Archive for the ‘News’ Category

The Empire State Building Run Up is the longest continuously running stair climb event in the world, and in 2019 it returns for its 42nd 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.

It’s traditionally been held in February, but there’s been a change for 2019. Read on to find out when the race is and how to enter.

When is the Empire State Building Run Up (ESBRU) 2019?

The 42nd edition of the Empire State Building Run Up will take place on Tuesday 14th May 2019 in New York, which is a big shift from it’s typical run date of the first week in February.

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.

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

Entry to the ESBRU is through a lottery system that will be open from Monday 14th January to Sunday 17th February 2019, with successful applicants being notified by email on 20th February. Entry fee, which is taken if you are selected in the lottery, is $125.

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 2019 edition.

Empire State Building Run Up 2019 lottery registration

Bookmark the ESBRU 2019 registration page so you can get your entry in from 14th January 2019.

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. Follow the link to read the first installment in our series on the history of the Empire State Building Run-Up.

6ef27ac7bb636f92058d08c3838696fd

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.

Nine-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 at the venue, which she set back in 2006.

Walsham ESBRU 2018

Suzy Walsham made it a record nine ESBRU wins when she took victory in 2018

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) – nine

Thomas Dold (GER) – seven

The Christie’s Tower Run returns to Manchester for its third edition on Sunday 24th February 2019 at the city’s 46-floor Beetham Tower.

Standing at 169m, and with 798 steps, Beetham Tower is the tallest UK building outside of London. It played host to competitive races in 2017 and 2018 and you can expect the 2019 edition to be another fantastic one.

Read on to find out more about The Christie’s Tower Run or head straight to the registration page to book your place at what might be one of the only stair climbs in the north of England in 2019.

Beetham Tower

Beetham Tower, Manchester’s tallest building

The Christie’s Manchester stair climb 2019
What is it?

This challenging, charity stair climb event returns for a third year, giving runners the chance to climb 798 steps to the top of Beetham Tower, Manchester’s tallest building.

Sign up before 1st December and entry is just £10 (after that it will be £15), with participants asked to commit to raise £150 sponsorship for the charity.

Why should I do it?

Firstly, it’s an excellent cause and charity that deserves support. The Christie charity is one of the largest hospital charities in Europe. It exists to raise funds for all those extra special services that help patients to cope with the impact of cancer on their daily lives.  Donations also contribute towards their cancer research programmes, capital building projects and the purchase of state of the art medical equipment.

Secondly, if you’re in the north of the country you’ll know that stair races are thin on the ground up there. We’ve seen more events popping up outside of London year-on-year, and in 2017 the launch of this event heralded the welcome return of stair climbing to the north west of England. For those north of the Midlands this is a brilliant and easily accessible race to try. For stair climbers in the capital, it’s a welcome chance to escape London and climb one of the other tallest buildings in the UK.

Thirdly, it was a really popular and competitive event in 2017 and 2018, with climbers universally praising the organisation and atmosphere on the day. It’s definitely not one to be missed.

When is it?

Sunday 24th February 2019 at Beetham Tower, 303 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ, with waves from 10am to 2pm.

Beetham Tower course record holders

Patrik Schneidgen (SVK) – 4.17  (2017)

Sonja Shakespeare (GBR) – 5.39  (2018)

How do I sign up?

The Christie Tower Run registration

Sarah Frost set a new women’s course record at the NSPCC Gherkin Challenge event in London last Sunday (28 October).

One of the most successful UK stair climbers on the circuit at the moment, Frost shattered the previous record by 30 seconds to set a highly impressive new time of 5.33, which was also enough to earn her third overall.

A relative newcomer to the sport, but already course record holder at London’s Broadgate Tower and Leadenhall Building, plus Portsmouth’s Emirates Spinnaker Tower, Frost was expected to take the win and break the course record, but it wasn’t an easy victory.

Only four seconds separated her from debutant Hannah Rhodes-Patterson, a competitive cyclist from the north-west of England. Former record holder, and last year’s winner, Sonja Shakespeare smashed her previous best by 13 seconds as she finished third in 5.50.

Sarah Frost Gherkin 2018

Sarah Frost (left, #049) in the stairwell ahead of her record-breaking run

David Harris wins NSPCC Gherkin Challenge 2018

Overall victory on the day went to David Harris, who took a massive 27 seconds off his second-place time last year and finished in 4.48. His win continues his long run of impressive UK performances and makes him one of the few people to have gone under five minutes at the iconic London building.

