Empire State Building Run-Up 2021: who’s who in the elite men’s division

Posted: October 26, 2021 in News
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We’re less than a couple of hours away from the start of the Empire State Building Run-Up. Here’s a quick overview of some of the men lining up in the lobby tonight for the 43rd edition of the event.

Soh Wai Ching (Malaysia)

With his second place finish at the 2019 ESBRU (time of 11.14), Soh Wai Ching is probably the narrow favourite for tonight’s race, although with no races to assess the athlete’s form on it’s hard to say. The Malaysian has had the upper hand on close rival Alexis Trujillo before, most notably at the Towerrunning Tour Final in 2019.

He’s spent the last few weeks doing a half-marathon and Red Bull 400 in Europe and training at tall towers in Dubai so will be coming in strong. We will be surprised if he doesn’t go sub 11-minutes and finish first.

Alexis Trujillo (Mexico)

Trujillo is making his ESBRU debut tonight. He was ranked third in the world at the end of 2019 (behind Piotr Lobodzinski and Wai Ching) and kickstarted his 2020 campaign with a blistering, record-breaking run at Scale the Strat. The pandemic robbed us of seeing him in full flow for the remainder of the year and this is pretty much the first we’ll have seen of the Mexican for ages.

What sort of form he’s in we’ll have to wait and see. Would expect to see him on the podium and top spot is definitely within reach if things go his way this evening.

Frank Nicolas Carreno (Colombia)

Carreno clocked an impressive 10.50 on his debut to win the Empire State Building Run-Up in 2018. He wasn’t at the race in 2019, but has chalked up plenty of wins since. He was victorious at the 700-step Conquista del Penol in Colombia earlier this month so is clearly in race shape.

He’ll be hot on the case of Trujillo and Wai Ching, and if he can pull another sub 11 minute finish out of the bag, he might even grab himself a second ESBRU title. Will be very surprised if these three don’t make up the podium – in what order is anyone’s guess.

Sproule Love (USA)

One of the all-time great best American stair climbers, Love made his debut at the ESBRU all the way back in 1999. He’s been on the podium in New York a number of times over the years, most recently finishing third in 2018. His times at the ESBRU have varied quite a lot recently, ranging from a blistering 11.15 in 2016 to a 12.16 in 2019.

If he can bring back that sub 12-minute form tonight, we might see an American on the podium again. But keeping up with the three visiting international athletes will probably prove a task too far for The Ghost. Top five finish for Love tonight we reckon.

David Roeske (USA)

Roeske has made five ESBRU appearances, debuting in 2015. His time each year hovers around the 12 and a half minute mark. That was fast enough to earn him 5th spot at the race in 2018, and if he maintains that consistency tonight he could be in for another impressive top five finish.

Best of the rest

Josh Duncan – the 2018 USA Stair Climbing Champion is well familiar with the 1,576 steps of the Empire State Building. He ran 13.31 at the 2019 event, so hopefully we’ll see him going faster than that this year.

Mark Ewell – another successful American tower runner, with a good 13.26 PB at the ESBRU.

Mark Henderson – finished in an impressive 12.52 in 2019 in what looks to have been his ESBRU debut. Will surely be happy to chop a chunk off that tonight.

Jason Larson – a top athlete with tons of stair racing experience and wins around the States. Has dipped under the 13 minute mark a couple of times at the ESBRU and will be looking for more of the same tonight.

Unable to attend due to travel restrictions

Ryoji Watanabe (Japan)

Martin Pederson (Denmark)

Michal Kovac (Slovakia)

Fabio Ruga (Italy)

Omar Bekkali (Belgium)

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