Upcoming stair climb races in the UK

Posted: August 14, 2017 in News, Upcoming Events

The UK tower running race calendar explodes back into life again in the coming months, after a relatively quiet summer. We run through four of the best stair climb races to sign up for this coming September and October.

1. Upslide Down

The winding stairs and slide of the unique ArcellorMittal Orbit

What is it?

This is the third and final run of this exciting new event for 2017, following its two successful runs in June and July. It’s a 455-step climb up the iconic ArcelorMittal Orbit in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, followed by a hair-raising slide down the helter-skelter that’s been erected around the UK’s largest sculpture.

If you’ve been watching the World Athletics Championship over the past fortnight you’ll no doubt have seen images of the towering structure. If you were fortunate enough to be in the stadium, you might even have seen it peering over the top of the London Stadium.

Why should I do it?

It’s a fantastic opportunity to fuel your own athletic ambitions in the Olympic Park, and 455 steps is a great entry-level distance. If you’ve been debating doing a stair climb, but have been put off by the height of taller buildings, then Upslide Down is an excellent choice. The height is suitable for all fitness levels and the relatively shallow steps should prove slightly less demanding than some of the steeper steps you’ll find in other UK towers. What’s more, unlike most UK stair races, there’s no fundraising requirement for this one so you can pay your fee (£30 individual, or £28 pp for a team of 5) and just race.

It’s also a unique race in that the stairwell is built around the outside, curling its way up to the top of the sculpture. So, you get excellent views on the way up and exposure to cooling air that can delay you getting overheated, plus you don’t have to worry about taking any landing turns – because there aren’t any.

Then there’s the thrill of a fast-paced slide down the helter-skelter that’s been erected around the outside, which definitely offers more bragging rights and conversation opportunities than a bog-standard lift ride to the bottom.

When is it?

Wednesday 20th September – 6.30pm and 7.30pm waves – ArcelorMittal Orbit, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, E20 2AD

How do I sign up?

Upslide Down registration

2. Spinnaker Tower-thon

Emirates Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth

What is it?

An extremely well-run, and well-established, stair climb at Emirates Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. It’s 530 steps up a unique, triangular staircase and is usually less than £20 to enter.

Why should I do it?

First off, we love the vibe at this event. All the staff are very friendly and welcoming and it’s usually brilliantly organised. They are very accommodating of regular tower runners, so you should be able to take a look at the stairwell before the event and will also get a clear run up the stairs at the front of your wave if you ask for one.

While there’s no denying the 530 steps to the top are demanding, there are still far fewer than most stair climbs in the UK, so the Tower-thon makes for a decent entry-level race. It’s always a very competitive event at the business end of the standings, and is one of the more popular stair climbs among UK stair climb regulars. Times have been getting faster and faster in the last few years here, so it’s a good venue to try and measure yourself against some of the quickest UK male and female stair climbers.

There are usually considerably less people at the Emirates Spinnaker Tower-thon than you’ll find at big London races. This makes for a friendlier environment at the top, where you’ll find elites and first timers chatting and cheering on finishers well after they’ve finished their run.

Finally, entry is usually very reasonably priced and there is no fundraising required. A win-win.

When is it?

Sunday 8th October – Emirates Spinnaker Tower, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, PO1 3TT

How do I sign up?

Spinnaker Tower-thon registration

3. Step Up: ellenor’s Tower Run Challenge

The 33-floor Broadgate Tower in London

What is it?

A challenging, charity stair climb up the 877-step Broadgate Tower in the City of London. Early bird entry of £20 is available until 31 August, and after that the fee rises to £25.

Why should I do it?

It’s hard to get into one of the big London towers for a race without committing to fundraising a sizeable minimum amount of money for a charity. The minimum for this event is just £87, which is definitely manageable. The money you raise will go to helping a brilliant charity that works to support people with a terminal illness and their families.

Broadgate Tower is also one of the big London towers and is a great venue to climb.

When is it?

Saturday 14th October – Broadgate Tower, 201 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3AB

How do I sign up?

Step Up: ellenor’s Tower Run Challenge registration

4. MHA Radisson Blu Hotel Stair Climb Challenge


What is it?

A super-sprint event up the 300-step Radisson Blu Hotel in central Bristol.

Why should I do it?

Firstly, it’s only £10 to enter, plus a commitment to fundraise a minimum of £50. That’s very reasonable for a UK stair climb.

Secondly, this is the only stair climb event (we know of) in the West Country. So, if you live down that way this is your best chance to do a stair race without having to worry about a trip to London or beyond.

Thirdly, it’s the shortest race in the calendar this year by quite a few steps, which makes it a unique offering. Sprint races ask many different questions of your fitness and technique than longer climbs, and if you’re a regular tower runner this will challenge you in new and varied ways.

Finally, there are prizes for the fastest climbers so if you fancy yourself a speedster it’s worth heading to Bristol to try and claim them.

When is it?

Sunday 15th October – Radisson Blu Hotel, Broad Quay, Bristol, BS1 4BY

How do I sign up?

MHA Radisson Blu Hotel Stair Climb Challenge registration

Like us on Facebook for updates on results and upcoming events.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s