Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Looking for stair climbing inspiration or hoping to keep up to date with the latest news from the the global tower running community? Well, we’ve got you covered with some recommendations for Instagram accounts to follow.

If you’re already following the five tower running accounts on Instagram we suggested last year, then you might be interested in these next five too.

Christof Grossegger @__stairs_up__

This Austrian multi-athlete was one of the most active stair climbers in the ruined 2020 season, taking wins at Pyramidenkogel and Tek Na Kalvarijo. Austria has produced some of the world’s top tower runners over the years and Grossegger is one of the country’s exciting new breed. His feed is full of regular action shots from his exploits in stair running, mountain biking and Red Bull 400.

Takaaki Koyama @mt.yamako

Another emerging star, this time from Japan. Takaaki Koyama has firmly established himself as one to watch in the growing Asian tower running scene. If you want to keep an eye on all things vertical running in Japan, then Koyama’s your man. Follow Tower Running Tokyo while you’re at it for even more insight.

Stair Climbing Australia @stair_climbing_australia

If you’ve been involved in stair climbing much you’ll know there’s a super-friendly community at all levels. Stair Climbing Australia’s account does a brilliant job of bringing those good vibes across virtually. Whether it’s funny, informative or inspirational posts, they’ve always got something worth checking in on. Its virtual stair climb challenges this year have kept many tower runners busy and entertained. Probably the most active stair climbing account on Instagram.

Tomas Celko @tomascelko

The ‘Wim Hof’ of tower running, Tomas Celko is never far from freezing cold water these days. So a word of caution, you might just find yourself stripping down and hopping into an ice bath soon after following his account. One of the sprint kings of stair climbing, Celko has battled back from injury this year to get back toward fitness. Join the 10k+ people following his journey back to the top in 2021.

Towerrunning Singapore @towerrunningsingapore

Singapore has a rich tower running history that dates back to 1987. The growth of the sport out there is now in the hands of the newly-formed Towerrunning Association of Singapore and we’re expecting exciting developments from them over the next few years. Its Instagram account is yet to blow up, but get in before it was cool and follow them now.

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Ryoji Watanabe set a new course record at Tokyo Tower on Sunday, becoming the first person to run the 500-step course in under two minutes.

Watanabe finished in a fantastic 1:59.98 to reach the top ahead of the chasing Takaaki Koyama.

Ryoji Watanabe Tokyo Tower
Ryoji Watanabe lies flat out after his winning run at Tokyo Tower

The exciting event more than lived up to pre-race expectations, with a close race highly anticipated.

The in-form Koyama set a personal best 2:07.09 as he followed shortly behind Watanabe.

You can see the strong finish from both athletes in the video below.

Behind Koyama, Akie Yajima finished third in 2:10.13, with 2016 champion Naoya Endo in fourth. Hiroichi Uesugi finished in fifth place.

Tokyo Tower hosts one of the final Asian tower races of 2020 this coming Sunday.

It’s the ninth edition of the popular event in Japan, that sees runners sprint up 500 steps.

In the men’s event there is potentially an exciting clash of former champions. Japanese number one tower runner Ryoji Watanabe (2017 and 2018 champion), Takaaki Koyama (2019), and Naoya Endo (2016) are all on the provisional start list.

Takaaki Koyama reaches the top of Tokyo Tower to win in 2019

Koyama is heading into the event following a strong win last weekend at the Sapporo TV Tower, so will definitely be in good form.

Ryoji Watanabe won the event in 2017 and 2018

Watanabe, who finished third overall on the Vertical World Circuit in 2019, hasn’t raced on the stairs for months but did win ahead of Koyama at the Building Climb Cup race in Niigata back in January.

If Watanabe is anywhere near being in top condition, he will be the man to beat on Sunday. He ran an incredible 2:01 to win in 2018, finishing 16 seconds ahead of Koyama.

Takaaki Koyama took first place at the first edition of the Sapporo TV Tower Vertical Run in Japan.

The new event, which had been rescheduled due to Covid-19 restrictions, involved two runs up 442 steps.

