Archive for the ‘Upcoming Events’ Category

Heading into the latter part of 2019 the UK stair racing season is winding down, but there’s still one big event left to sign up to.

The NSPCC Gherkin Challenge has been running for over a decade and remains one of the biggest and best stair climb events in the UK.

Read on to find out all the key info on the NSPCC Gherkin Challenge 2019, including who might be in contention to set a new course record.

The NSPCC Gherkin Challenge

The Gherkin

What is it?

This challenging, charity stair climb event from the NSPCC returns for it’s 11th edition this year, giving runners the chance to climb 1,037 steps to the top of The Gherkin (aka 30 St Mary Axe). Entry is £20, with participants asked to commit to raise £250 sponsorship. Or, you can pay £149 upfront and forget about the fundraising.

Why should I do it?

Firstly, it’s an excellent cause and charity that deserves support. The NSPCC is the UK’s leading children’s charity and runs numerous projects to help safeguard youngsters and prevent abuse.

Secondly, the Gherkin Challenge is the second-biggest stair running event in the UK – after Vertical Rush – which makes for a great atmosphere on the day. The NSPCC have been running this successful event for over a decade now meaning they have a lot of experience about what works and how to put on a fun and exciting event.

Finally, this promises to be a competitive event where some of the best UK tower runners will be looking to break records. If you’re keen to test yourself against some of the top men and women in the country, this is one of the last chances you’ll get to do it in 2019.

Italy’s Fabio Ruga set the men’s course record of 4:07 back in 2009. Could Ruga’s time, or Rich Sirrs’ UK record of 4:23 set in 2015, be under threat?

Competition in the men’s stair races in the UK has really stepped up a level this year, with Mark Howard and Laurence Ball pushing the limits. Either man could well be capable of challenging those times.

The current women’s record of 5:33 is held by British stair running sensation, Sarah Frost. She is anticipated to demolish that time in October, so you could be there to witness history!

It’s definitely not one to be missed.

When is it?

Sunday 27th October 2019 at The Gherkin, 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8EP

How do I sign up?

Gherkin Challenge 2019 registration

Check out our 2019 race calendar for a full list of the remaining stair climbing events in the UK.

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The Great Ormond Street Hospital Walkie Talkie Tower Climb returns on Saturday 2nd March 2019.

Following a successful first event at the building last year, the team are back again to pit runners against the challenge of 36 floors and 828 steps, in a left-turning staircase that is perfect for fast times and will make the ideal practice/warm-up race for anyone who’s signed up for Vertical Rush.

Sign up now, or read on to find out a bit more about the event.

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Competitors will be treated to amazing views from the top and a celebratory drink in the popular Sky Garden, Europe’s highest roof garden. Add to that a technical t-shirt for each runner and a glitzy medal, and you have a brilliant event for a great cause.

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The race finishes in the beautiful Sky Garden, with a panoramic view around London

Last year’s event was won by David Harris in 4:53, while the fastest woman on the day was Sarah Frost in 5:17. A sub 5-minute time for the men and a sub 5:30 for the women will be the key benchmarks for those keen tower runners looking to clock really fast times on the day.

But of course the event is wide open to all, no matter what fitness level. Last year over 250 people took part and GOSH will be hoping to get even more runners than that up the stairs next month.

All the money raised from the event will help fund groundbreaking research, advanced equipment, children and family support services and the rebuilding and refurbishment of wards and medical facilities at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The hospital provides a massive lifeline to sick children and their families. 619 children and young people from across the UK arrive at Great Ormond Street every day. All the doctors, nurses and staff there push themselves every day to provide the best care possible, but they can’t do it alone. Which is where you come in.

All the details and the registration link for the event can be found on the GOSH Walkie Talkie Tower Climb event page. We hope to see lots of you there.

La Verticale de La Tour Eiffel 2019 is just five weeks away and the excitement is building for the biggest race in the European tower running calendar.

The fifth edition of the event, which takes place on the evening of Wednesday 13th March, has a strong line up of some of the best tower runners in the world. In the women’s division, four-time winner Suzy Walsham is back to defend her title. Alongside her in Paris will be 14 others looking to do the impossible and unseat the Australian.

Read on to find out who’s who in the elite women’s division at the 2019 La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel.

