Archive for the ‘Upcoming Events’ 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.

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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 about the first ever ESBRU in 1978.

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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.

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.

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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

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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.

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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

La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel is one of the most prestigious stair running events in the world and in 2019 it returns for its fifth edition.

With just 130 entry spots up for grabs, with 40 of those set aside for elite athletes, competition just to take part is fierce. But the Eiffel Tower stair race is one of the best in the world and a joy to take part in. So if you’re free in March and want a challenge it’s well worth applying.

Read on to find out when the race is and how to enter.

When is the Eiffel Tower stair race 2019?

The fifth edition of La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel will take place on Wednesday 13th March 2019 at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

The event will start at 8pm (local time) with amateur runners setting off first at around 8.15pm. The first athletes in the elite wave will likely set off around 9pm.

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How to enter La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel?

The pre-registration process is now open at verticaltoureiffel.fr where you should find answers to all your questions.

80 places are available for amateur athletes who will be selected via a lottery.

  • In order to be considered for the lottery you have to fulfill some pre-selection criteria, such as proof of participation in a stair race over 700 steps, or completion of a 10km road race in under 50 minutes, within the past two years.

40 places are set aside for elite athletes from stair racing, trail running and road racing, selected by a panel of judges.

  • When you pre-register you are asked to select elite or amateur entry. A panel of judges will select 40 elite runners from those who’ve applied. Those who aren’t selected will go into the lottery for amateur spots.

10 people will be selected by the event organisers as wildcards.

  • In order to be considered for one of these wildcard spots you’ll have to submit a letter explaining why you should get one. Historically they’re reserved for event partners, celebrities, disabled athletes or people who’ve overcome the odds to make it to the event. Even if you don’t think your ‘story’ is compelling enough, it’s still worth submitting a letter anyway, in case you don’t get picked in the lottery. You never know.

It costs €10 to register and if you’re selected you’ll then have to pay an additional €50 to secure your place. You’ll also need to make sure you provide a signed medical certificate to clear you to participate.

Pre-registration closes at 11.59pm on 11 December 2018.

What is the Eiffel Tower stair race?
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Four-time winner Piotr Lobodzinski

The Eiffel Tower is the historical home of tower running. The first recorded tower race in the world took place there in 1905 and another event was held again in 1906.

But stair climbing didn’t return to the tower again until 2015, when the first edition of La Verticale took place.

The modern race involves a climb up 1,665 steps to the third platform of the Eiffel Tower; considerably more than the earliest editions that covered around 730 steps to just the second platform.

The race has had only two winners. Suzy Walsham and Piotr Lobodzinski have both won the event four times in a row. They’ll be back in March to see if they can make it five on the trot.

Sign up now to be in with a chance of joining them.

You might also be interested in finding out when the Empire State Building Run Up 2019 is taking place.

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.

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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.

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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.

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In less than 48 hours time the 2018 tower running world champion will be crowned. Who will it be?

2015 world champion and current world number one Piotr ‘Showtime’ Lobodzinski is the understandable pre-race favourite. In March, the Polish star took victory at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel, holding off the challenge from most of the same top-level rivals he’ll face in Taipei on Saturday. In fact, Lobodzinski finished a fairly comfortable 15 seconds ahead of second place Christian Riedl in Paris.

The best in the world have been fairly quiet since that talent-stacked race in March. Jakob Mayer, Frank Carreno and Tomas Celko were in Valtellina last month taking on the 2,700-step course there, but Riedl, Bourne and Lobodzinski have kept a fairly low profile as they prepared for this weekend’s championship.

Based solely on recent form, and specifically the result from Paris, picking Lobodzinski to retain his world title appears to be the smart bet. The Pole seems to be in almost unbeatable form.

But taking a look at results going back the last few years, it starts to look a lot less straightforward.

Who can beat Lobodzinski?

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The World Championship format consists of two races. Race one is up 824 steps of Taipei 101 and race two, 90 minutes later, will be a full run of the tower up 91 floors/2,046 steps. Points will be assigned to the top 50 and the person with the most combined points after the two races will be world champion. If points are tied after the two rounds, highest finishing position in race two will determine the overall winner.

With the most prestigious races on the tower running circuit happening at towers with more than 1,500 steps it’s not so easy to find shorter events where the world’s elite have gone head-to-head. But there have been some races that give an indication of how the top male stair climbers fare against each other in shorter races.