The experienced Koyama showed impressive consistency as he clocked 1:50 in his first run, followed by 1:49 in his second for a total winning time of 3:39.

Takaaki Koyama at the start line

Koyama finished narrowly ahead of Koki Tanaka (3:43), who clocked the fastest single run of the day, a time of 1:48 with his second attempt. But with his initial run a slightly slower 1:55, it left him four seconds behind overall.

A section of the stairs at the Sapporo TV Tower

The battle for the final podium spot was very closely contested. In the end it was Yusuke Tanaka who sealed it with his 3:59 total. Fourth spot went to Hirokazu Uesugi (4:01) and Hitotsubashi Seiya (4:02) was in fifth place.

Sapporo TV Tower

In the women’s division, Japanese international triathlete Airi Sawada proved herself a force on the stairs, taking victory in 5:23 (2:45 and 2:38). She was 20 seconds faster overall than second-placed Moeko Yasugahira.

Airi Sawada and Takaaki Koyama celebrate winning the Sapporo TV Tower Vertical Run 2020

* Update: a few hours after writing this race preview, Vertical Montserrat 2020 was cancelled. New Covid-19 restrictions were implemented in Catalonia, meaning the race can no longer go ahead.

Enrique Santamaria Martinez and Alba Xandri will return to the 2,180-step Montserrat Funicular in Collbató, Spain this Saturday to defend the titles they won at the event in 2019.

Santamaria Martinez, who also finished third in 2018, will face off against the returning course record holder and 2018 winner Joan Freixa Marcelo.

Enrique Santamaria Martinez sets off on his winning run in 2019

Freixa Marcelo won the Firefighter division at last year’s event, completing the course in full safety gear. But this year the multi-athlete from Cardona will be back in the Open category, seeking to reclaim his crown.

He is one of only two athletes to have run the course in under 12 minutes, with his record standing at 11:38.

Runners will set off up the stairway at 90 second intervals, starting at 9am.

David Soler Sucarrats, who finished just eight seconds behind Santamaria Martinez at last year’s race, is also set to compete at Saturday’s event.

Freixa Marcelo will be the last man to set off in the Open division. Santamaria Martinez will start just ahead of him, guaranteeing a fantastic finish to the third edition of this stunning outdoor stair race.

Joan Freixa Marcelo winning Vertical Montserrat 2018

The race up the service stairs alongside the Montserrat Funicular was originally scheduled for the end of March, but had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ongoing situation has reduced the field slightly, with fewer international runners in the line-up compared with last year. French athlete Joris Jaquard is one of the familiar non-Spanish runners set to make an appearance.

In the women’s division, two-time winner Alba Xandri is back to try and make it three wins in a row.

Alba Xandri on her way to winning Vertical Monserrat in 2019

The impressive Spanish mountain runner and cyclist was a clear winner last year, finishing over 90 seconds ahead of Rosa Maria Nieto Zamora.

Her winning time of 14:17 is the course record.

Nieto Zamora will also be back in action again on Saturday, but she will need her rival to have a massive off day in order to stop her winning a third title.

Some familiar names to look out for are Cristina Bonacina (ITA), Laure Chardin (FRA) and Marta Cosp Morata (ESP), who won the Beetham Tower stair race in Manchester, England back in 2019.

Christof Grossegger and Martina Potrč were the fastest finishers at the 454-step Tek Na Kalvarijo in Maribor, Slovenia on Saturday.

Austria’s Grossegger put in a brilliant performance to dip under the coveted 1:50 marker on his way to victory in a time of 1:49.33.

He chopped a massive eight seconds off the time he set at last year’s event, where he finished in third place.

Christof Grossegger on his way to victory at Tek Na Kalvarijo

“It was a gorgeous race today,” said Grossegger. “I started a little bit too fast and suffered at the last few steps – but I’m still very satisfied.”

“This staircase is really special. At the beginning it’s relatively flat, but the longer you run the steeper it gets. Just brutal. I was completely destroyed at the finish area for at least 20 minutes.”