The Eiffel Tower stair race has come a long way from its early beginnings in 1905.

MMe Baube

Mme. Baube, winner of the Eiffel Tower stair run in 1906

The latest version of the race began in 2015 and year-on-year it’s packed full of athletic talent from around the world. Just 15 women were selected to compete in the elite race at the 2019 edition. Read on to find out who they are.

La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel winners and course record

2018 – Suzy Walsham (10:02)

2017 – Suzy Walsham (9:34 – course record)

2016 – Suzy Walsham (9:48)

2015 – Suzy Walsham (9:44)

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Suzy Walsham – Australia

Suzy Walsham La Verticale 2018

The 2018 world champion has won every edition of this event since it began in 2015. At the start of the year she recorded her 100th tower running victory, in 12 years of competing on the stairs, and she is expected to make it 101 wins with this race. There are only a few stair runners in the world who can really compete with Walsham when she’s running well and none of them will be in Paris. It will be a big upset if she doesn’t make it five wins in a row.

@suzywalsham

Dominika Wisniewska-Ulfik – Poland

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Wisniewska-Ulfik will be one of Walsham’s closest rivals on the night. The Polish star finished second at La Verticale in 2016 and third in 2018 and has a personal best of 10:32 at the tower. She was ranked fifth in the world at the end of last year, and finished fourth at the World Championships. With multiple wins and podium finishes at towers around the world, she is highly experienced. Beating Walsham will be too tall a task, but expect to see Wisniewska-Ulfik finish in second or third position.

Alice McNamara – Australia

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A two-time world rowing champion and winner of the 2011 Empire State Building Run-Up and 2016 Taipei 101 Run Up (among plenty of other wins), McNamara is a serious force on the stairs. She beat Walsham in that ESBRU victory eight years ago, but hasn’t had much success against her compatriot in recent times. She made her debut at La Verticale last year, finishing fourth in 11:09. She has the potential to finish on the podium, but it will probably be too tough a task given some of the other women in the race.

@_alice_mac

Muhua Jian – China

Muhua Jian

Along with Wisniewska-Ulfik, the Chinese youngster is likely to be Walsham’s biggest competition in Paris. Jian has improved a lot in 2018 alone and has begun to close the gap between her and the top women. In May she was fifth at the World Championships, but by October she was just 14 seconds behind Walsham at the Shanghai IFC. In December she was once again close to the Australian, finishing second to her at the TWA Tour Final at the Shanghai Tower, which earned her third overall in the final Tour standings. Bet the house on her getting somewhere on the podium, but first place might be just out of reach.

Anais Leroy – France

anais leroy

A relative newcomer to the sport of tower running – although a long-time quality runner on the track and in cross country – Leroy has already made an impact. She was fifth in her La Verticale debut last year, with a time of 11:18. She finished off a very successful 2018 with a win at the Lilleurope Tower, so should be coming into the 2019 season with confidence high. A solid shout for another 5th-place finish, if not better.

@anais__leroy

Iwona Wicha – Poland

Iwona Wicha Rondo

The Polish star will be making her La Verticale debut in March. Wicha has loads of international race experience, with wins and podium finishes over the last few years. She finished 7th at the 2018 World Championships, ahead of many of her Paris rivals, so expect to see her well inside the top 10 and likely challenging Anais Leroy for fifth place. Wicha trains with tower running world champion and four-time La Verticale winner Piotr Lobodzinski, who happens to be her husband, so will be able to tap into his extensive knowledge of the course and how best to approach it.

@zyciezpasja

Amandine Bertrand – France

Amandine Bertrand

Another top French athlete who will be flying the flag for the home nation on March 13th. Wins and podium finishes throughout 2018, coupled with a decent showing at the World Championships in Taipei last May, should have Bertrand feeling confident about beating the 12:00 time she set at her La Verticale debut last year, which earned her 7th place.

@amandine.20.bertrand

Vanja Cnops – Belgium

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The Singapore-based Belgian was 8th at the World Championships last year, finishing ahead of some well-established runners, such as Brooke Logan and Christine Soskins, both of whom have competed well at previous La Verticales (Logan 5th in 2016, Soskins 7th in 2017). She has some good track times, too, with sub-17 5km and 35-minute 10km PBs. It bodes well for Cnops and she could well produce a sub 11:40 run in Paris, which should put her in contention for a top six finish at least.

