La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel 2020: massive change to race format announced

Posted: November 29, 2019 in News
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La verticale de la tour eiffel 2020

The organisers of La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel have announced a massive change to the 2020 edition of the race, due to renovation work at the Eiffel Tower.

Instead of the traditional climb to the top of the 1,665-step tower, the new format looks like this:

  • 1st qualifying round – 131 competitors – 665 steps (to the second level)
  • 2nd qualifying round – 131 competitors – 665 steps
  • Final – 30 competitors (20 men, 10 women) – 665 steps

Qualifying rounds:

These will be held in a time trial format (runners set off every 10 seconds), with starting positions determined by the organisers.

The times from each run will be added together and the 20 men and 10 women with the shortest cumulative times will advance to a final run up to the second level of the tower.

You can see the timings between the two qualifying rounds and the final below. There will be 40 minutes between qualifying rounds and 60 minutes between the final qualifying run and the final.

La verticale de la tour eiffel 2020

The Final:

The final will be held in a pursuit format with the fastest athlete from the qualifying rounds setting off first. The time gap between setting off racers in the final is yet to be announced.


The news will come as a disappointment to those who had applied with the hope of racing to the top of one of the world’s most iconic towers and the historic home of stair running.

Those who have pre-registered will have received an email with the news and have the option of cancelling their application for a full refund.

The pursuit format of the final could make for an interesting twist, especially if there is live coverage on the night showing the battle. However, the top level participants will be running the 665 steps in under three minutes and on the narrow stair case of the Eiffel Tower, there won’t be much too many opportunities for passing.

It’s unfortunate news, but it could lead to a more exciting event. It also increases the chances of someone other than five-time winners Suzy Walsham and Piotr Lobodzinski winning again.

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