The Rondo 1 event in Warsaw, Poland is run over 836-steps/38 floors; very close to the distance of race one at the World Championship. Back in February, Lobodzinski took a fairly comfortable win there, finishing 11 seconds ahead of Germany’s Christian ‘The Eclipse’ Riedl.

But go a bit further back to the Grand Prix of Europe races in Vienna and Brno in September 2017 and Showtime looks a lot more mortal over the shorter distance.

At the 779-step Danube Tower in Vienna, Lobodzinski beat ‘The Zilina Avalanche’ Tomas Celko by just one second. The following day in Brno, Czech Republic, at the 700-step AZ Tower, it was Celko who came out on top, finishing three seconds ahead of Showtime.

Mark Bourne tends not to compete at shorter distances, purely because the towers with races in Australia and Asia are massive. Estimating how he might do over 824 steps is an all-important unknown.

But Lobodzinski can be taken on the short course. Celko and Riedl will be pushing him hard for sure, and he is in no way guaranteed maximum points in that first race. On the long course, his dominance is a bit more established and he is very rarely beaten. But Bourne can beat him over that distance and he has done it several times before.

Bourne vs Lobodzinski: a recent history

These two have clashed multiple times, and the Australian has probably beaten Lobodzinski in the mega-towers more times than any other stair climber on the circuit has managed to do (to be fair, very few have).

In April 2017 the pair faced off at the 1st Lotte World Tower Skyrun in Seoul, Korea. The race at the fifth tallest building in the world goes up 2,917 steps. Bourne kept Lobodzinski in second place there, finishing 14 seconds ahead of him.

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Mark Bourne wins the Lotte World Tower Sky Run 2017

Then in October 2017, Bourne took victory ahead of Showtime when they raced at Two Shanghai IFC in China. That was over 1,958 steps and Bourne won by nine seconds.

Three weeks later they met again at the 1,621-step Harukas Tower in Osaka, Japan, and Lobodzinski exacted revenge on ‘The Canberra Assassin’, finishing 13 seconds ahead.

Two weeks after that, it was Lobodzinski again who took the spoils, this time at the mammoth 3,398-stair Shanghai Tower, the second-tallest building in the world. Bourne was pushed back into third by Christian Riedl.

La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel in March was the last time the pair met. Lobodzinski made it four wins in a row at the iconic Parisian landmark, while Bourne finished in fourth.

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Lobodzinski on his way to winning La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel 2018

So, despite Lobodzinski having the upper hand in their last three races, Bourne has shown on multiple occasions that he is more than a match. He has the ability to win the full-length race on Saturday.

How do they compare at Taipei 101?

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If we go back a little further and compare the two at Taipei 101, we add another potentially significant element to the discussion.

In 2013 Bourne beat Lobodzinski by 20 seconds on his way to setting the third fastest time ever clocked at the tower. Riedl was third.

In 2014, the podium looked exactly the same. This time, though, Lobodzinski had significantly narrowed the gap and was only four seconds behind Bourne.

Bourne was missing from the race in 2015, and Lobodzinski took his first and only win at the venue.

Neither man was there in 2016, and Bourne returned last year to take victory, with Lobodzinski absent.

So, between the two, Bourne has the fastest time at the World Championship venue and the most recent win. This is sure to give him the confidence to look beyond the most recent results between them at other towers.

If Bourne can stay within touching distance of Showtime in the shorter distance race, i.e. no more than one place behind him, then he will put himself in genuine contention for seriously competing for the title in the final race on Saturday morning.

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Italian mountain running legend Valentina Belotti will attempt to add a tower running world championship title to her long list of achievements when she races at Taipei 101 on Saturday.

The in-form Belotti returns to the venue where she won from 2011-2014, with the hopes of mounting a challenge against race favourite Suzy Walsham.

A four-time medallist at the World Mountain Running Championships (one gold and three silver), Belotti’s participation in tower running events has been sporadic in the last four years.

But she returned to winning ways this past weekend, taking victory at the second edition of the 535 in Condotta event in Moio de’ Calvi, Italy.

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Belotti on her way to victory at 535 in Condotta (photo by Demis Milesi)

 

The course is very similar to that at the popular Valtellina Tube event and consists of a continuous staircase, 1.25km long, 2,527 steps straight up, with a 535m height gain.

Belotti finished the race in 20.53, ahead of Nives Carobbio (22.30) and Cecilia Pedroni (22.44).

