Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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Mark Bourne won the Race to Shanghai IFC this morning to become the first person to beat world champion Piotr Lobodzinski in 2019.

The Australian mountain running star reached the top of the 1,460-step tower in 7:58, ahead of Lobodzinski, who finished in 8:05.

Bourne, who set the course record of 7:42 in 2016, was back on the tower running circuit for the first time since May. But the five month break from the stairs (albeit filled with mountain running) seems to have done the Canberra man no harm at all.

The race on Sunday morning was the fifth occasion the long-time rivals had met this season, with Lobodzinski having won each of those races.

Heading into the event, Lobodzinski was on an 11-race win streak and was hoping to maintain his unbeaten run to the end of the season.

But on this particular course, the world number one has often struggled to beat Bourne, and once again he found himself undone.

It was the first time since 2014 that Lobodzinski failed to finish in under eight minutes.

Bourne now extends his record to four wins in the last six years at Shanghai IFC.

Third place on the day went to Japan’s Ryoji Watanabe who finished in 8:17.

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Piotr Lobodzinski and Mark Bourne renew their rivalry this coming Sunday (20 October) in the eighth round of the Vertical World Circuit series in Shanghai, China.

The pair have faced off three times in the Vertical World Circuit this year, with Lobodzinski coming out on top on each occasion.

At the 2,917-step Lotte World Tower International Sky Run in Seoul, back at the start of April, Lobodzinski set a new course record of 15:37 – a huge 16 second improvement on his previous fastest time. Bourne himself ran a magnificent race to finish just two seconds behind in 15:39.

A week later the pair went head-to-head again in Milan, at the 1,027-step Allianz Tower.

At the finish, less than a second separated them. But once again it was Lobodzinski who came out on top, setting a new course record of 5:16 in the process.

Two weeks later the Australian had another chance to attempt to beat his Polish rival. The action returned to Asia for the inaugural Vinpearl Luxury Landmark 81 – Race to the Summit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 2,383 steps stood between the bottom and the top of the world’s 14th tallest tower.

Once again Lobodzinski took the win. His finishing time of 11:35 was a massive 50 seconds faster than Bourne’s.

VWC 2018 winner Lobodzinski

Piotr Lobodzinski won the Vertical World Circuit title in 2018

Now the action heads to Shanghai, where the pair have been swapping wins over the past few seasons.

Bourne vs Lobodzinski: Race to Shanghai IFC

2014
Winner: Mark Bourne (7:55)
Runner-up: Piotr Lobodzinski (8:10)

2015
Winner: Piotr Lobodzinski (7:54)
Runner-up: Mark Bourne (8:22)

2016
Winner: Mark Bourne (7:42 – course record)
Runner-up: Piotr Lobodzinski (7:47)

2017
Winner: Mark Bourne (7:44)
Runner-up: Piotr Lobodzinski (7:53)

2018
Winner: Piotr Lobodzinski (7:43)
Runner-up: Mark Bourne (7:59)

Heading into Sunday’s clash, Lobodzinski is confident he can maintain his unbeaten run in 2019.

‘After my win last year here, I know I can break the course record now,’ said the world number one. ‘We will see, but it should be a fast and interesting battle like always. I can’t wait!’

After recently competing at the OCR World Championships – where his Team OCRA finished 5th – Lobodzinski is refocusing on the stairs.

Although Mark Bourne has been out of the stairwells since the Taipei 101 Run-Up in May (where he also finished as runner-up to Lobodzinski), he has competed in mountain running events since then. What sort of form he’ll be in on Sunday remains to be seen.

Check back on Sunday/Monday, as we’ll have all the news from the race as results come in.

The Empire State Building Run Up is the longest continuously running stair climb event in the world, and in 2020 it returns for its 43rd edition.

High on the wish list for probably every stair climber out there, the ESBRU is frustratingly difficult to get into, with some climbers applying year-on-year and failing to get a spot.

Read on to find out what we know so far about the 2020 edition.

When is the Empire State Building Run Up (ESBRU) 2020?

