Lobodzinski Reigns in London

Posted: March 4, 2015 in News

Tower 42, formerly The Natwest Tower, is a tough old building. Just short of 22 years ago it had almost every window blown out of it as the result of a large bomb planted in the area by the IRA. A few years later a fire swept through some of its upper floors. However, the sixth tallest building in the UK stands strong and remains a well known landmark in the City of London. It is also home to Vertical Rush, which is perhaps the most well-known and popular of the UK’s stair running events.

Vertical Rush is organised by the charity Shelter, which offers support to those experiencing housing problems and also campaigns for and raises awareness about this issue. It first took place in 2009, and in 2012 it was one of the key races on the Towerrunning.com calendar. As a result, that year it attracted lots of the top athletes and its course records for the men’s and women’s divisions were made that day by Thomas Dold (3:58) and Suzy Walsham (5:01).

This year it is one of the eight races on the Vertical World Circuit, so we expected it to attract some of the strongest climbers from Europe and beyond. We were not to be disappointed. It was a bright sunny day down on Bishopsgate and with close to 800 runners set to hit the steps it was pretty busy. Vertical Rush always attracts a lot of press and celebrity backing, and this year TV-presenter/architect George Clarke was taking part. Alongside him was former X Factor winner and now theatre showman Shayne Ward.

The real celebrities, however, those veterans of the unforgiving stairwells, no doubt blended in with the crowd. Their anonymity somehow remaining unmolested despite headbands, compression socks, special gloves, extensive warmups, steely gazes, ridiculously defined quads and calves and vests emblazoned with sponsors logos.

Piotr “Showtime” Lobodzinski, the current Towerrunning champion, was an obvious favourite heading into the race and he maintained his rep taking the win in 4:12. In a brief interview with the Vertical World Circuit (which you can read here) he said he was ‘a little disappointed’ as he had hoped to get closer to the course record. “Showtime” also commented, “The staircase was not comfortable for me, it was quite wide and therefore it was only possible to use the inside rail. I prefer a right-handed rail, so the left is a little disadvantage.” It certainly didn’t seem to have that much of a hinderance on his performance. Lobodzinski signed off by saying he would “now go for a 20 km run and do some sight seeing.” Come on mate, don’t take the piss. I need medical assistance to squat on the toilet after some of my races; don’t dupe the non-stair climbing public into thinking it’s easy or anything 😉

"Showtime" Lobodzinski tackling the 920 steps of London's Tower 42

“Showtime” Lobodzinski tackling the 920 steps of London’s Tower 42

Hot on his tail was Fabio “Stair Charmer” Ruga, from Italy, whose PB at the event is 4:11. Unfortunately for him he couldn’t replicate that awesome time and had to settle for second place in 4:28. Taking third spot was another well known name in the stair running world, Spain’s David “El Conquistador” Robles Tapia.

Fourth place was grabbed by Ralf “The Natural” Hascher (winner at the Broadgate Tower Run Up, also in London, three days earlier) in a time of 4:44, while Britain’s pride Mark “The Marauder” Sims took an incredible 12 seconds off his PB, reaching the top in 4:49 while representing his employers Pershing. This is his second PB of the season (his first was set in Vienna in January) so Mark is showing incredible form already this year. Amazing stuff!!

In the women’s division only two elites came over for the race so it seemed all set up to be a battle between Lenka “Czech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself” Zvabikova and the ever-present Italian, and last year’s female winner, Cristina “The Gatekeeper” Bonacina.

Svabikova took the victory in a time of 5:39. Having finished second in the final standings of last year’s Towerrunning championships this was to be expected. She is quite a force. Bonacina was to be denied second place by Anna “The Flying Consultant” McKinven who topped out in 6:18, running for the Accenture corporate team, with the Italian coming in third with a time of 6:35.

Czech Republic's Lenka Svabikova making it look easy at Vertical Rush

Czech Republic’s Lenka Svabikova making it look easy at Vertical Rush

The day's winners out on the roof of Tower 42

The day’s winners out on the roof of Tower 42

Well done to all who took part and congratulations to our winners.

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.

* Photo copyright iancorless.com

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Comments
  1. Richard Sirrs says:

    Great write up! I like the style! You should get thinking about a name for me, you’ll be typing it out a lot in 2016…..haha I actually hope I can make I into a write up one day! Good luck mate

  2. richardsirrs says:

    Great write up! I love the style!

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