010

Tomas Celko, Pavel Holec, Pedro Ribeiro and Christian Riedl recovering after the race

Dold 2010 winner

Thomas Dold celebrates his fifth straight ESBRU victory

“It took me six years to get to this point, and to be here as the winner this day is quite amazing,” Dold said. “To do this race six times and get five victories – it’s unbelievable right now. And to be named along with Paul Crake as a five-time winner is a big honour.”

2010 ESBRU WINNERS

Melissa Moon and Thomas Dold – 2010 Empire State Building Run-Up winners

2010 esbru podiums

2010 ESBRU: The women’s and men’s top 3


2010 Empire State Building Run-Up results

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EmpireStateBuildingAdmission

The 2020 edition of the Empire State Building Run-Up has finally been officially cancelled.

It comes as no surprise, of course, given the ongoing situation in New York, and globally. But race organisers NYC Runs waited until now before making an announcement about the event, which was due to take place on Tuesday 12 May.

It’s the first year since the ESBRU began in 1978 that a race up the tower won’t take place.

The 43rd edition of the event will now happen on Tuesday 11 May 2021, with all those given a place at this year’s event invited to participate next year.

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Lobodzinski La Vertical Tour Eiffel 2019

Piotr Lobodzinski recently caught up with Polish running website bieganie.pl to talk all things tower running, and it’s a fantastic read.

The candid interview covers a good range of topics that give excellent insight into the two-time tower running world champion.

Some of the highlights include:

  • His early adventures in sports and athletics and his move into tower running back in 2011
  • How the COVID-19 lockdown and shut down of scheduled tower runs in the first half of 2020 has killed his motivation to train
  • Running a 3:14 marathon with no specific training back in 2006
  • Why he doesn’t own a TV
  • His hopes of running a sub-30 minute 10km
  • Why he likes ‘technical routes’ and why the staircase in the Eiffel Tower suits him so well

Check out the full article through the link below:

Piotr Lobodzinski interview with bieganie.pl

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Burj Khalifa

This story was an April Fools’ Day joke – unfortunately there is no scheduled race at the Burj Khalifa.

The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, will host a stair race on Wednesday 2 December 2020 to celebrate National Day in the United Arab Emirates.

‘We are excited to announce this event in celebration of 49 years of independence’, announced Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, head of the UAE Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Social Development.

‘We want to deliver something that makes people feel really proud about what we are as a nation, our ability to do these things. And at a time when the world is a pretty difficult place for a lot of people, I think we also know we have a responsibility to try and help lift people’s spirits.’

‘We hope this announcement can give people something to remain optimistic about in the coming months and we look forward to welcoming some of the world’s best athletes to compete at the world’s best tower in December.’

The 828m tall structure in Dubai has long been the dream race venue for tower runners. It’s 2,909 stairs will lead climbers up to the 160th floor.

Full details on the event and registration are yet to be announced.

The Empire State Building Run-Up (ESBRU) was first held in 1978. Since then each race has been packed full of exciting moments, surprises and disappointments.

Here are five of our favourite Empire State Building Run-Up moments. Feel free to share yours in the comments below.

1979: Last to the lobby, first to the top

ESBRU 1979

The second edition of the Empire State Building Run-Up took place at 10:30am on the morning of Thursday 15 February 1979.

At 9:40am the eventual winner was still sitting at the desk in his Manhattan office at 58th Street and Park Avenue, a mile-and-a-half from the Empire State Building.

Financial analyst Jim Rafferty had earned his invite to the ESBRU off the back of some solid road running performances in 1978. He was 25th at the New York Marathon in October and then in December he’d finished fourth in a 30km race organised by the New York Road Runners, the same organisers of the ESBRU.

Rafferty was one of just 20 men and four women that had been invited to the second edition of the new stair running event. But on the morning of the race he was in two minds about taking part. He was due to race in the Boston Marathon in April and was worried about picking up an injury in the unusual and novice event.

With less than an hour before the start, still sitting at his desk, he seemed to have settled on not running. But then he had a sudden change of heart.

‘I was worried about twisting an ankle on the stairs’, he said. ‘But then I thought it’d be a lot of fun. It’s not your everyday competitive event, you know.’

At 9.45am Rafferty asked his boss if he could have a couple of hours off, jumped in a cab and reached the building just before the start. You can see him on the far right in the picture above.

