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For years Australian tower runners have been among the very best in the world, winning multiple titles and setting untouchable records.

The performance of Aussie athletes at the Empire State Building Run-Up is particularly impressive. From Geoff Case and Belinda Soszyn in the 1990s to Paul Crake and Suzy Walsham throughout the 2000s.

To celebrate the national day (26th January) of the home of these incredible tower runners we’ve put together a video of all the winning Australian athletes at the ESBRU from Craig Logan in 1988 to Suzy Walsham in 2019.

Sarah Frost towerrunning

Sarah Frost has revealed she will miss the first two races of the UK tower running season as she recovers from a foot injury.

The UK number one sustained the injury to her right foot, consisting of bone bruising, plus ligament and nerve damage, while doing rehabilitation exercises for a long-standing knee issue.

It means Frost will be unable to go for three wins in a row at the Walkie Talkie Building on 29 February. Last year she became the first woman to run sub five-minutes at the tower in London.

Likewise she will miss the race at the Leadenhall Building scheduled for the same day. She set the Leadenhall course record of 8:03 in 2018.

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Today I went to work without crutches, something I didn’t think I’d be doing for a while. All support is off, and I can weight bear. I have damaged my foot, from a circuit with specific rehab exercises for my dodgy knee. Being well and truly pissed off doesn’t quite cover it. I didn’t want to talk about it until I knew it was on the mend. It’s healing quicker than expected which is great, but it has completely upset my cross training and S&C schedule to get me back to being pain free from my knee injury. My fitness is currently going downhill – a perfect start to the 2020 season. I’m sick of the ‘cheer up/you're improving, that’s great!’ comments – I know they are meant in a supportive manner but it’s hard to feel positive sometimes, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s easy from an outside perspective to see it as a simple process to get back to where you were, but injuries are personal – no one else understands how they impact you. For me, this has taken me back to when I truly messed up this same foot, and spent months wondering whether I would ever be able to walk again pain free, let alone run. It’s been up and down ever since – last year I managed to run about 300 miles total for the whole year (pathetic right?) and now I’m back at square one. I’ve been contenting myself with towerrunning for the last 3 years because I can’t consistently run like I want to, so it has been a welcome distraction – honestly I don’t know what I would have done without it. So I switched all my training motivation and goals to stair races, which worked brilliantly, but even with this my body can’t consistently cope with the (cross) training demands. I know injuries are a common part of sport and people have to suck it up and deal with them, but I’m struggling as I have done this for what feels like too long. It seems unfair, but maybe I have been asking too much, and I should remain content with seeing anything as a bonus after my initial foot injury. I don’t know where I keep going wrong, but I know I’ll keep trying 🤞🏼 I’m posting this because reading woeful tales of other people’s injuries used to help me cope, so maybe someone else can relate 😌

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Frost has her eyes on March for a return to racing. She was the only UK athlete selected in the elite division for La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel so is hoping to be ready for the event in Paris on 11 March.

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Ryoji Watanabe towerrunning

Ryoji Watanabe kicked off his 2020 tower running campaign with a win at the Building Climb Cup race in Niigata, Japan.

Held at the Next21 building, the event consisted of three qualifying runs up 19 floors, with the top-ten fastest men and women (cumulative total time) advancing to the final.

The final involved two runs to the 19th floor, with the athlete with the fastest cumulative time declared the winner.

Next21 Niigata tower run

Next21 in Niigata, Japan

Watanabe (JPN), who finished third in the Vertical World Circuit last year, dominated the whole event. He laid down a marker in the qualifiers, running the fastest time in each of the three rounds (2:26, 2:23 and 2:28).

He then stepped it up considerably for the tightly contested final. He ran 2:09 in the first round, marginally faster than second-placed Shota Nakamata (2:10) and Hayato Matino in third (2:11).

Ryoji Watanabe towerrun

Ryoji Watanabe in action at Next21

But Watanabe, who won the race last year, showed his caliber in the final run to secure victory. He finished in 2:06, some way ahead of Nakamata (2:12) and Daiichi Ishikubo (2:13).

In the women’s division, Mie Takahashi finished on top clocking a consistent 2:53 in both of her runs in the final.

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Mie Takahashi on her way to victory

Takaaki Koyama wins single climb event

Takaaki Koyama clocked a super-fast 2:04 to win the Short event. Eighth in the Vertical World Circuit rankings last year, the Japanese athlete is a rising star on the tower running circuit.

Takaaki Koyama

Takaaki Koyama begins one of his climbs

He held off Watanabe, who clocked 2:08, to secure victory in the single sprint event.

Fastest woman in the Short race was Yumi Uchiyama who finished in 3:16.

All the results from the race at Next21 can be found here.

There are also excellent photos from the event available here.