The date for the 43rd edition of the Empire State Building Run-Up is yet to be announced. Last year it took place in May, which was a big shift from it’s typical run date of the first week in February.

The race organisers, NYC Runs, are yet to confirm if the event will happen in May again, or revert back to earlier in the year. We’ll update this page as soon as they respond to our request for more information.

Like the similarly iconic Eiffel Tower Stair Climb, the event is run at night, with competitors setting off from 8pm, to as late as 10pm in previous editions.

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How to enter the Empire State Building Run Up (ESBRU)?

Entry to the ESBRU is through an open lottery system. Entry fee, which is taken if you are selected in the lottery, is $125 (approx.).

There are also charity slots available each year, but the minimum fundraising requirement for these is pretty steep, so you might have to get friends and family to dig deep if you go down that route.

The number of available places has dropped a fair amount recently, so it will be interesting to see how many spots are made available for the 2020 edition.

Empire State Building Run Up 2020 lottery registration

The ESBRU registration page usually goes live a few weeks before the registration portal itself opens.

If the 2020 event is to be run in February, you can expect the lottery page to go live in mid November 2019. If it’s held in May again then you’re looking at February 2020 before you can register.

We’ll be checking in with NYC Runs regularly and bring you news of registration as soon as it’s available.

What is the Empire State Building Run Up?

The Empire State Building is the historical home of tower running in the USA. The event was created by Fred Lebow in 1978, who also organised the first New York City marathon back in 1970. Learn all about the background to the event by reading the first installment in our series on the history of the Empire State Building Run-Up.

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The race involves a climb up 1,576 steps (86 floors) to the viewing deck at the top of the building, usually ending outside when the weather permits.

Having been run by the New York Road Runners (NYRR) for years, the ESBRU is now organised by NYC Runs.

The winners list for the ESBRU reads as a who’s who of tower running greats. From Terry Purcell, Cindy Harris and Thomas Dold to Darren Wilson, Christian Riedl, Piotr Lobodzinski and the incredible course record holder Paul Crake, the ESBRU podium has been topped by most of the best athletes to ever climb the stairs to the top of a tower.

Ten-time winner Suzy Walsham is in a league of her own at the venue, although it’s Austria’s Andrea Mayr who holds the women’s course record of 11:23, which she set back in 2006.

Walsham ESBRU 2019

Suzy Walsham made it a record ten ESBRU wins when she took victory in 2019

Empire State Building Run Up Records

Fastest times

Paul Crake (AUS) – 9:33 (2003)

Andrea Mayr (AUT) – 11:23 (2006)

Most wins

Suzy Walsham (AUS) – ten

Thomas Dold (GER) – seven

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Italy has produced a set of fantastic tower runners and Fabio Ruga is one of the very best.

Italian tower runners have been topping podiums around the world for close to 15 years. Bellotti, Bonacina, De Gasperi and Manzi have all won big races against top rivals.

With a background in mountain running, Fabio Ruga made his tower running debut in Milan in 2006, where he finished second behind the great Marco De Gasperi.

Over the past 13 years, he’s raced against, and often beat, some of the top tower runners of this generation, including stars such as Thomas Dold and Christian Riedl.

Fabio Ruga

Fabio Ruga finishes one step behind Marco De Gasperi on his tower running debut in 2006

UK tower running fans should be well familiar with the Italian. The course record of 4:07 he set at the Gherkin in 2010 still stands. A year later he won Vertical Rush. Since then he’s been on the podium at Tower 42 a number of times, clocking a brilliant personal best of 4:11 in 2012.

Ruga Gherkin winner 2010

Ruga celebrates at the top of the Gherkin, after setting the course record in 2010

The indomitable Ruga is still winning races. His victories this year include the fourth leg of the Vertical World Circuit at Tour First in Paris, where he beat Omar Bekkali and Emanuele Manzi, and the Thyssenkrupp Tower Run in Rottweil, Germany last month, where he finished ahead of top Germans, Christian Riedl and Görge Heimann.