The Covid-19 pandemic and a calendar clash with the popular Smarna Gora mountain race, also in Slovenia, meant the field of runners at Saturday’s stair race was slightly diminished.

2019 champion Klemen Španring opted to compete at Smarna Gora, as did last year’s fourth-place finisher Matjaz Miklosa, meaning some of Grossegger’s toughest rivals were missing from the action.

But, regardless, it would have taken a special performance to deny the in-form Austrian from taking victory.

Already boosted by his win at the Pyramidenkogel back in September, Grossegger was further full of fire following the strategic mishap in the qualifiers at the previous weekend’s Red Bull 400 Bischofshofen, which cost him a spot in the final.

As such he was untouchable in Maribor, with Martin Höck (2:02) and Uroš Pinter (2:03) rounding out the podium some way behind the Austrian.

Tek Na Kalvarijo men’s top three (image: Zdrava Zabava)

In the women’s division, Martina Potrč was also a clear winner as she finished the course in 2:31.

Martina Potrč on her way to victory

Second place went to Špela Jelovčan, fresh from her course record breaking run at Juriš na Hmezad a fortnight ago. She clocked 2:45.

Third place went to Valentina Videčnik who ran the 454 steps in 3:04.

See all the results from Tek Na Kalvarijo 2020.

Christof Grosseger and Rok Kuserbanj will be among the top athletes in Maribor, Slovenia on Saturday competing for top spot at the 11th edition of Tek Na Kalvarijo.

The 454-step outdoor race has been switched from its traditional atmospheric Friday night setting and will now take place on Saturday morning.

2019 champion Klemen Španring will not be returning to defend his title on the weekend. The Slovenian mountain runner will instead be competing at Smarna Gorna, one of the biggest mountain races on the international calendar.

Part of the course in Maribor

That leaves the door open for the in form Christof Grossegger to do better than the third-place finish he earned at last year’s race.

Grossegger recently took a confidence boosting win at the Pyramidenkogel in his native Austria.

But a mishap at last weekend’s Red Bull 400 race in Bischofshofen, Austria has left Grossegger frustrated and ready to make up for it.

“I can’t wait to do the race”, Grossegger told Tower Running UK.

“Confidence is of course pretty high, because I am in good shape. But my motivation is also high, because I’m angry about last weekend.

“I missed the finals at the Red Bull 400 because I tried to save as much energy as possible in the qualification run. But in the end I missed the cut-off time by one second. I really saved energy by going that slow – but for nothing.

“So therefore, new tactics for Maribor – just full gas from bottom to the top.

“I will miss the night race and the special colorful lights. It was an incredible atmosphere last year.”

In among those looking to compete with Grossegger will be Slovenia’s Rok Kuserbanj.

He won a couple of weeks back at the 265-step Juriš na Hmezad in Zalec, Slovenia, dethroning the two-time winner Rene Sluga.

Kuserbanj also held off the challenge of Simon Kmet at that race, who finished third.

Kmet took second at Tek Na Kalvarijo in 2019, so expect to see Kuserbanj finish higher than the 10th place finish he earned last year.

Also expect to see four-time winner Matjaz Miklosa among the tough Slovenian runners competing strongly for the podium, having narrowly missed out on third spot last year.

Špela Jelovčan set a new course record at the third edition of Juriš na Hmezad in Zalec, Slovenia on Saturday.

Jelovčan ran the 265-step course with the required 5kg bag of hops on her back in 1:29.78, to take five seconds off the previous best time set by fellow Slovenian Petra Pogačar at last year’s event.

It was a huge improvement for the athlete from Polhov Gradec who finished fourth at the race in 2019.

Jelovčan was a clear winner, finishing 15 seconds ahead of Maruša Stermecki (1:44.96) in second. Karmen Štih took third in 1:49.23.

Špela Jelovčan sets off on her record-breaking run at Juriš na Hmezad
Kuserbanj puts an end to Sluga’s winning run

Rok Kuserbanj put in a solid run in the men’s race to stop Austria’s Rene Sluga from winning Juriš na Hmezad for the third time in a row.