In the race, he took the lead fairly on and held it to the finish line, crossing it in a new record time of 12:19.

Eight weeks later Jim Rafferty set a personal best of 2:18.55 at the Boston Marathon.

Read more about Rafferty’s race at the 1979 ESBRU.

1987: The drive for five – Waquie vs Kenny

1987 Waquie finish

Heading into the 1987 race, Al Waquie already had four ESBRU wins to his name.

Typically he’d have been a firm favourite for a fifth win on the trot. But a knee injury sustained in July 1986 had prevented him from running properly for seven months.

As he and others toed the line in the first of two waves at the 1987 ESBRU, nobody knew what sort of shape Waquie was in.

Alongside him was the emerging stair climbing star from Indianapolis, Joe Kenny, who had won the 1986 Bop to the Top in his home city, plus other stair races in the USA.

Despite getting a good start, Waquie was already struggling by the 20th floor. Kenny passed him at the first crossover and began to pull away, looking set to put an end to Waquie’s winning streak.

But Waquie had different ideas. He powered on, while up ahead Kenny and another climber began to fade. With 14 floors to go, Waquie finally caught up with them and showed them both exactly why he was a four-time champ.

‘He just blasted by me at the 72nd floor’, Joe Kenny said. ‘I think he stayed back at the start and saved his big move for the end. He really knows those stairs’.

Waquie’s gutsy fifth win would be his last at the Empire State Building Run-Up.

Read more on the battle for top spot at the 1987 ESBRU (plus the story of Waquie’s 1984-1986 wins).

2003: One run to rule them all

2003 crake wins

With one eye on a pro cycling career, Paul Crake was ready to call time on his incredible run at the Empire State Building when he got set to race on Tuesday 4 February 2003.

Unbeaten in each of his four appearances at the ESBRU, Crake had become the first man to run the course in under 10 minutes when he clocked 9:53 in 2000. The following year he shocked the stair running world again by winning in 9:37.

But Crake had saved his best for last. His final run at the iconic New York tower was magisterial. He set an untouchable new record of 9:33.

‘To win five years in a row has been fantastic. It’s been a dream run,’ said Crake.

When asked why he kept returning year after year even though the race has no prize money, he responded: ‘It’s for the trophy, the honour and the glory.’

Read more about Crake’s record run in 2003.

2006: Faster, Mayr, Stronger

2006 Mayr wins

Already a two-time winner at the ESBRU, and the only woman to have run the full 86 floor course in under 12 minutes, Andrea Mayr was the firm pre-race favourite at the 2006 event. There was no suggestion that she might be beaten, instead the talk was all about how much faster could she go.

Three months before the ESBRU, Mayr had won the inaugural Taipei 101 Run Up in a time of 12:38 (a record that still stands). She was in outstanding form coming into the race.

The Austrian ran the course virtually unchallenged. She finished in an incredible new course record of 11:23, which was fast enough to place her fifth overall. Her record still stands.

2006 was the last time Mayr ran at the Empire State Building. Seven months later she went on to win her first World Mountain Running Championship title and began another history making run in that athletic discipline.

Read the story of Andrea Mayr’s record breaking ESBRU run in 2006.

2009: The Comeback

2009 ESBRU Walsham pushed

Although in February 2009 Suzy Walsham was a little over two years into her tower running career, she’d already established herself as the one to beat in Manhattan. She was going for her third straight ESBRU.

In 2007 and 2008, Walsham had been joined on the podium by Cindy Harris and Fiona Bayly. Both were once again expected to be among Walsham’s toughest challengers. Debutants Jessamy Hosking (AUS) and Daniela Vassalli (ITA) were also anticipated to be in the mix for the top spots.

When the claxon went off in the lobby, the mass of women dashed headlong for the door.

Running side-by-side towards the entrance to the stairs, Walsham and Vassalli were battling for space.

Nearing the door, it seemed like Walsham was going to pass the Italian, but Vassalli had other ideas. She reached up and shoved the Australian, causing her to lose her balance and smash face first into the stone door frame. You can see Walsham’s falling figure (yellow top) in the picture above.

Bruised and bashed with the front runners now well ahead, Walsham found herself in around 30th place by the time she had got off the floor and onto the stairs.

What followed was one of the defining moments in Walsham’s amazing ESBRU story.

