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VWC 2020

The first half of the 2020 tower running season has been completely halted by coronavirus restrictions and there hasn’t been a tower race anywhere since mid-March. Dozens of races, including big events such as the Empire State Building Run-Up and the TWA World Championship race at Taipei 101, have been postponed or cancelled outright. But what about the nine races that form the Vertical World Circuit?

Read on to find out about the postponements and new dates for the races in the Vertical World Circuit 2020.

Allianz Vertical Run – Allianz Tower, Milan, Italy

The race up the 1,027-step Allianz Tower was scheduled for 19 April, but even though the organisers waited until the end of March to officially announce its postponement, it was clear very early on in the ongoing coronavirus situation that this event wasn’t going to happen as planned.

Allianz Tower Run 2020

The organisers are hoping to reschedule within 2020 so it can still slot into this year’s Vertical World Circuit. There’s no fixed date yet, but July has been floated provisionally as the new month at least.

You can keep up to date with announcements on the Allianz Vertical Run Facebook page.

VertiGo – Tour First, Paris, France

Initially scheduled as the second race in the VWC 2020 to take place on May 14, VertiGO was rescheduled early on.

Competitors will now head to the tallest skyscraper in France to race up 954 steps on Thursday 24 September.

The event typically attracts top European tower runners, but with the new date so close to the rescheduled race at the Eiffel Tower (30 September) we may well see some international elites from further afield heading to France early to do the Parisian double.

Find out more details on the event at the VertiGO website.

Tunnel to Towers Tower Climb – One World Trade Center, New York, USA
world-trade-center

One World Trade Center in New York City

The tallest tower on the VWC, One World Trade Center was set to host a race on 14 June. With New York hit particularly hard by COVID-19, it was inevitable that this race wouldn’t be happening on the set date.

It was duly postponed and the race organisers have now said they are aiming for a date at the end of July.

The T2T NYC Tower Climb site or the general Tunnel to Towers FB page will be your best bet for the latest updates for when a specific date is in the books.

The Broadgate Tower Run Up – London, UK

The most competitive race on the UK tower running calendar, the Broadgate Tower Run Up was set to take place on 5 July.

The organisers have now shifted the race to Sunday 27 September.

The event already attracts a strong field of UK and international competitors year-on-year. But with the rescheduled race now sandwiched between VertiGO and La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel, could we see more big names in the capital come September?

Obviously Paris-London-Paris for three races in a week isn’t ideal. But some top athletes will be traveling in from South America and Asia for La Verticale anyway, so an extra bit of travel might not put them off. Hopefully some new big names will head to Broadgate Tower to try and break the course records set in 2019 by Japan’s Ryoji Watanabe (3:41) and the UK’s Sarah Frost (4:40).

The remaining races

The five remaining races in the VWC originally scheduled for the second half of 2020 are all still hoping to go ahead as planned:

  1. Beijing Vertical Run, China World Summit Wing – Beijing, China (29 August)
  2. Race to Shanghai IFC, Two Shanghai International Finance Centre – Shanghai, China (18 October)
  3. Dubai Holding SkyRun, Jumeirah Emirates Tower – Dubai, UAE (6 November)
  4. Harukas Skyrun, Abeno Harukas – Osaka, Japan (15 November)
  5. Race to Hong Kong ICC, International Commerce Centre – Hong Kong (6 December)

EmpireStateBuildingAdmission

The 2020 edition of the Empire State Building Run-Up has finally been officially cancelled.

It comes as no surprise, of course, given the ongoing situation in New York, and globally. But race organisers NYC Runs waited until now before making an announcement about the event, which was due to take place on Tuesday 12 May.

It’s the first year since the ESBRU began in 1978 that a race up the tower won’t take place.

The 43rd edition of the event will now happen on Tuesday 11 May 2021, with all those given a place at this year’s event invited to participate next year.

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Lobodzinski La Vertical Tour Eiffel 2019

Piotr Lobodzinski recently caught up with Polish running website bieganie.pl to talk all things tower running, and it’s a fantastic read.

The candid interview covers a good range of topics that give excellent insight into the two-time tower running world champion.

Some of the highlights include:

  • His early adventures in sports and athletics and his move into tower running back in 2011
  • How the COVID-19 lockdown and shut down of scheduled tower runs in the first half of 2020 has killed his motivation to train
  • Running a 3:14 marathon with no specific training back in 2006
  • Why he doesn’t own a TV
  • His hopes of running a sub-30 minute 10km
  • Why he likes ‘technical routes’ and why the staircase in the Eiffel Tower suits him so well

Check out the full article through the link below:

Piotr Lobodzinski interview with bieganie.pl

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Burj Khalifa

This story was an April Fools’ Day joke – unfortunately there is no scheduled race at the Burj Khalifa.