The course at Moio de’ Calvi has very deep steps and an almost 80% incline at its maximum point, plus a 75% incline for the final 400m. That’s perfect preparation for the notoriously tall steps at Taipei 101.

Belotti is one of only two women to have run Taipei 101 in under 13 minutes. She set her fastest time of 12.54 back in 2013, although she hasn’t competed at the venue since she won in 2014.

But despite her absence from the competitive tower running scene in recent seasons, this performance on a particularly demanding course, plus her extensive experience in Taipei, puts her firmly in the mix for any discussion about who might come out on top at Saturday’s World Championship.

Even with reigning world champion Andrea Mayr out of the championship through injury, it will definitely not be plain sailing for Suzy Walsham. The Australian world number one will have to be at her very best to hold off strong challenges from Belotti, the Czech Republic’s Zuzana Krchova and American Cindy Harris.

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The tower running World Championship 2018 is almost here. On Saturday 5th May, the world’s best tower runners will do battle on the stairs of Taipei 101 to decide who will be crowned world champion.

We take a look at the venue, the course records, previous winners and the World Championship race format to keep you in the know ahead of Saturday’s big event.

The venue

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Formerly the world’s tallest building, Taipei 101 stands just over 509m tall. With the completion of the Burj Khalifa in 2010 it was knocked to second tallest building in the world, and in the years since then it has been eclipsed by eight other super towers. It’s worth having a read of the Wikipedia entry for Taipei 101, as it’s a very interesting building from an architectural and engineering standpoint and has also been internationally recognised for its ‘green’ credentials and sustainability efforts over the years. It’s a really prestigious venue for the World Championship.

The race stairwell is right-turning and has 2,046 steps, spread over 91 floors (of the building’s eponymous 101). The bulk of the steps at the building are notoriously tall. Somewhat uniquely, the landings include two additional steps between flights; so you reach the top of one flight, pivot 90°, take a step up, pivot again 90° and go up the next flight. That unfamiliar step layout is sure to throw a few racers out of their rhythm on race day and previous race experience in the tower will likely be a factor in the final standings.

Australia’s Alice McNamara won the Taipei 101 Run Up in 2016 and spoke about her experience there:

‘Taipei 101 has the challenge of a very steep, continuous staircase…there are no landings, just a 10-2-7-2 stair configuration all the way up. It is almost like climbing a steep spiral staircase on the 2 stair “landings” so it was very important to use the handrail on my right hand side to partially pull myself up.’

American stair climb legend, Kristin Renshaw (nee Frey), detailed her experience of the race in 2012 where she finished third, and the stairs sound pretty imposing when you read her description:

‘When I hit the monster steps, I knew it! They were exponentially larger than the ones we started climbing [on the lower floors of Taipei 101]; these steps were taller than any I’d ever encountered. I thought the steps in my training building were of decent size, especially the last two floors where they get taller and steeper, and Sears is known for having some giant steps, but those paled in comparison to the steps in the 101 tower.’

Course records

Taipei 101 got straight onto stair climb events when it opened, hosting its first race on Sunday 20th November 2005, less than a year after officially opening to the public.

The current men’s and women’s course records were set that day in 2005 and no one has come particularly close to beating them in the intervening years.

Former competitive cyclist Paul Crake (AUS) set the men’s record of 10.29. There’s an excellent interview with him on YouTube, which we highly recommend, where he talks about his life before and after the accident that left him paralysed.

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Australian Paul Crake setting the course record in 2005 at the inaugural Taipei 101 Run Up

It’s important to put Crake’s record time at Taipei 101 into context for those perhaps unfamiliar with his tower running accomplishments. In 2015 world number one Piotr Lobodzinski won at Taipei in 11.08 and in 2016, current world number two, Frank Carreno won the race in 11.47.

Australia’s Mark Bourne (current world number five and last year’s winner) has come closest to Crake, taking victory in 2013 in a time of 10.52 and in 2014 in 10.54. Former world number one, and seven time ESBRU winner, Thomas Dold (GER) managed to finish in 10.58 at the 2008 event, while Piotr Lobodzinski also managed a sub-11 time of 10.58 in 2014, when finishing second behind Bourne.

Impressive as they are, those sub-11 times are still quite some way off the incredible record set by Crake.

