Thomas Dold’s top five races

Posted: November 27, 2020 in Tower running history
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The seven-time winner of the Empire State Building Run-Up enjoyed a long and hugely successful tower running career. We take a look back through his races and pick out five of his finest moments.

With so many to pick from, we’ve selected the ones that stood out to us. Leave a comment to let us know which others you’d include.

5. 2004 Uptown Run Up, Munich, Germany

Hochaus Uptown Munchen – site of Thomas Dold’s first tower running victory

Already a mountain running star who’d represented Germany at the World Junior Mountain Running Championships in 2002 and 2003 (where he finished 11th), Dold was still a tower running novice when he took part in the Uptown Run Up on 2 October 2004.

He’d made his stair racing debut the year before, taking sixth place at the highly competitive Donauturm Treppenlauf  in Vienna, Austria. But it was in Munich that Dold recorded the first of his 45 career wins.

It was the first edition of the 780-step race, so it probably went unnoticed by many in the world of tower running. But soon they would sit up and take notice of the man from the Black Forest.

4. 2017 VertiGO at Tour First, Paris France

Thomas Dold at VertiGO in 2017 (©iancorless.com)

It might seem an odd choice to include a race where Dold finished second as one of his ‘top moments’, when he has 40+ wins to pick from. But there’s a reason.

Dold had stepped away from tower running for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, missing all the big races, including the World Championships in Doha.

Many thought they probably wouldn’t see him race again. Then in 2017 he returned for three races on the Vertical World Circuit: Tower 42 in London, Tour First in Paris and One World Trade Center in New York.

He finished second in London (to Piotr Lobodzinski) and would later take a controversial joint-first in New York alongside Australia’s Darren Wilson.

But it was the race up the 954 steps of Tour First in Paris that really stood out. 2015 world champion Piotr Lobodzinski clocked a new course record of 4:42 at the event, but the returning Dold finished just five seconds behind him.

14 years after his tower running debut, and following a two-year layoff, the brilliant Dold proved he could still hold his own with the rest of the best in the world.

3. 2012 European Championship final, Frankfurt, Germany

Thomas Dold leads the finalists into the stairwell at the 2012 European Tower Running Championships

A seven-time Empire State Building Run-Up champion and three-time Vertical World Circuit winner, Dold had a massive target on his back at every race he took part in throughout the 2012 season.

At the final of the European Tower Running Championships at the MesseTurm in Frankfurt, Germany, Dold was facing the best of the new cohort of European stair racers.

The championship event involved one full qualifying run up the tower’s 1,202 steps. Christian Riedl clocked the fastest qualifying time, with Dold taking second. Earlier in the year at the Empire State Building Run-Up 2012, Riedl had finished just eight seconds behind the winning Dold. He was definitely the athlete that could cause Dold the most problems.

In the semi-final the runner’s had to sprint just half way up the MesseTurm. This time Dold evened things out and came out on top.

Could Dold take victory in the final run up the full height of the tower? Christian Riedl, Tomas Celko, Piotr Lobodzinski, Milan Wurst and Viktor Novotny were all looking to stop him.

Below is a short clip taken from inside the building during the final run (click here if embed not working).

Thomas Dold once again proved he was still the best in Europe, pulling away from the field to finish in 6:30, ahead of Christian Riedl (6:53) and Piotr Lobodzinski (7:00).

2. Course record at 2012 Vertical Rush, London, UK

As part of the Vertical World Circuit 2012, Vertical Rush in London attracted a long list of top European tower runners.

Dold was making his debut at the 932-step Tower 42 and was expected to be squaring off with the 2011 winner, Fabio Ruga of Italy, for top honours.

Dold produced a performance for the ages, clocking a course record 3:58.

Eight years on and his incredible record still stands. Only Piotr Lobodzinski has come close to it, clocking 3:59 in 2017.

1. Personal best at 2009 Empire State Building Run-Up, New York, USA

Thomas Dold made the Empire State Building-Run Up his own during his stunning run of victories from 2006 to 2012.

There are plenty of memorable moments to pick from out of his seven wins, but the 2009 event stands out as the best.

The stellar line-up in the lobby included 2007 World Mountain Running Champion Marco De Gasperi from Italy and American Rickey Gates, who had finished just eight seconds behind Dold in 2008.

Both men pushed Dold hard throughout the course, driving him on to a 10:07 finish, the best time he ever ran at the Empire State Building.

But what stands out about this race in particular is what might have been.

Only Australia’s Paul Crake has ever completed the ESBRU course in under 10 minutes, managing it four times during his run of victories from 1999-2003.

But under different circumstances, Thomas Dold may very well have done the same in 2009.

At around the 40th floor (of 86), Dold caught up with the back end of the women’s wave that had set off five minutes before the men.

As a result he had to weave his way through scores of runners as he chased his fourth title.

Thomas Dold weaving his way through the women’s wave on his way to winning the 2009 Empire State Building Run-Up

It’s highly likely that given a clear run that day Dold would have broken the 10-minute mark. Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure.

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Comments
  1. From long ago his name certainly rings a bell with me he is a legend in TOWERRUNING
    Thankyou for the wonderful post

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