@vanjacnops

Cristina Bonacina – Italy

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Winner of the Towerrunning World Cup in 2011, Bonacina is a highly experienced tower runner with a full spread of wins and podium finishes at venues around the world. She’s well familiar with the Eiffel Tower, too, having raced in the first three editions of La Verticale. If she can get close to her personal best of 11:45 (2015) she’ll be in with an outside shot of entering the top seven, but realistically a top-15 finish is more likely.

@cristina_bonacina

Sarah Frost – Great Britain

sarah frost

The leading UK tower runner at the moment with a host of wins and course records in her home country under her belt, despite a relatively short time in the sport. Already an established force on shorter courses, Frost is making her debut at La Verticale. She’s not massively experienced at this sort of distance, in comparison with her leading rivals in Paris, although she is course record holder at London’s 1,250-step Leadenhall Building and has raced the 2,700-step Valtellina Tube. Expect to see her potentially challenging for 6th, 7th or 8th position, but getting inside the top five will be tough given the strong field of more experienced runners.

@sarahchaneyfrost

Maria Elisa Lopez Pimentel – Mexico

MelisaPML

Winner of the sprint, and second in the vertical mile, at the competitive Dallas Vert Mile event in January, Lopez Pimentel has had a great start to 2019 and is among the strongest women in the lineup for La Verticale. She made her debut at the event last year and finished sixth in 11:50. Impressive performances over the last 12 months, at home and abroad, brought her up to sixth in the final 2018 world rankings. She’ll be keen to push into the La Verticale top five this time around, but she’ll need a massive personal best performance to make it onto the podium.

@melisapml

Laurie Phai – Cambodia

Laurie Phai

A former professional table tennis player with the French national team, Phai transitioned to running in 2013 and has been competing at a decent level since, primarily in trail races. Her 2019 schedule is packed full of events, but La Verticale is the only tower run. She represents Cambodia, the country of her father, at the marathon distance and is hoping to break that country’s national record of 2.59 when she runs at the Berlin marathon in September. Hard to know what to expect from her, but would be surprised by anything much in advance of 10th position.

@lauriephai

Sonja Shakespeare – Great Britain

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Shakespeare debuted at La Verticale last year, finishing 12th in 12:38. She’s picked up a lot of tall tower race experience since then, competing in New York, Shanghai, Moscow, Hong Kong and more, so will be looking to push her time down into the low 12-minute range, which will hopefully be good enough to break into the top ten.

@sonjashakespeare

Laure Chardin – France

Laure Chardin

Chardin hasn’t been tower running for very long, but has had an impressive start to her career on the stairs, making it onto the podium at races around France. She finished in 11th position at La Verticale last year with a time of 12:37.

Kamila Chamanicova – Slovakia

Kamila Chomanicova

The Slovakian athlete finished in 20th position at her La Verticale debut last year with a time of 14:14, and she’ll be looking to finish in under 14 minutes this time around. Having picked up lots of experience at a number of international races in 2018, it should be possible.

The home of English rugby will become the home of stair climbing on Saturday 23rd March as Twickenham opens its gates for the Shooting Star Chase Stadium Challenge.

This is the first time Twickenham has ever hosted an event like this, so it’s a completely unique opportunity to get into one of the most iconic stadiums in the country, a week after the Six Nations has finished, and take on an incredible challenge of climbing up to 7,600 steps, while helping to raise vital funds for Shooting Star Chase.

Read on to find out how you can sign up for this unique stair climbing challenge.

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There have been very few stadium stair climb challenges ever in the UK, so if you want to try something different to a standard tower climb this event is definitely one to sign up for.

Not only do you get to climb in the fresh air at Twickenham, but you’ll get to push yourself to the limit and climb thousands of steps. Far more than you would in any normal tower run.

There are three routes to choose from, with options for all fitness levels:

The Ultra: Tackle 7,600 steps across all three tiers of the stadium. See the route below.

ultra

The Classic: Climb 3,200 steps as you weave your way around the lowest tier of the stadium. See the route below.

classic

The family route: If you want to get involved, and maybe bring younger kids, but don’t fancy climbing all those steps, then you can choose this option which involves two or more laps around the edge of the pitch.