Harris and SS

NSPCC Gherkin Challenge 2018 winner David Harris alongside Sonja Shakespeare

 

To see lots more images of the day’s action check out the NSPCC Events Team photo album on Facebook.

Full Gherkin Challenge 2018 results

Focus in the UK now turns to the Broadgate Tower Run Up later this month on Saturday 24th November. That will serve as the London leg of the Vertical World Circuit 2018, where some of the world’s top stair climbers will be in attendance.

Like us on Facebook for updates on results and upcoming events.

With entries from the inspirational amateur to the expert elite, we run through five of our favourite stair climbing websites.

Considering how long stair climbing  has been around, it’s a bit surprising (and disappointing) that there aren’t more websites full of event news or training tips. But despite the dearth of sites, there are still some great ones out there worth visiting.

Read on to find out the sites we visit for expert stair climbing training tips and in-depth race reports.

5 – Keep It Up David

Since embracing an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits in 2010, David Garcia has managed to turn his life around and lose 160lbs (11 and-a-half stone/72.5kg).

Of course there have been several factors to his impressive transformation, but key among them has been his involvement in the stair running community.

He’s probably the closest thing to a celebrity there is in the tower running community – we certainly felt a little bit star struck when we spotted him in the holding area at the start line of La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel earlier this year. He’s featured on The Ellen Show!!

For the past eight years, David has documented his inspirational journey in a series of excellent blog posts. His first stair climb was in 2012 and he does an easy-to-read and interesting post-race write up of the stair races and running events he takes part in. We’ve been following his blog for five years now and always look forward to new posts.

The posts are always personal, so if you’re just looking for cold hard training tips his site may not be top of your list, but he offers some nice insights from the perspective of a regular climber leaving it all on the stairs at every race.

That said, his STAIR TRAINING 101: Want To Compete In A Stair Race? Here’s What You Need To Know post is a great place for beginners to start.

Visit Keep It Up David

4 – Stair Life

This is a new addition to the community of stair climbing websites. Well-presented and well-written, it’s the work of former journalist and keen stair climber Josh Jackett. It’s focused exclusively on the United States, so unless you live there, or you’re a general fan of the sport who likes to keep up to date with the international stair climbing scene, it might not have what you’re looking for.

Stair Life has race previews of most, if not all, of the upcoming races in the USA calendar. It has a page of stat sheets for lots of the major race venues in America, featuring course records, number of steps and lists of male and female winners from previous years. It even dabbled with a short-lived podcast, which we hope makes a comeback.

In a sport that lacks any serious, constant media attention at all, the efforts of sites like Stair Life don’t go unnoticed. We’re sure the race previews give competitors a little buzz of excitement as they prepare for their upcoming climbs. We’re excited to see how this site develops as the sport grows.

Visit Stair Life

3 – X Gym

PJ Glassey is the founding father of the small corpus of stair climbing training literature worth reading. When we got into stair climbing seriously in 2013, PJ’s X Gym website was the only real source of dedicated knowledge on stair climb-specific training and race-day preparation. It was truly an invaluable resource for a sport where a lot of time can be wasted in trial and error trying to figure out how to race efficiently.

When races at most buildings come around just once a year, minimising errors in pacing and technique is essential so you can make the most of your annual chance. The expert advice on the X Gym site definitely compressed our painful learning phase and if you’re new to the sport it will likely do the same for you.

X Gym’s material is packed full of essential tips for how to approach your stair climb event, how to master landing turns, how to target your legs with tough workouts that will set them up to handle the demands of a long climb, plus lots more. They’ve even got a link to a site that provides a detailed breakdown of the step layout in major US buildings, so racers can pre-plan their strategy ahead of the event (whoever put that site together is another legend).

The fact that it’s almost nine years since he uploaded some of his training videos on to YouTube, and they’re still  probably the best and most informative around, speaks to their quality and unfortunately to the unwillingness of the slow-moving tower running community to produce content. But fortunately that’s beginning to change, as you’ll see in the next entry in our list.

The trajectory of the popularity of tower running is an odd one, though. Five years ago Vice and Adidas did a three-part feature on the sport, with a focus on the scene in Seattle. It showcased Glassey and other well-known names including Kevin Crossman, Shaun Stephens-Whale and Kourtney Dexter as they prepared for and raced the Big Climb in Seattle’s Columbia Center.

You can watch the videos here.

