“Veritas” and “The Punisher” win in Chicago

Posted: March 11, 2015 in News

The first race of three on Sunday 8 March 2015 took place in London, UK where the charity Mencap held their first stair climb. The day was split into two separate events.

Step Up 3,2,1 involved three stair climbs for a total of around 1,700 steps and a total 6.1km run in between the buildings. It began in the morning down in Victoria at the 27 floor Portland House, after which participants ran 2.4km up the road to No.5 Strand, which is just across the way from the famous Trafalgar Square. There was an 8 floor climb there before a final run to 20 Fenchurch Street, aka The Walkie Talkie Building, for the last climb of the day; 36 floors to the Sky Bar, which offers some of the best views available in the city. This event was won by Phil “Date With Destiny” Jones in 38:28.


London’s ‘Walkie Talkie’ building

The Step Up 1 event was a single climb at the Walkie Talkie building. Tower Running UK’s Pat “[enter name here]” Gallagher, aka me, took first place in this event, reaching the top in 5:15.


An exultant Pat Gallagher gives thanks to the stair running gods for making sure no other competitive stair climbers turned up to this new race

The real competitive action on Sunday was happening Stateside. In Seattle there was a firefighters only challenge at the Columbia Centre. In full firefighting gear the climbers scaled 1357 stairs, with some seriously impressive times being clocked. Overall victory on the day went to Andrew “Quench” Drobeck in 10:46, nearly a full minute ahead of second place. If I am ever caught in a fire I want it to be in Missoula City and I want “Quench” on duty. And I wanna ride the truck and pull the horn! What??

One of the problems with being a fan of a minority sport like stair running, especially in the UK, is the lack of people to share your excitement with when the results from big races come out. This was never more evident than on Sunday night when I saw the results from the Presidential Towers race in Chicago and noted the return of Kristin Frey, who was the very first stair climber I had any contact with (when I interviewed her here). She gave me tips for my first race at the Gherkin in 2013, and I have been following her progress since.

I was also psyched to see another Leninger/Walters battle for first place. I had said a few weeks back that their burgeoning rivalry would be one to watch this year, and for the third time in 2015 the two future Hall of Famers proved it. The race in Chicago was a four-climb format, with a total of 2,340 steps being tackled.


The Presidential Towers buildings in Chicago

As his name would suggest “Veritas” Leninger made no false moves and took the win in 15:11, with “The Vision” having to once again settle for second place as he finished in a time of 15:54. Josh “Oh Captain, My Captain” Duncan rounded out the podium, completing his four climbs in 16:22. A special mention to one of my stair climbing inspirations Hal “The Statesman” Carlson. At age 62 he took a 12th place finish in 19:38. Come on!!! So impressive.

In the women’s section Liz “The Punisher” Ruvalcaba absolutely crushed her four climbs, earning first lady and fourth overall in a time of 17:26! Taking second was Kristin “Mjölnir” Frey in 20:22, with Olga “Shuriken” Starikova coming in third.

Well done to all who climbed this weekend.

P.s if anyone is wondering who the Scarlet Pimpernel like mystery climber was that took the win at Saturday’s race at Hancock Tower in Boston, his identity has now been revealed. Of course it had to be a big name and it was Tim “Boulders for Shoulders” Donahue.

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