Can an American win the Empire State Building Run-Up in 2021?

Posted: October 23, 2021 in News
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It’s been 18 years since an American athlete won the Empire State Building Run-Up, but could the drought be set to come to an end on Tuesday night?

You have to go all the way back to 2003, when Cindy Harris (then still Moll) avenged her 2002 loss to Germany’s Kerstin Harbich, to find the last American winner of the world’s longest-running stair race. But this year’s Empire State Building Run-Up looks like the best chance the USA have of producing another champion, at least in the women’s division.

The 43rd Empire State Building Run-Up is now just days away, and with 10-time champion Suzy Walsham – who was undefeated in New York since 2013 – back in Australia, the path is clear for a new champion to be crowned.

In Walsham’s absence, Italian mountain running legend Valentina Belotti was hotly tipped to win this year’s event, but travel restrictions on people entering the USA from Europe mean she’s unable to attend. Fellow in-form European Kamila Chomanicova of Slovakia also misses out.

That leaves just Mexico’s Maria Elisa Lopez Pimentel as the last hurdle for the American athletes that make up the rest of the elite women’s wave to cross in order to end the drought of a home-athlete victory.

Lopez Pimentel was fourth at the ESBRU in 2018 and fifth in 2019. At each of those races she finished behind Cindy Harris (yes she’s still competing at the top, 18 years after the last of her four wins) and Shari Klarfeld.

Harris and Klarfeld are both set to race on Tuesday, so Lopez Pimentel will likely have to put in a strong personal best performance to prevent the 2021 ESBRU title staying in the US.

With tower running having been practically shut down for well over a year due to the pandemic, it’s hard to know what sort of form the athletes are in. Lopez Pimentel is probably capable of pulling off a win, but going on past form at the Empire State Building, it’s looking like we’ll see an American on top of the podium come Tuesday evening.

Keep an eye out in the next couple of days for our rundown of the athletes set to race in the women’s (and men’s) elite division.

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