Course record holder Sluga was the pre-race favourite coming into Saturday’s event, but Kuserbanj put in a powerful run to shock the Austrian and take first place with a 1:12.95 finish.

Kuserbanj had finished second behind the experienced Sluga in 2018 and then took third in 2019. The athlete from Braslovče finally completed his collection of every podium position with this impressive win.

The men’s top six (plus Karmen Štih, 3rd woman) at Juriš na Hmezad 2020

Rene Sluga was just over one second behind, finishing in 1:14.01. Simon Kmet was third in 1:16.69.

For more race-day images, head to Atletsko tekaško društvo Savinjčan ŽALEC.

Jasmina Klančnik will return to Zalec, Slovenia for the third edition of Juriš na Hmezad on Saturday to try and reclaim the title she won in 2018.

The Slovenian athlete took sixth place last year as Petra Pogačar came out on top at what is one of the more unique races on the tower running circuit.

Competitors must run up 265 steps to the top of the Hmezad building in Zalec all while carrying an awkward five-kilogram bag of hops on their backs.

The Hmezad building in Zalec

Pogačar set a new record of 1:34 last year, taking two seconds off the 1:36 best that Klancnik clocked in 2018.

It should be an exciting event on the weekend as the Slovenians battle it out in what will be the last stair race to go ahead before a two week break of no races.

Athletes have to run up 265 stairs with one of these awkward sacks on their backs

Check out some of the action from the 2018 event in the video below and be sure to check us out on Facebook or Instagram for the results on the weekend.

It was third time lucky for Ondřej Tesař on Saturday as he finally finished on top of the podium at the Krnovsky Run Up.

Tesař had finished third at the event in 2018 and 2019, but came out victorious on Saturday following a day of close battles with Poland’s Kacper Mrowiec.

It was the fourth edition of the 218-step stair race at Cvilinske schody in Krnov, Czech Republic.

The unique and exciting race format began with a qualifier to find the fastest 16 men and women. This was followed by quarters, semis and a grand final to determine the overall winners.

Tesař got his campaign off to an impressive start, clocking 58:37 in the qualifier to finish second fastest. He was just behind one of his predicted rivals and fellow Czech, Pavel Holec.

Poland’s Kacper Mrowiec, who was making his debut at the event, took it a little easier in the qualifiers as he got a feel for the course. He clocked 1:07.12 to qualify as the seventh fastest male.

Quarter-final showdowns

The action picked up in the next round when Mrowiec and Tesař were paired off against each other in the second quarter-final.

Mrowiec finished narrowly ahead of his Czech rival, with both men advancing to the semis.

In the fourth quarter-final, Jan Keclík and Petr Lisník had to push hard to secure their spot in the semis, with both men clocking sub one-minute times.

Pavel Holec won his quarter-final by a comfortable three-second margin to advance as one of the final eight men.

Holec fastest in the semi-finals

Holec stepped things up again in the first semi-final, winning in 1:00.24. He was followed by Lisník who qualified for the final by the narrowest of margins, reaching the top of the stairs just over half a second faster than the hometown favourite Luděk Slonina.

In the second semi, Mrowiec was once again battling it out with Tesař.

As he had in the quarter-final, the Pole reached the top of the 218 steps shortly before Tesař, clocking 1:05.17 to the Czech’s 1:07.58.

Everything was set up for a fantastic final sprint between three of the pre-race favourites.

The finalists: Pavel Holec, Ondřej Tesař, Petr Lisník and Kacper Mrowiec (all images courtesy of Cvilinske Schody)
Tesař saves the best for last

Mrowiec (#141) blasted off in the final, taking a narrow lead early on.

Kacper Mrowiec (#141) gets out in front early on in the final race

But Tesař kept him within touching distance before pushing ahead towards the end.

The video below shows you just how close the end of the brilliant final race was.

Tesař took victory with a time of 58:74, followed by Mrowiec in 59:91 and Pavel Holec in 1:00.63. Petr Lisník was a little further back, finishing in 1:04.36.

