What is Tower Running?

Posted: December 20, 2013 in News
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Tower running (also referred to as stair running, vertical running, stair racing, stair climbing) is a sport that involves running up the stair wells of skyscrapers. There are sprint events of less than 500 steps, and mammoth climbs up some of the world’s tallest buildings, such as the 2046 steps of Taipei 101. At the elite level it is a heart busting, leg trembling feat of supreme fitness, where the sport’s leading athletes compete in a World Cup, picking up points at events around the globe.

Though it is a taxing and painful experience for anyone who laces up their trainers to give it a go, it is ultimately rewarding and satisfying in a way that differs from most flat level races. Plus you often get some absolutely brilliant views from the top, which are well worth climbing for. It’s an increasingly popular sport and fitness challenge that has grown in prominence in the UK because of two leading events held in the City of London; Vertical Rush and the Gherkin Challenge.

Vertical Rush takes place in London’s Tower 42 (the second tallest building in the City of London) and is organised by the charity Shelter, which tackles the issues of homelessness and poor housing. First run in 2009, the event attracts hundreds of competitors each year. A handful of them are elite stair runners in search of bragging rights, but mostly they are ordinary folks looking to push their physical limits and raise money for a great cause by powering up 920 steps.

The Gherkin Challenge first ran in 2010 and is organised by the NSPCC, which works tirelessly against child abuse and cruelty. It is a gruelling race that covers 1037 stairs and each year attracts some of the world’s leading vertical runners. The most recent of these was Matthias Jahn who broke the course record in 2013 with an astounding time of 4.18.

Interested in taking part in a tower running event? Check out our partners Total Motion Events or our race calendar to find out what events are happening near you.


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