She started picking off runner after runner, slowly pulling in the leaders. By the 50th floor she caught Vassalli. Hosking and Harris were still up ahead.

At the 65th floor Walsham took the lead and then held it all the way to the top. Her knee injured and her face swollen, she crossed the line in obvious pain just 13 seconds ahead of Vassalli who had surged into second place.

That comeback victory in 2009 was the slowest of the 10 ESBRU races Walsham would eventually win, but without doubt it is one of the best.

Read the story of the 2009 Empire State Building Run-Up.

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Soh Wai Ching Loros 2020

Last weekend saw the fifth edition of the LOROS Tower Run at St George’s Tower in Leicester.

In an exciting event, Soh Wai Ching set a new course record and Sarah Frost secured her third win in a row.


Soh Wai Ching smashes course record at LOROS Tower Run 2020


Every year the organisers have an excellent photographer on hand capturing all the action on the stairs and around the building.

The photos from this year’s race have just been uploaded and you can find them all through the link below:

LOROS Tower Run 2020 photos

Malaysia’s Soh Wai Ching broke the LOROS Tower Run course record by three seconds at Saturday’s event in Leicester.

Soh powered to the finish in 1:24.8 to eclipse the previous best time of 1:27.9 set by Elliot Slaughter (GBR) in 2018.

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Took part in Loros Tower Run 2020. Running almost in the last heat. Completed the first full run up of 20 floors, 351 steps, 64m Elevation Climb with a time of 85 seconds, exactly my target right before the run. Broke the previous course record – 87.9 seconds with exact 85 seconds. Came back down, and decided to go up one more round as I knew I can go faster for it. With about 20 minutes rest, I gave it another shot, and came back with a 84.8 seconds. Broke my previous record by .2 seconds! Great Run! Thanks Organizer for a well organized race, clear the course before my attempt. Down to one final race – Hyde Park Spring 10k Run tomorrow at 9.30am (5.30pm Malaysia Time). #MasTowerRunner #TenagaNasionalBerhad #GreenAcreCapital #MalaysiaAirlines #MMTF #BauerfeindMalaysia #BlackrollMalaysia #MeridianSY #JayBirdSport #BeetItSportMalaysia #RudyProjectMalaysia #Towerrunning #MalaysiaTowerrunningAssociation #AdidasRunners

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It was the second course record for Soh in the space of a week, following his new best time at the Sibu Tower Run in Malaysia the weekend before.

Poland’s Kacper Mrowiec finished second in 1:29.7, becoming only the third man to have run the 351-step course at St George’s Tower in less than 90 seconds.

Laurence Ball (GBR) was third in 1:31.4.

Soh Wai Ching and Kacper Mrowiec

Soh Wai Ching and Kacper Mrowiec

Frost makes it three in a row on return from injury

Sarah Frost was the fastest woman at the LOROS Tower Run, winning in a time of 1:52.8 to secure her third win in a row at the venue.

It was the first race of the season for Frost following an ankle injury that had her sidelined at the start of the year.

Frost had been due to race at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel on Wednesday 11 March, but with the postponement of that event she kicked off her season in Leicester.

Although Frost’s time on Saturday was the slowest of her three wins, it was still significantly faster than her rivals.

Kimberley Etherington-Bates was second in 2:28.3 and Sonja Shakespeare took third in 2:38.9.

Full LOROS Tower Run 2020 results

LOROS Tower Run race day photos

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LOROS Tower Run 2020

It’s the shortest stair race in the UK, but the LOROS Tower Run is also one of the most exciting. Back on Saturday 14 March 2020 for its fifth edition, all eyes will be on Leicester as top international speedsters get ready to race flat out against some of the UK’s best.

The athletes will face 351 steps at St George’s Tower, and the leading men will have one eye on the course record of 1:27.9 set by Elliot Slaughter in 2018.

Slaughter won’t be in attendance on Saturday and neither will three-time winner (2016-17, 2019) Mark Sims.

That leaves the door wide open for a new champion to be crowned and three men in particular are among those expected to be in close contention for the top spot.

Loros Tower Run1

St George’s Tower, Leicester – venue for the LOROS Tower Run

Kacper Mrowiec – Poland

Mrowiec blew onto the tower running scene a little over a year ago and has already proven himself as a prospect to watch.