Kacper Mrowiec got back to winning ways last weekend at the Świdnicki Bieg na Wieżę Ratuszową (Swidnica Run to the Town Hall Tower) in Poland.

It was the seventh edition of the race, which begins with a loop around Swidnica market square (approx. 400m), followed by a sprint up 222 stairs to the top of the town hall tower.

Mrowiec completed the event in 1:57, edging out the 2018 winner Bartłomiej Wojsław who finished in 1:59.

2017 and 2019 champion Mateusz Zalewski (2:05) was kept off the podium by Konrad Dzierżonowski (2:04).

The market square and tower in Swidnica, Poland

In the women’s division, Katarzyna Budziszewska smashed the course record by 10 seconds with her 2:18 finish.

Kamila Chomanicova and Christof Grossegger were winners at the Pyramidenkogel Tower Run in Austria on Friday.

Slovakia’s Chomanicova managed to edge out two-time winner and course record holder Veronika Windisch to hold on for a well-earned victory.

Chomanicova reached the top of the tower in 2:43.11 with Austrian Windisch clocking 2:49.77.

Barbara Bischof (2:53.43) was the only other woman to finish under the three-minute mark.

Chomanicova wins the Pyramidenkogel Tower Run 2020

It was the third edition of the challenging event that sees runners set off up a 180m incline before entering the Pyramidenkogel Tower and scaling its 441 steps.

The win was the second in six days for the fast-improving Chomanicova, following her sprint victory in Levoca the previous Saturday.

The Slovakian star has been chopping away at her times year-on-year at the Pyramidenkogel: 3:02 in 2018, 2:47 in 2019 and 2:43 in 2020.

“I was aiming for the podium, and also wanted to improve my time from last year”, said Chomanicova. “I knew that Veronika wasn’t in the best shape, so that was the chance to do my best and to be the fastest woman.”

Chomanicova has decided to defer her place at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel, so will not compete at the rescheduled event in Paris at the end of the month.

She may next compete at the 218-step Krnovsky Run Up in the Czech Republic next weekend (19 September).

Third time lucky for Grossegger

After finishing second in 2018 and 2019, Christof Grossegger finally took first place at the Pyramidenkogel Tower Run with a commanding run on Friday.

Grossegger clocked a personal best of 2:04.68 to finish a comfortable six seconds ahead of fellow Austrian Alexander Brandner-Egger who completed the course in 2:10.86.

Slovenia’s Matjaz Miklosa took third in 2:14.31, with Pavel Holec (2:16.78) and Kacper Mrowiec (2:17.04) rounding out the top five.

“Pyramidenkogel is always a tough race”, said Grossegger, “because the first approximately 180m are just a normal asphalt street – and you have to hit already really fast – otherwise there’s no chance to gain a good time.

“This is so untypical for a stair race. You don’t have any rhythm from the start.

“The last four levels were just blown up. My legs were completely destroyed.”

Pyramidenkogel Tower Run 2020 results

Kacper Mrowiec and Christof Grossegger will be among the top tower runners racing at the Pryramidenkogel Tower on 11 September.

Back for its third edition, the race at the distinctive 441-stair tower will be the first in Austria since pandemic-related restrictions were eased.

With the winners from the previous events, Tomas Celko (2018) and Jakob Meyer (2019), not racing, the door is open for the Austrian Grossegger to finally take first place.

Grossegger finished second at the event in 2018 and 2019, and is one of only four men to have run the course in under 2:10.

It will be his first race since lockdown restrictions were eased and he has played down his chances of going as fast as his previous two efforts, telling Tower Running UK:

“I didn’t do that much special stair running training this year. After the cancellation of the Eiffel Tower run at the beginning of March, I just did sports for fun. Did a lot of mountain biking – really a lot! I’ve tried to switch back to running the last three weeks

“This year’s edition of Pyramidenkogel for me is just for fun! No special goal – just enjoy racing – and go full speed up.”