The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, will host a stair race on Wednesday 2 December 2020 to celebrate National Day in the United Arab Emirates.

‘We are excited to announce this event in celebration of 49 years of independence’, announced Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, head of the UAE Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Social Development.

‘We want to deliver something that makes people feel really proud about what we are as a nation, our ability to do these things. And at a time when the world is a pretty difficult place for a lot of people, I think we also know we have a responsibility to try and help lift people’s spirits.’

‘We hope this announcement can give people something to remain optimistic about in the coming months and we look forward to welcoming some of the world’s best athletes to compete at the world’s best tower in December.’

The 828m tall structure in Dubai has long been the dream race venue for tower runners. It’s 2,909 stairs will lead climbers up to the 160th floor.

Full details on the event and registration are yet to be announced.

Soh Wai Ching Loros 2020

Last weekend saw the fifth edition of the LOROS Tower Run at St George’s Tower in Leicester.

In an exciting event, Soh Wai Ching set a new course record and Sarah Frost secured her third win in a row.


Soh Wai Ching smashes course record at LOROS Tower Run 2020


Every year the organisers have an excellent photographer on hand capturing all the action on the stairs and around the building.

The photos from this year’s race have just been uploaded and you can find them all through the link below:

LOROS Tower Run 2020 photos

Malaysia’s Soh Wai Ching broke the LOROS Tower Run course record by three seconds at Saturday’s event in Leicester.

Soh powered to the finish in 1:24.8 to eclipse the previous best time of 1:27.9 set by Elliot Slaughter (GBR) in 2018.

View this post on Instagram

Took part in Loros Tower Run 2020. Running almost in the last heat. Completed the first full run up of 20 floors, 351 steps, 64m Elevation Climb with a time of 85 seconds, exactly my target right before the run. Broke the previous course record – 87.9 seconds with exact 85 seconds. Came back down, and decided to go up one more round as I knew I can go faster for it. With about 20 minutes rest, I gave it another shot, and came back with a 84.8 seconds. Broke my previous record by .2 seconds! Great Run! Thanks Organizer for a well organized race, clear the course before my attempt. Down to one final race – Hyde Park Spring 10k Run tomorrow at 9.30am (5.30pm Malaysia Time). #MasTowerRunner #TenagaNasionalBerhad #GreenAcreCapital #MalaysiaAirlines #MMTF #BauerfeindMalaysia #BlackrollMalaysia #MeridianSY #JayBirdSport #BeetItSportMalaysia #RudyProjectMalaysia #Towerrunning #MalaysiaTowerrunningAssociation #AdidasRunners

A post shared by Soh Wai Ching (@mastowerrunner) on

It was the second course record for Soh in the space of a week, following his new best time at the Sibu Tower Run in Malaysia the weekend before.

Poland’s Kacper Mrowiec finished second in 1:29.7, becoming only the third man to have run the 351-step course at St George’s Tower in less than 90 seconds.

Laurence Ball (GBR) was third in 1:31.4.

Soh Wai Ching and Kacper Mrowiec

Soh Wai Ching and Kacper Mrowiec

Frost makes it three in a row on return from injury

Sarah Frost was the fastest woman at the LOROS Tower Run, winning in a time of 1:52.8 to secure her third win in a row at the venue.

It was the first race of the season for Frost following an ankle injury that had her sidelined at the start of the year.

Frost had been due to race at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel on Wednesday 11 March, but with the postponement of that event she kicked off her season in Leicester.

Although Frost’s time on Saturday was the slowest of her three wins, it was still significantly faster than her rivals.

Kimberley Etherington-Bates was second in 2:28.3 and Sonja Shakespeare took third in 2:38.9.

Full LOROS Tower Run 2020 results

LOROS Tower Run race day photos

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LOROS Tower Run 2020

It’s the shortest stair race in the UK, but the LOROS Tower Run is also one of the most exciting. Back on Saturday 14 March 2020 for its fifth edition, all eyes will be on Leicester as top international speedsters get ready to race flat out against some of the UK’s best.

The athletes will face 351 steps at St George’s Tower, and the leading men will have one eye on the course record of 1:27.9 set by Elliot Slaughter in 2018.

Slaughter won’t be in attendance on Saturday and neither will three-time winner (2016-17, 2019) Mark Sims.