The sport is definitely expanding, as demonstrated by growing participation globally and increased mentions – albeit small ones – in mainstream publications. But right now, despite this growth, the idea of Adidas, Vice or any other big brand/media channel doing anything with tower running seems like a dream. Glassey was at the forefront of the sport when it was at its zenith and the X Gym materials capture that.

The site’s stair running training materials haven’t been updated in a while and Glassey seems to have taken a step back from the sport, but his contribution to the sport is lasting.

Visit the X Gym stair climb training page

2 – Team Stair Climb

Although PJ Glassey’s training tips are thorough and comprehensive, this site probably just edges it for us in terms of usefulness for competitive stair climbers.

The reason is because it draws from the combined experiences of three of the best stair climbers in the USA: Terry Purcell, Eric Leninger and John Osborn. With dozens of wins between them at some of the toughest events in the USA, what these three don’t know about stair climbing isn’t worth knowing. The result is a rich body of knowledge spread over just a few pages in easily digestible nuggets of stair climbing gold.

There are full sections on pacing and technique, plus one page mysteriously titled The Secret, which has eight expert tips designed to help you lop heaps of time off your stair race PBs. They are excellent.

The site isn’t regularly updated with fresh content, but it really has everything you need to begin training and racing in earnest.

Visit Team Stair Climb

1 – Climbing to the Top

This blog by American stair climbing star Alex Workman was always going to be number one, because it was the inspiration for Tower Running UK.

Back in the barren years of the early 2010s, it was the personal blog of Alex Workman (alongside X Gym) that was keeping stair climbers informed with race day tips and training advice.

As his athletic endeavours have expanded to include other disciplines such as rowing, Workman has been largely absent from the stair running scene in 2018, although he’s recently begun racing and blogging again this month. But among his six years of intermittent blog posts are some of the most informative pieces on stair climb training you will find anywhere.

Made up largely of race reviews, his blog is full of expert post-race analysis. Workman takes a scientific approach to stair climbing – he climbs with a metronome to help maintain his pace throughout the race – and each race he competes in undergoes a thorough examination detailing how he felt through each stage of the event.

He has a very readable style and a knack for telling a good story, so you find yourself really drawn into his experiences. We read over 30 posts in one sitting after discovering his blog in 2013.

But Workman’s lasting contribution is in two training blogs he wrote back in 2014. These two in-depth training posts, combined with the technique and pacing information on Team Stair Climb, are all you need to take your stair climbing to a whole new level.

The first is Workman’s gym workout designed to target the muscles needed for fast stair climbing.

Part two details his interval training workouts, which he says ‘focus on increasing anaerobic threshold and VO2 max, which I consider to be the #1 ingredients to stair climbing performance.’

Make those workouts part of your preparation for your next stair race and you are bound to see improvements on your times.

Visit Climbing to the Top

 

Piotr Lobodzinski and Suzy Walsham took the first victories in the 2018 Vertical World Circuit on Sunday at the Lotte World Tower International Sky Run in Seoul, Korea.

Just a week on from their respective World Championship wins in Taipei, the pair raced up 2,917 steps to the top of the world’s fifth tallest building to kick off the nine-race VWC series.

Lobodzinski extended his unbeaten run in 2018 by holding off the challenge from Australia’s Mark Bourne and Japanese star Riyoji Watanabe.

The Bull of Bielsk Podlaski reached the top of the 550+ metre tower in 15.53, with Bourne behind in 16.16. Watanabe finished in 17.19.

It was Lobodzinski’s 123rd stair climb event, and coincidentally and fittingly the race covered 123 floors.

 

For Walsham it was a more comfortable victory as she finished over a minute faster than her nearest rival en route to setting a new course record of 18.45, two seconds faster than the time she set at the tower’s inaugural race last year.

Korea’s Ji Eun Kim gave the locals something to cheer about as she took second in 19.49.

Alice McNamara from Australia came in third in 20.08. Having missed the World Championship last weekend due to illness, McNamara will surely be extremely happy with taking a hefty 12 seconds off her time from 2017. A great return to competition.

View this post on Instagram

Great way to start the 2018 @verticalworldcircuit with a win in the tallest race on the circuit, clocking a 2sec course record (improvement of 0.016sec per floor 😉 ) at Lotte World Tower Sky Run this morning. Well done to @towerrunner for his win, and to @_alice_mac and @markbournerun for ensuring 🇦🇺 took half of the podium positions! (📷VWC / Sporting Republic) 👍🏃🏻‍♀️🔝#verticalworldcircuit #vwc18 #lotteworldtowerinternationalskyrun #lotteworldtower #sportingrepublic #verticalrunning #stairrunning #towerrunning #nike #nikeracer #justdoit #chiroworkssg #chiroworksathlete #staystrong #stayfocused #lostcountofthesteps #winner #courserecord #takethestairs #seoul

A post shared by Suzy Walsham 🇦🇺🏃🏻‍♀️ (@suzywalsham) on

The next stage in the series takes place on Thursday 24th May at Tour First in Paris.