Christof Grossegger diving for the finish at the 4Stairs event in Austria in 2019

Among Grossegger’s rivals will be Kacper Mrowiec, who will be making his debut.

The Polish newcomer is heading into the event race ready, having had two sprint races on the stairs in the past three weeks – in Warsaw, Poland and last weekend in Levoca, Slovakia.

He finished fourth in both, so will be eager to get a podium finish under his belt.

Favouring the longer courses, the additional step count plus an uphill pre-run into the tower should suit Mrowiec.

“I’m feeling better than before Leicester in March [Mrowiec took second at LOROS Tower Run],” he told us. “Training looks better, so I’ve got a hope for a high place. This distance will be better for me than my last two tower runs.”

Another Austrian athlete to keep an eye out for is Markus Karlin who took a surprising third place at last year’s event, with a 2:11.08 finish.

Expect Karlin to be firmly back in the mix for an even higher finish this time around.

After 2019’s star-studded competition, the hope was for a similar level of competition this year. Unfortunately, many of the big names on the start list will no longer be racing.

Mrowiec’s compatriot Mateusz Marunowski (4th in 2019) is now not expected to attend, despite being named on the start list. Likewise, the UK’s Laurence Ball has pulled out of the race. Stefan Stefina from Slovakia (5th in 2019) is also unlikely to compete.

Check out this excellent video from last year’s event:

Kamila Chomaničová set a new course record on the stairs of St James’ Basilica in Levoca as she repeated her victory from last year.

The Slovakian clocked 1:05.68 as she ran up 216 stairs to the top of the church tower.

In doing so, Chomaničová took over four seconds off the winning time she set at last year’s inaugural event.

In the men’s division, Marek Šoltés also defended the crown he secured in 2019 with a record-breaking run.

Šoltés set a new fastest time of 53.82, eclipsing his previous best of 55.21.

The Slovakian needed to be quick, as his compatriot Stefan Stefina came within touching distance with a 55.36 finish.

Jozef Gura made it an all-Slovak podium, while Poland’s Kacper Mrowiec was fourth.

Beh na vežu 2020 results

Soh Wai Ching aims to set a new world record in November when he takes on the challenge of achieving the greatest vertical height stair climbing in one hour.

The Asian No 1 from Malaysia will target the record of 1.227 km set by Spain’s David Robles Tapia in 2019.

Wai Ching, who is currently training for the rescheduled La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel in Paris (30 September), is yet to officially announce the building he will make his world record attempt in.

“I’m still looking for an iconic building. I wish to do it in Petronas Twin Towers or Four Seasons Place KL, but I need to inspect the stairs first before officially announcing the building. The barriers are that I need to convince the building owner or the management to allow me to use it as a venue for this Guinness World Record attempt.”

Petronas Twin Towers where Soh Wai Ching hopes to attempt his world record

“Me and my team have met the Four Seasons Place KL General Manager. They agree but they are currently arranging another round of meetings to discuss with property owners, as the building comprises hotels, apartments and shopping malls. Also my friend is helping to connect us with a representative from Petronas Twin Towers.

“Other than that, I’m currently looking at other hotels like WKL Hotel and new residences like Star Residences KLCC and hope to be able to schedule a meet up with the person in charge and convince them to allow me to use the stairs and the lift for just an hour to achieve this GWR.”

Wai Ching hopes to clock 1.3km of vertical ascent during his one-hour climb, in order to claim the record from Robles Tapia.

David Robles Tapia set the one-hour world record in 2019

The 25-year old founding President of Malaysia Towerrunning Association

“I want to inspire sportsmen, sportswomen and youths in Malaysia to chase their dreams. “Dream Big, Believe It, Plan It, Execute It”. Even though we all are fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, there won’t be any competitive races, we can still do something that we believe we can, and do it!

“I strongly believe that one must have a strong desire to pursue their dreams no matter under what circumstances. As long as you’re willing to put in the effort and with good planning, you will be able to achieve it for sure.”

Soh Wai Ching plans to make his Guinness World Record attempt on GWR Day, 18 November 2020.

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