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Course record holder Paul Crake (left) received a lifetime achievement award at the Taipei 101 Run Up 2017

Reigning world champion Andrea Mayr, who sadly is out of this year’s event, set the women’s record of 12.38. In a similar way to Crake, Mayr’s time has remained largely unrivalled since 2005, and she is one of only two women to have gone under 13 minutes in the event’s history.

Mayr also clocked 12.54 in 2007, while Italian Valentina Belotti managed 12.54 on her way to winning in 2013.

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Andrea Mayr sets the women’s course record of 12.38 in 2005.

Taipei 101 Run Up winners: 2005-2017
  • 2005  Paul Crake (AUS) 10.29 and Andrea Mayr (AUT) 12.38
  • 2006 – Paul Crake (AUS) 10.31 and Andrea Mayr (AUT) 13.28
  • 2007  Marco De Gasperi (ITA) 11.39 and Andrea Mayr (AUT) 12.54
  • 2008  Thomas Dold (GER) 10.53 and Jenny Hsiao-yu Li (TWN) 14.53
  • 2009 – Thomas Dold (GER) 11.05 and Suzy Walsham (AUS) 14.20
  • 2010 – Marco De Gasperi (ITA) 11.09 and Melissa Moon (NZL) 14.16
  • 2011 – Thomas Dold (GER) 11.19 and Valentina Belotti (ITA) 13.51
  • 2012 – Mark Bourne (AUS) 11.26 and Valentina Belotti (ITA) 13.21
  • 2013 – Mark Bourne (AUS) 10.52 and Valentina Belotti (ITA) 12.54
  • 2014 – Mark Bourne (AUS) 10.54 and Valentina Belotti (ITA) 13.22
  • 2015 – Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) 11.08 and Suzy Walsham (AUS) 13.16
  • 2016 – Frank Carreño (COL) 11.47 and Alice McNamara (AUS) 14.23
  • 2017 – Mark Bourne (AUS) 11.24 and Suzy Walsham (AUS) 13.36
Race format

The World Championship event will be played out over two races, with the climber scoring the most points from the two races combined becoming the 2018 world champion.

The first heat will be a shorter race up to the 35th floor (824 steps). That will start at 7.30am local time (12.30am UK time), with runners being set off every 30 seconds. All TWA registered stair climbers in attendance will take part. Points will be assigned to the top 50 finishers in the male and female categories.

The final will start at 8.30am local time, and will be a full run up 2,046 steps to the the top of the tower. Again, runners will be set off at 30-second intervals and points will be assigned to the top 50 finishers in the male and female categories.

This new race format is a marked shift from the 2015 World Championship. At that event in Doha, Qatar the final was limited to the top 30 finishers in the male and female divisions in the first heat, which unlike this event was open to all. What’s more, finishing positions in the second heat that year determined start positions on an F1-style grid format in the final the following day.

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Piotr Lobodzinski takes off from pole position on the grid at the 2015 tower running World Championship in Doha, Qatar

The grid was set 150m back from the tower entrance and athletes had to run in to the stairwell. This allowed for a few position changes before the athletes even hit the stairs, which didn’t sit well with some.

Obviously, logistics mean that the event at Taipei 101 needs to be done and dusted on the Saturday, but the very limited recovery period (90 minutes) between the first round and final seems unduly harsh on the competitors. The short recovery period is certainly going to unstick some of them, and make their second climb unpleasant. It would be fairer to have the final at the very end of the day’s events, after all the non-elite and corporate teams have finished.

The removal of a pre-run into the tower is welcomed, though. As purists, we think all races should start as close to the stairs as possible.

We won’t get into a full discussion of what we consider all the pros and cons of the differing race formats, but we do think there should be a move towards uniformity at future championships, where possible. But of course the World Championship is very much in its infancy and some experimentation with the format is to be expected at this stage.

The World Championship was initially scheduled for 2017 in China, with the plan for the tower running World Championship to follow the biennial pattern of its track and field cousin. Last year’s very late cancellation was a bitter disappointment for fans, but the Taipei 101 race is sure to be an excellent one and we are super hyped for this exciting event.

Will Showtime Lobodzinski retain his world title or can Mark Bourne take victory for a record fifth time at Taipei 101? With reigning world champion Andrea Mayr out of the event, is there anyone left to pose a significant challenge to the almost invincible Suzy Walsham?

Keep an eye out later this week for our guide to the top athletes taking part in the 2018 tower running World Championship.

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