Fabio Ruga 2019

Fabio Ruga celebrates winning the Thyssenkrupp Tower Run, September 2019

Other notable performances this year include third-place finishes at the Empire State Building Run-Up and the Allianz Vertical Run in Milan.

The Italian star recently caught up with publication La Repubblica to discuss his win in Rottweil, plus how he got into stair running and what his real passion is. Click the link below for the full article.

La Repubblica interview with Fabio Ruga

He also gave another interesting interview to Atletica Pidaggia 15●28 earlier in the year, in which he explains why he came back to tower running after some time away.

Atletica Pidaggia 15●28 interview with Fabio Ruga

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Michael Sturm towerrunning (2)

Michael Sturm put in a blistering run to secure victory at the final race of the German Towerrunning Cup in Hemer.

The Saalfelder LV athlete ran the 466-step course in 2:27, beating compatriot Görge Heimann by just two seconds. Course record holder and four-time winner Jeroen Vochteloo from the Netherlands took third spot in 2:34. Andreas Fruhmann (2:35) was fourth and Jens Brundieck was fifth (2:37).

Heading into the event, Sturm was sitting in fourth place in the Cup rankings with a tally of 304 points. Ahead of him were Christian Riedl (382), Andreas Fruhmann (322) and Lars Migge (321).

Hemeraner Treppenlauf

The outdoor staircase leading up to the Jübergturm

With Riedl absent from the final round, which offered 120 points for the winner, the Cup was up for grabs. Sturm had to win in order to be in with a chance of finishing top of the rankings, and hope that Fruhmann and Migge finished no higher than third place.

The official final standings are yet to be confirmed, but by our calculations Sturm has finished on top with 424 points and won the Towerrunning Germany Cup 2019 (TBC)

The unique Hemeran Treppenlauf starts on a straight outdoor staircase before runners head inside the Jübergturm observation tower to finish on the top platform.

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The Jübergturm observation tower in Hemer

Check out the full photo gallery of action from the Hemeraner Treppenlauf.

Haus des Meeres Treppenlauf

Veronika Windish took victory at the Haus des Meeres Treppenlauf to make it four wins in a row at the Vienna aquarium.

The Austrian multi-athlete remains unbeaten at the 271-step building, where she set the course record in 2016.

Windisch has been in incredible form the last few months. On 31 August she won the UFO Vertical Sprint in Bratislava, then followed this up with a narrow win over world number one, Suzy Walsham, at the Pyramidenkogel on 13 September.

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Windisch on her way to a fourth straight win at the Haus des Meeres, Vienna

In the men’s division in Vienna, course record holder and 2018 winner Christof Grossegger returned to defend his crown.

Full results were unavailable at the time of writing. This article will be updated.

Sproule Love stair run

Sproule Love is arguably the greatest American stair climber ever.

Since his tower running debut at the Empire State Building Run-Up in 1999, he has gone on to win numerous races and set course records around the USA. He has routinely been the highest-placed American finisher at the ESBRU over the past 20 years, including finishing third in 2018 and sixth in 2019.

You can read about his early ESBRU exploits in 2001 and 2002 where he finished in third place both times.

2002 mens start

Sproule Love (in the red bandana) gets out in front at the start of the 2002 Empire State Building Run-Up

You could fill a book with the stories and exploits from Sproule Love’s fantastic 20-year stair climbing career.

The excellent video below, recorded in 2013, gives just a small insight into the mindset of this American champion. In it Love talks a little about his tower running journey and you get to see him training flat out at the 40-floor tower he lives in in New York.

Reminiscing about the good old days

Love recently caught up with his alma mater, Saint Louis Country Day School. The interesting interview with his former school’s magazine runs through his athletic journey, from becoming cross country team captain in his senior year at CDS – where he ‘discovered a talent for suffering’ – to making the US Olympic trials for biathlon in 1998, and on to his fantastic tower running career.

He also reveals his favourite stair race and says why he thinks it’s important to ‘slow down and turn your phone off every once in a while’.

Click the link below to read the full article:

Sproule Love sprints to the top