Back in early February 2019, the Polish athlete kicked things off at the 593-step Altus Cup race in Katowice, Poland. His 3:11 finish was fast enough to earn him third spot. Mrowiec clearly has good speed on the stairs.

But he really established himself a few weeks later at the highly competitive Rondo 1 race in Warsaw. The 836-step race always attracts top European stair runners.

Kacper Mrowiec towerrunner

Mrowiec took sixth overall, finishing ahead of far more experienced tower runners, including Ralf Hascher, Andreas Fruhmann, Rauno Tiits and Pavel Holec.

He followed this up later in the year with a second-place finish at the 723-step ‘sprint race’ at the Star Challenge in Gdasnk, Poland. Less than a second separated him and the winner, Mateusz Marunowski.

People began to sit up and take notice of the young Pole.

Jump forward to 2020 and Mrowiec already has a win under his belt. He took top spot at the 29-floor Ideal-Hochhaus in Berlin in January.

He’s not long back from a winter training camp in Spain, and since his return to Poland he’s been training on the stairs alongside world number one tower runner Piotr Lobodzinski.

Mrowiec was due to race at Vertical Rush on Thursday (12 March), but with the cancellation of that race he can focus his attention, and completely fresh legs, on the 351 steps of St George’s Tower.

Expect him to put in a very fast time; somewhere close to if not better than the course record, for sure. Will it be enough to win him the race? That’s to be seen.

Henrik Holstad – Norway

The name Henrik Holstad may be unfamiliar to the casual reader, but the Norwegian is a legitimate tower runner who secured a bunch of wins and podium finishes last year.

In Norway he won the 600-step Kollentrappa in May and then in September he finished second at the 303-step Barcode Challenge and second at the KollenOpp.

Henrik Holstad towerrunning

Henrik Holstad (793) on his way to winning the Kollentrappa 2019


The following month he took top spot at the Run Up Berlin, which takes place at the city’s 770-step Park Inn Hotel and has been venue to some great battles over the years between Germany’s top tower runners.

Holstad has demonstrated his complete stair running versatility, giving a good account of himself at various distances and formats. Whether traditional races with landing turns or races straight up the stairs alongside ski jumps, Holstad has proven himself capable of handling it all. But how will he get on in Leicester?

Tower running math isn’t always the most accurate predictor of finishing places, especially at a sprint event like this where the margins between places will be super slim. But having punched the numbers, we’ll be surprised if Holstad takes top spot. A podium place is a reasonable expectation, but first might be out of reach, and the next man on our list is one of the reasons why.

Laurence Ball – Great Britain

Laurence Ball tower running

Like Mrowiec, Laurence Ball is a relative newcomer to tower running, having made his stair race debut a little over 12 months ago.

He won that race and went on to put in some more cracking performances throughout the rest of the year. He was second at the stacked Broadgate Tower Run Up in July and then smashed the course record at the Leadenhall Building in November.

In the summer he showed off his speed at the UFO Vertical Sprint in Bratislava, Slovakia. In the three-run format, he managed to finish sixth in among far more experienced tower runners.

Laurence Ball Mark Howard Grate48 2019

Laurence Ball (left) after setting the course record at the Leadenhall Building in November, 2019

The LOROS Tower Run will be Ball’s first stair race of the 2020 season, so it will be interesting to see exactly where he’s at.

He’s been putting in a lot of track work and recently competed at the Vertical Up Kitzbühel, which involves running up a ski slope in spiked shoes. We know he’ll be in great shape, but how will he handle the flat out sprint?

We’ll be surprised not to see Ball in the top three.

Update (12 March 2020, 9.30pm)

Since we wrote this article, the world number two Soh Wai Ching has announced that he will be heading to Leicester to take part in the race, having previously ruled himself out. The Malaysian had come to Europe to race at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel and to defend his Vertical Rush title in London. With both events cancelled he has now apparently decided to take on the LOROS Tower Run.

Soh becomes the firm pre-race favourite now. We firmly expect the course record to fall if he makes it onto the start line.

This race has now become an even more exciting prospect than it was this afternoon. Roll on Saturday.

Like us on Facebook to keep up to date with the full results and race report on the weekend.

Vertical Rush cancelled

Vertical Rush is the latest tower run to be cancelled amid growing concerns about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The event will not be rescheduled for later in the year.