That leaves the door wide open for a new champion to be crowned and three men in particular are among those expected to be in close contention for the top spot.

Loros Tower Run1

St George’s Tower, Leicester – venue for the LOROS Tower Run

Kacper Mrowiec – Poland

Mrowiec blew onto the tower running scene a little over a year ago and has already proven himself as a prospect to watch.

Back in early February 2019, the Polish athlete kicked things off at the 593-step Altus Cup race in Katowice, Poland. His 3:11 finish was fast enough to earn him third spot. Mrowiec clearly has good speed on the stairs.

But he really established himself a few weeks later at the highly competitive Rondo 1 race in Warsaw. The 836-step race always attracts top European stair runners.

Kacper Mrowiec towerrunner

Mrowiec took sixth overall, finishing ahead of far more experienced tower runners, including Ralf Hascher, Andreas Fruhmann, Rauno Tiits and Pavel Holec.

He followed this up later in the year with a second-place finish at the 723-step ‘sprint race’ at the Star Challenge in Gdasnk, Poland. Less than a second separated him and the winner, Mateusz Marunowski.

People began to sit up and take notice of the young Pole.

Jump forward to 2020 and Mrowiec already has a win under his belt. He took top spot at the 29-floor Ideal-Hochhaus in Berlin in January.

He’s not long back from a winter training camp in Spain, and since his return to Poland he鈥檚 been training on the stairs alongside world number one tower runner Piotr Lobodzinski.

Mrowiec was due to race at Vertical Rush on Thursday (12 March), but with the cancellation of that race he can focus his attention, and completely fresh legs, on the 351 steps of St George’s Tower.

Expect him to put in a very fast time; somewhere close to if not better than the course record, for sure. Will it be enough to win him the race? That’s to be seen.

Henrik Holstad – Norway

The name Henrik Holstad may be unfamiliar to the casual reader, but the Norwegian is a legitimate tower runner who secured a bunch of wins and podium finishes last year.

In Norway he won the 600-step Kollentrappa in May and then in September he finished second at the 303-step Barcode Challenge and second at the KollenOpp.

Henrik Holstad towerrunning

Henrik Holstad (793) on his way to winning the Kollentrappa 2019


The following month he took top spot at the Run Up Berlin, which takes place at the city’s 770-step Park Inn Hotel and has been venue to some great battles over the years between Germany’s top tower runners.

Holstad has demonstrated his complete stair running versatility, giving a good account of himself at various distances and formats. Whether traditional races with landing turns or races straight up the stairs alongside ski jumps, Holstad has proven himself capable of handling it all. But how will he get on in Leicester?

Tower running math isn’t always the most accurate predictor of finishing places, especially at a sprint event like this where the margins between places will be super slim. But having punched the numbers, we’ll be surprised if Holstad takes top spot. A podium place is a reasonable expectation, but first might be out of reach, and the next man on our list is one of the reasons why.

Laurence Ball – Great Britain

Laurence Ball tower running

Like Mrowiec, Laurence Ball is a relative newcomer to tower running, having made his stair race debut a little over 12 months ago.

He won that race and went on to put in some more cracking performances throughout the rest of the year. He was second at the stacked Broadgate Tower Run Up in July and then smashed the course record at the Leadenhall Building in November.

In the summer he showed off his speed at the UFO Vertical Sprint in Bratislava, Slovakia. In the three-run format, he managed to finish sixth in among far more experienced tower runners.

Laurence Ball Mark Howard Grate48 2019

Laurence Ball (left) after setting the course record at the Leadenhall Building in November, 2019

The LOROS Tower Run will be Ball’s first stair race of the 2020 season, so it will be interesting to see exactly where he’s at.

He’s been putting in a lot of track work and recently competed at the Vertical Up Kitzb眉hel, which involves running up a ski slope in spiked shoes. We know he’ll be in great shape, but how will he handle the flat out sprint?

We’ll be surprised not to see Ball in the top three.

Update (12 March 2020, 9.30pm)

Since we wrote this article, the world number two Soh Wai Ching has announced that he will be heading to Leicester to take part in the race, having previously ruled himself out. The Malaysian had come to Europe to race at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel and to defend his Vertical Rush title in London. With both events cancelled he has now apparently decided to take on the LOROS Tower Run.

Soh becomes the firm pre-race favourite now. We firmly expect the course record to fall if he makes it onto the start line.

This race has now become an even more exciting prospect than it was this afternoon. Roll on Saturday.

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