As an added incentive, everyone who hits their fundraising target by 1st March will be entered into a draw to win one of two pairs of tickets to the England V Scotland Six Nations game on Saturday 16th March (5pm kick off).

Find out more details and sign up at www.shootingstarchase.org.uk/stadium-challenge

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What is Shooting Star Chase?

Shooting Star Chase is a children’s hospice charity, which supports life-limited children and their families. They have two hospices, one a few miles from Twickenham in Hampton and the other in Guildford, and also provide over 800 hours of hospice at home care each month.

The charity, which relies on public donations for 90% of its funding, helps by providing respite care, short breaks, family activities and pre and post-bereavement. Whether lives are measured in days, months or years they are there to help families going through the toughest of times.

Sign up now at www.shootingstarchase.org.uk/stadium-challenge

The 2019 UK stair racing season gets under way in February, and spaces at some of the key events are already beginning to fill up.

With big races happening in Manchester, Leicester and London there are opportunities to take part in a stair race in the north, midlands and south of the country.

Here are three of the best UK tower running events we think you should be looking to sign up for in the coming months.

1. The Christie Tower Run
beetham-tower-in-manchester

Beetham Tower has 798 steps and is the 11th tallest tower in the UK.

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. Entry is £15, with participants asked to commit to raise £150 sponsorship.

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, even though we’ve seen more events popping up outside of London year-on-year. Now entering its third edition, this brilliant event is maintaining the presence of stair climbing in the north of England. For those north of the Midlands this is an easily accessible race to try. For stair climbers in the capital, it’s a welcome opportunity to escape London and climb one of the other tallest buildings in the UK.

It’s definitely not one to be missed.

When is it?

Sunday 24th February 2019 at Beetham Tower, 303 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ.

How do I sign up?

The Christie Tower Run registration

2. LOROS Tower Run

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What is it?

A sprint event up the 351-step St George’s Tower in central Leicester.

Why should I do it?

It’s cheap. Just £17 entry with no fundraising commitment, or free entry if you can fundraise £50 or more for LOROS. With most UK races requiring you to raise sponsorship in excess of £100 on top of your entry fee, this friendly and very well-organised event is an absolute bargain.

The 351-step building is one of the the shortest courses in the UK, so is a great introductory climb for those who want to try out stair climbing but are maybe a bit daunted by the challenge of one of the bigger towers.

For more experienced climbers, it’s a rare opportunity to go all out in a sprint and throw off the shackles of pacing that is sometimes so hard to get right during climbs in taller buildings.

It’s seen some really close battles in the last couple of years, and 2019 promises to be just as competitive.

It will also make a great warm-up race for those doing Vertical Rush for Shelter in London on 14th March.

When is it?

Saturday 9th March 2019 at St George’s Tower, 1A St Georges Way, Leicester, LE1 1SH.

How do I sign up?

LOROS Tower Run registration

3. The Broadgate Tower Run Up

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What is it?

A challenging stair climb up the 877-step Broadgate Tower in the City of London.

Why should I do it?

It’s hard to get into one of the big London towers for a race without committing to fundraising a sizeable minimum amount of money for a charity. But this event is largely focused on tower running as a sporting challenge, meaning you can just pay to race without having to raise any money. Although the opportunity to run for a chosen charity will be available for those who want to do that.

It attracts a deep field of experienced stair runners, so if you’re up for a challenge you’ll have the chance to pit yourself against some of the best in the UK and Europe. But there’ll be plenty of newcomers at this welcoming event, too, making it an excellent choice if you’re keen to try a stair climb for the first time.

In addition to the traditional single-climb event, there will also be the option of doing a 1/4 Vertical Mile or a Full Vertical Mile, which involve multiple climbs up the building’s 877 steps.

Broadgate Tower is one of the big London towers and is a great venue to climb.

When is it?

Saturday 20th July 2019 at Broadgate Tower, 201 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3AB.

How do I sign up?

Registration isn’t open just yet, but you can register interest and get more event details on the Total Motion Events website.

 

For a full list of upcoming stair races in the UK check out our regularly updated 2019 race calendar.

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 Wednesday 23rd January 2019.

Registration is currently due to close on Sunday February 24th at 11:59 p.m. ET.

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.

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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, 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