Shelter, the charity that puts on the event, has released the following statement:

Unfortunately we regret to inform you that as a result of safety precautions being put in place by Tower 42 to try and prevent the spread of coronavirus, we have had to cancel Vertical Rush on Thursday 12th March 2020.

The Tower have not taken the decision to cancel lightly, and it has been made with the health and safety of everyone involved in mind. The care of our runners, staff and volunteers is always our main priority. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience the cancellation causes.

We understand that this is disappointing news for you, and we share that disappointment, as we know how much effort you have put into your training and fundraising. Sadly, we will not be rescheduling this year’s event for another date.

The cancellation follows the postponement of the Taipei 101 Run Up (World Championship race) and the Eiffel Tower stair race.

It’s becoming increasingly likely that the 2020 tower running season will not materialise in any meaningful fashion.

The early Vertical World Circuit races scheduled for Milan (April) and Paris (May) are likely to be cancelled next. The Empire State Building Run-Up will probably be cancelled in the coming weeks, too.

Follow us on Facebook for all the latest tower running updates as and when they come in.

tower-42-shelter-vertigo-challenge-2016

Update: within an hour of publishing this article, the 2020 edition of Vertical Rush was cancelled. Read more on the cancellation here.

Malaysia’s Soh Wai Ching will be back in London on Thursday to defend the Vertical Rush title he won last year.

Soh won the 932-step race at Tower 42 in March, 2019, in a time of 4:17. In doing so he became the fourth fastest person to ever race the tower, with only Thomas Dold (3:58), Piotr Lobodzinski (3:59) and Fabio Ruga (4:11) having run faster in the 11 editions of the UK’s biggest stair race.

The world number two has made massive improvements in the past 12 months and established himself as a legitimate contender to world champion Piotr Lobodzinski with a win over the Pole in Dubai in February.

Soh Wai-Ching Vertical Rush 2019

Soh Wai Ching was the winner of Vertical Rush 2019

Coming off the back of a record-breaking run at the Sibu Tower Run, Soh had been scheduled to race at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel in Paris on Wednesday. But following the postponement of that race he will now race in London on completely fresh legs.

As such, he is expected to run even faster at Vertical Rush this year and could well eclipse the time of Italy’s Fabio Ruga. The 3:58 course record certainly isn’t out of reach, either, and it would be no big surprise to see the young Malaysian get very close to it.

Soh’s closest British competition on Thursday is likely to be newcomer Laurence Ball, the rising star of UK tower running. He will be expected to take a huge amount of time off the 4:49 he clocked on his Vertical Rush debut last year, which earned him fourth spot. It’s Ball’s first stair race of the year, so it will good to see what form he is in.

Laurence Ball tower running

Laurence Ball

Unfortunately, Mark Howard (3rd last year) will not be racing, so fans will have to wait for the next installment in the ongoing Ball vs Howard rivalry.

Another relative newcomer to the sport who’s also anticipated to be in the mix for the podium is Poland’s Kacper Mrowiec.

He already has a 2020 win under his belt, having taken victory at 29-floor Ideal-Hochhaus in Berlin back in January.

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Czasem tak sobie rozmyślam, że moje zamiłowanie do ekstremalnego wysiłku jest wręcz niepokojące. I to nie tylko na schodach – wszędzie tam, gdzie może się do swego HR maxa zbliżyć, sprawia mi uśmiech Chelsea. Wystarczy myśl o samym mocnym planowanym treningu i micha się cieszy. Albo zawody: jeśli gdzieś na zdjęciach zobaczycie mnie z uśmiechem na twarzy, to bardziej prawdopodobne będzie, iż przeszedłem już fazę grymasu i mam załączony tryb pełnej walki, a nie lecę bo lubię i lajcik. Cokolwiek jest powodem Waszego uśmiechu, róbcie to i nie przestawajcie! 😀 #polishboy #towerrunning #towerrunner #runner #run #bieg #bieganie #biegacz #biegambolubie #garmin #asics #adidas #royalbay #kalenji #winter #train #training #ambasadorzyfb #verticalrush #lorostowerrun #uk #greatbritain #leicester #london #compressport #adrunaline

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Mrowiec is not long back from a winter training camp in Spain, and since his return to Poland he’s been training on the stairs alongside world number one tower runner Piotr Lobodzinski.

