Archive for the ‘Upcoming Events’ Category

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 and 1906.

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

Landed here but looking for UK stair climb events for 2020? Check out our latest article instead.

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
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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 tower running race calendar.

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

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.

‘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.

*Update Oct, 2019 – this event has now finished

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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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