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bop to the top

Teenager Vincent Mann was victorious at the 37th Bop to the Top in Indianapolis on Saturday (Jan.18).

The local high-school cross country runner clocked a huge PB as he reached the top of OneAmerica Tower’s 780-step course in 4:27 to win the single climb at the long-running event.

He was followed by Luke Brahm in 4:40 and Mike Minichello in 4:41.2.

Mann’s winning time was 18 seconds faster than his debut race at the venue last year, where his 4:45 finish earned him sixth place overall.

It’s an impressive improvement from the youngster and follows on from his fourth-place finish at the Fight for Air Climb in Indianapolis back in March 2019.

Hopefully Mann will return to action at the Indianapolis Fight for Air Climb on March 7 in a bid to secure a second win of the season.

Harris extends incredible record of wins

Cindy Harris recorded her 25th victory in the women’s division at the Bop to the Top as she finished in 4:41.4, narrowly missing out on third spot overall.

The Indianapolis native first won the event in 1995, and apart from a second-place finish in 2016 has won every edition since.

It’s an incredible record for the evergreen Harris who is also a four-time winner of the Empire State Building Run-Up.

She was trailed in the single climb event on Saturday by Jill Paha in 5:19 and Raquel Faires in 5:21.

Harris also claimed second overall in the Triple Climb, completing her three runs in 15:07, with splits of 5:01, 5:02 and 5:04. Josh Duncan was first with a 15:03 total (4:59, 5:01 and 5:03 splits)

Full single climb results

Full triple climb results

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Suzy Walsham Empire State Building Run Up

For the first time since 2010 Suzy Walsham will not attend the Empire State Building Run-Up.

The Australian star, who has remained unbeaten at the ESBRU since 2013, has decided not to compete at the race in May.

It’s somewhat of a surprise announcement from the athlete whose name has become synonymous with the iconic New York race. Since her debut in 2007, Walsham has gone on to become the winningest athlete ever at the venue, taking victory a record 10 times.

But her decision not to compete this year does not come as a complete shock given the close proximity of the Empire State Building Run-Up (Tuesday, May 12) to the Towerrunning World Championships at Taipei 101 in Taiwan (Saturday, May 9).

2007 Walsham wins

Suzy Walsham won on her ESBRU debut back in 2007

The absence of the 2018 world champion and reigning world number one opens the door for a new name, or a familiar one, to enter the ESBRU record books.

Walsham’s closest rivals in recent years have been four-time champion Cindy Moll-Harris (USA) and Laura Manninen (FIN).

With those two also likely to be at the World Championships in Taiwan the weekend before the ESBRU, it is perhaps unlikely they will make the long journey to New York in time for the race.

If that’s the case, it leaves the door open for a completely new name to step in and take the crown. Stephanie Hucko, Shari Klarfeld and Meg Santana, who have all finished on the podium in recent years, will likely be in the mix for top spot on Tuesday, May 12.

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Towerrun Berlin 2020

Kacper Mrowiec and Karena Liebenowand took victories at the first race of the 2020 tower running season yesterday (Jan. 12), at the 29-floor Ideal-Hochhaus in Berlin.

Poland’s Mrowiec came out on top among a strong field of athletes that included leading German tower runners, Andreas Fruhmann, Lars Migge and Matthias Gall.

The race, in its 20th edition, began with a mass start pre-run of around 400m into the 465-step tower.

Mrowiec reached the top in 3:37, followed by Fruhmann (3:43) and Blazey Wytwer (3:53).

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Finally, after ten years – first individual win in running event 🏆 Potrzebowałem do tego 475 metrów i 29 pięter w czasie 3:37 min, co na mecie dało 6-sekundową przewagą nad @fuande201279 🇩🇪🏢 Andreas, I have already checked TWA calendar and I think that it was not my last time in #towerrunning event in #Germany so if you want, you will have possibility to take revenge on me 😏 Gratulacje też dla @baju_hehe, który ze swoimi 3:53 min też wygrał swoją serię i w OPEN wskoczył na najniższy schodek podium 😎 Teraz szykuj się w pełni na MŚ w #Gdynia a później… pora na Mistrzostwa Polski w biegu po schodach na #SkyTower w maju? 🤔 Dziękuję też @flawfull13.2 za wsparcie przez cały weekend i oczywiście @towerrunner za pomoc w treningach 📓 #berlin #towerrunner #wohnenideal #towerrunninggermany #polishboy #polishgirl #runner #run #sport #asics #asicsfrontrunner #royalbay #adrunaline #garmin #bieganie #adidas #twa #ambasadorzyfb #towerrunningworldassociation

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In the women’s division, Karena Liebenow came out on top with a winning time of 4:49. In second place was Magdalena Hopp in 4:56, with Claudia Becker taking third in 5:07.