Like Ball, Mrowiec is a little over a year into his tower running career and beating the more experienced Soh might be just out of reach right now. But expect a very close battle for the remaining spots on the podium.

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La Verticale postponed

Growing concerns surrounding the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) have forced the organisers of La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel to postpone the race, which was scheduled for this coming Wednesday, March. 11.

The announcement follows a decree by the French Ministry of Health last night banning meetings of more than 1,000 people. Following this new policy, the team at the Eiffel Tower itself made the decision to postpone the event.

The race organisers, Ecotrail Paris, sent a message this morning to participants stating:

“Please be aware that after the information received this morning from the Eiffel Tower authorities, we regret to inform you that the 6th edition of La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel will not be able to take place this Wednesday, March 11th.

Like you, we are saddened by this decision, but you should know that we are fully mobilised to find a postponement solution, which we hope to communicate to you as soon as possible.”

A new race date of Wednesday 30th September 2020 has now been announced.

La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel is the second major tower running event to be postponed so far this year following the announcement last week that the Taipei 101 Run Up, which was to host the 2020 Towerrunning World Championship, was off.

The postponement is a massive disappointment for the athletes who had traveled from Mexico, USA, Malaysia, Singapore and beyond to take part, some of whom will be touching down in Paris unaware of the announcement.

Whether you go back to Sheila Duncan running as the only woman in the 1968 BT Tower race in London or admire the incredible ongoing career of Cindy Harris, women have been at the heart of competitive tower running since the sport’s very beginning.

Women’s tower running has come a long way since the earliest stair races at the start of the 1900s.

1903 and 1905

On the left is the unnamed winner of the women’s division at the Montmartre stair race in 1903. On the right is Mme. Baube, winner of the 1906 Eiffel Tower stair race.

This International Women’s Day we take a quick look at just a handful of some of the brilliant women who have played a key role in the sport.

Marcy Schwam

First ESBRU

Schwam (above wearing #11) was already an ultra-running pioneer before she turned up at the first Empire State Building Run-Up in 1978. Only three women took part in the inaugural event. She was the first woman to reach the top and although she never returned to race on the stairs again, she has the honour of being the first woman to win a stair race in the USA.

After the first ESBRU, Schwam went on to set multiple long distance records and is still running now.

Nina Kuscsik

kuscsik 1980

Like Schwam, Nina Kuscsik was also a pioneer of women’s participation in running events. She campaigned for equal participation for women at the marathon distance and in 1972 she won the New York and Boston marathons.

Kuscsik went on to to win three ESBRU titles from 1979-1981. She would return to the tower multiple times, racing well into her 70s.

2009 Nina Kuscsik

You can read more about Kuscsik in her NYRR Hall of Fame entry

Cindy Harris

Cindy Harris tower running

The incredible tower running career of the 2020 USA stairclimbing champion Cindy Harris is one of our favourite parts of the ongoing story of this sport.

Harris has been winning races, sometimes outright ahead of all competing men as well, at the top level for 25 years.

1998 purcell and moll

Cindy Harris after winning her first ESBRU title in 1998

In 2003, she became the first woman to secure four wins at the Empire State Building Run-Up. She has also amassed an unbelievable 25 wins at the Bop to the Top race in her hometown of Indianapolis, with the most recent victory coming at the start of the year.

Andrea Mayr

2006 Mayr wins

Three-time winner and course record holder at the ESBRU, six-time world mountain running champion and two-time Olympian, Andrea Mayr is one of the best athletes to have ever competed in the discipline of tower running.

The Austrian doctor has dipped in and out of the scene since the early 2000s, but she has left her mark with a series of stunning performances over the years, including a record-breaking run at Taipei 101 in 2005 and victory at the Towerrunning World Championship in 2015.

Andrea Mayr 2015 Towerrunning World Championship

Andrea Mayr winning the 2015 Towerrunning World Championship

You can read more about her in our article, Where is Andrea Mayr? On the trail of one of the world’s greatest athletes.

Suzy Walsham

Suzy Walsham la vertical de la tour eiffel

The name Suzy Walsham is now synonymous with tower running. In a glittering 14 year career that shows no sign of letting up, the Australian superstar has won everything there is to win.

The 2018 world championship and 10 ESBRU titles are perhaps the most prominent among her multitude of successes, but there are plenty more aside.