London, which was announced last week as host for the penultimate event in the nine-race series, will be the only other European venue.

Like us on Facebook for updates on upcoming events and tower running news from the UK and around the world.

 

The Vertical World Circuit will return to London on Saturday 24th November with an event at Broadgate Tower in the heart of the City of London.

broadgate-tower39bf77a1f42264a8875eff0000c536f5

Returning for its third edition, the Broadgate Tower Run Up will see some of the very best tower runners in the world race up the building’s 35 floors and 877 steps.

The event takes over from Vertical Rush as the London stage of the multi-race series held at towers across the world. The Broadgate Tower Run Up will be valid for an extra 25% bonus points on the VWC final ranking, a competition that sees the world’s top stair climbers compete for the VWC Champion title and cash prizes.

The other eight races in the series will take place in towers in Korea, France, USA, Philippines, China, Japan and Hong Kong.

2018_vwc_visual_web

The London event is being organised by Total Motion Events, the leading stair race organiser in the UK.

‘Total Motion are honoured to be hosting the London leg of the prestigious Vertical World Circuit at The Broadgate Tower in November 2018. We look forward to welcoming the world’s top stair climbers to the UK where they will be competing for valuable points in the last 2018 VWC event before the grand final in Hong Kong,’ said Total Motion CEO, Matt Hudson.

Aside from the elite race, the Broadgate Tower Run Up will also have new family categories, with options for one adult plus one child, as well as two adults and two children.

We’ll also see the return of the ¼ Vertical Mile and full Vertical Mile races to the UK. Most stair climbing events consist of one climb to the top however Total Motion are offering the chance to climb Broadgate Tower three times to reach a quarter vertical mile, or 12 times to reach a full vertical mile.

Nobody else offers this in the UK, so if you’re really keen to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and one climb just won’t cut it, then this is definitely the event for you.

With the popularity of stair climbing rising year-on-year, demand is likely to be high for this high-profile event so if you’re considering it, it’s probably best to get your place booked up early.

Registration is now open on the Total Motion Events website and there’s currently a 20% discount on entry fees up until 31st May.

Like us on Facebook for updates on upcoming events and tower running news from the UK and around the world.

In her 100th tower running event, Suzy Walsham added the title of World Champion to her long list of achievements on Saturday in Taiwan.

There were no surprises as the Australian won both races in the two-part championship format.

SUZY WALSHAM

Suzy Walsham, Tower Running World Champion 2018 (image – Suzy Walsham)

The event began with a climb up the first 35 floors of Taipei 101. Walsham was first into the stairwell and powered up 824 steps in just 4.31. Behind her in the initial standings was the expected competition of Zuzana Krchova (4.53) and Valentina Belotti (5.01).

With Walsham very rarely beaten over longer distances, it seemed like she had the Championship wrapped up with that clear victory in the shorter race. Only a complete disaster in the following full-length race up 91 floors would have prevented her from securing her first world title.

There would be no disaster, though, and amazingly, with only around 90 minutes rest between races, Walsham managed to pull out a PB at Taipei 101 as she stormed up 2,046 steps in 13.01, securing her fourth win at the iconic building in Taiwan.

The absence of 2015 world champion Andrea Mayr and Japanese mountain running star Yuri Yoshizumi from the Championship meant the most significant challenges to Walsham were removed, but in this sort of form the Australian appeared unbeatable anyway.

‘[It’s a] big milestone for me today, it is my 100th stair race,’ said Walsham, ‘I’ve achieved a lot over the years, it’s been an incredible journey, and so i’m thrilled to be here for that 100th race’.

With 100 races in a 12-year stair climbing career, Walsham is a six-time Vertical World Circuit winner, seven-time Towerrunning World Tour winner, nine-time Empire State Building Run-Up winner and is now a worthy and unrivalled World Champion.

Her attention now turns to the Vertical World Series that begins at Lotte Tower in Seoul this coming Sunday. Walsham won there last year and will return there again to seek out another victory and kick off her attempt to retain her Vertical World Circuit title.