Scroll down to see footage from the event.

Towerrun Berlin 2020 race

Action from the 2020 Tower Run Berlin


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It’s less than two weeks until the tower running season kicks off. 2019 was a standout year with close battles and course records aplenty, and with 2020 being a world championship year, the upcoming season promises to be just as exciting. Here are some of the tower running events we’re already getting hyped for.

World Championship at Taipei 101

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The third edition of the TWA world championship takes place on May 9th at Taipei 101 in Taiwan.

In the men’s event, Piotr Lobodzinski will be looking to defend the title he won in 2015 and 2018. He dominated the race at Taipei 101 in 2019, finishing in 10:46 – the third-fastest time ever at the tower. The Pole also won both rounds of the world championship in 2018, so will likely be the favourite heading into the event.

But expect to see stiff competition from different names than pushed Lobodzinski two years ago. Soh Wai Ching, Mark Bourne and Alexis Trujillo are just some of the athletes who had very solid 2019 seasons and will be in close contention for the podium come May.

Suzy Walsham will be looking to retain her world title, too. She was under a bit of pressure at the 2018 championship, with Valentina Belotti and Zuzana Krchova pushing her hard in the long and shorter rounds at Taipei 101.

Krchova has disappeared from the scene since then, but Belotti is on the rise and will likely be Walsham’s strongest competition. Will the 2015 world champion, Andrea Mayr, make a comeback this year? She had a massive mountain running and ski mountaineering season in 2019, but will she be tempted back onto the stairs?

Full race details for the championships are yet to be released, so we don’t know whether the same two-run format used in 2018 will be repeated or not. Could the TWA throw up something completely new?

There are lots of questions surrounding this event. The first four months of the year will give a good indication of what we might expect in May. It will be an exciting time.

The 43rd Empire State Building Run-Up

EmpireStateBuildingAdmission

Just three days after the world championship, the longest-running stair climb event returns for its 43rd edition.

The Empire State Building Run-Up always generates a lot of buzz, but it will be interesting to see who among the world’s best travels straight back to New York from Taiwan in order to make it onto the start line. If some of the big international names stay away, could we potentially see an American male take top spot for the first time since 1994?

Sproule Love has been on the podium twice in the past five years, in addition to 4th, 5th and 6th place finishes. Could he do even better this year?

In 2019, Piotr Lobodzinski became the second fastest man to ever run the building when he won in 10:05. Will he head back to Manhattan to try and dip under the 10-minute mark?

There are loads of unknowns surrounding this event, mostly related to the start list and who comes out unscathed and fully recovered from the world champs at Taipei 101. Regardless of who’s in attendance, the rich history of the ESBRU makes this event one to get hyped up for.

Vertical World Circuit

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Last year’s Vertical World Circuit (VWC) saw some fantastic battles on the stairs, particularly between eventual men’s winner Piotr Lobodzinski and his closest rival, Mark Bourne.

The men’s competitions has been fairly limited in recent years to Lobodzinski, Bourne and Japan’s Ryoji Watanabe. Hopefully this year some of the other big names in tower running will be able to venture out to Asia to complete more of the big races on the circuit.

Suzy Walsham secured her eighth VWC crown in 2019, and although the Australian absolutely romped to the title, winning all but one of the races she took part in, there was plenty to get excited about a little lower down the rankings.

From the UK perspective, the emergence of Sarah Frost on the international scene was a real high point of 2019.

The top UK tower runner took a record-breaking win in London, plus podium places and top-five finishes around the world to take fourth overall in the final VWC 2019 rankings. Hopefully Frost will be back on the circuit this year to fly the flag for UK stair climbing.

The 2020 races are yet to be announced, so it will be interesting to see if there are any new additions to the selection from last year.

22-climb event at the Broadgate Tower Run Up

The Broadgate Tower Run Up

The Broadgate Tower Run-Up has quickly emerged as the best stair running event in the UK. As part of the Vertical World Circuit in 2018 and 2019 it has attracted some big names to London, allowing the pick of the UK’s tower runners to go head-to-head with top international competition. It will hopefully be part of the VWC in 2020 too.

Last year, Sarah Frost and Ryoji Watanabe smashed the course records at Broadgate Tower, in what was one of the most competitive events seen in the UK for years. Could those records fall again?

The event truly offers something for everyone, from the elite race, to quarter, half and full vertical mile options. Although these categories aren’t unique, the inclusion this year of the 22-climb ‘Ultimate‘ is.

22 climbs up the 877-step tower for a total of 19,294 steps is a game changer and such a welcome challenge for those who lean toward ultra events. There are Everest stair climbs and genuine vertical marathon events around the world, but this is brand new to the UK.

It’s a hugely exciting development and testament to the forward-thinking approach of race organiser Matt Hudson of Total Motion Events.

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