Five wins at Taipei 101, eight Vertical World Circuit titles and nine Towerrunning Tour titles are just a few of the additional accolades she’s secured.

That’s not to mention the brilliant track and field career she had before she turned her attention to stair climbing. You can read about that here (along with her 2007 ESBRU win).

The constant stream of praise for the humility and helpfulness of the most successful tower runner of all-time is further testament to the excellence of this fantastic ambassador for tower running.

walsham VWC 2019

These women, and many, many more besides, have each played their own important role in this sport. We’ve enjoyed researching and writing about each of them over the years and look forward to putting together many more articles about their fantastic achievements and the other incredible women in the world of tower running.

Soh Wai Ching Sibu Tower Run 2020

Malaysia’s Soh Wai Ching set a new record at the Sibu Tower Run (627 steps) today with a time of 2:56.

It was the third win in a row at the event for Soh, who took a second off the unofficial record he set during a practice run at Wisma Sanyan last month.

Michele Tan (above, right) took the narrowest of wins in the women’s race, finishing ahead of Cheong Yan Wei by less than half a second.

Wisma Sanyan

The 627-step Wisma Sanyan, venue for the Sibu Tower Run

There was no 5km pre-run this time around, which had been a key feature of the event since its inaugural edition in 2017. This allowed world number two Soh to go all out in the stair run.

His victory is the perfect end to his preparations for one of the biggest races of the year at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, next week.

“I am happy with my performance today and I am totally ready for La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel on Wednesday”, said Soh.

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3rd Consecutive Wins at @sibutower 2020 edition us different from the previous edition as there's no 5km pre run. We all ran up 28 Floors, 627 steps, with a 95m Elevation Climb and individual start format! I clocked a total time of 2:56 minutes. With a rest of about 40 minutes, I went up for my second run up, and clocked a 3:04 min (got blocked by some female runners throughout the run). With about 15 min rest time, I decided to went up for my third run up. It took me 3:07 min to complete the race (got blocked by some fire marshal throughout the run). . I am happy with my performance today and I am totally ready for @laverticaledelatoureiffel on the coming Wednesday where all of us have to do 2 run up + a final run (665 steps) . I would like to thanks @sibutower Mike and Willie from MPI Alumni Association and Sibu Municipal Council on inviting me to be the Ambassador again for 3rd year in a row! . It was a well organized race and it's livestream throughout the race with 4 cameras (one at the start, one at 10th floors, one at 20th floors, one at the finishing floors). Thanks to all the volunteers and to sponsors as well for the event. . I would like to personally thank all my sponsors especially @malaysiaairlines on flying me here to Sibu for the race. Thanks to all the other sponsors! #SibuTowerRun #STR2020 #SMC #MasTowerRunner #TenagaNasionalBerhad #GreenAcreCapital #MMTF #MasterSY #JayBirdVista #JayBird #BeetItSport #BeetItSportMy #RudyProject #RudyProjectMy #BauerfeindMalaysia #BlackrollMalaysia #MalaysiaTowerRunningAssociation

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Soh’s team mate HZ Chin took second place in 3:11.

Sibu Tower Run 2020 results:

Women top five:

1. Michele Tan – 4:12.053
2. Cheong Yan Wei – 4:12.392
3. Mercy Teh Mu Min – 4:25
4. Lee Leh Ha – 4:39
5. Liezel Lumindas G – 4:45

Men top five:

1. Soh Wai Ching – 2:56
2. HZ Chin – 3:11
3. Mr Kent – 3:28
4. Alex Tiong King Hee – 3:41.062
5. Tan Song Hua – 3:41.793

More:

A guide to the elite men at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel

Loros Tower Run1

2016 Mark Sims (GBR) 1:35.62  Jane Mayes (GBR) 2:27.77 – results
2017 Mark Sims (GBR) 1:32.39  Kimberley Blount (GBR) 2:06.93 – results
2018 Elliot Slaughter (GBR) 1:27.9  Sarah Frost (GBR) 1:49 – results
2019 Mark Sims (GBR) 1:31.96  Sarah Frost (GBR) 1:43.82* – results
2020 Soh Wai Ching (MYS) 1:24.8*  Sarah Frost (GBR) 1:52.8 – results

* course record

Find out all the winners from other events around the world in our historical tower running results database.