Almas Tower Vertical Run 2020

World number ones Suzy Walsham and Piotr Lobodzinski will kick off their 2020 tower running seasons on Saturday (Feb.1) at the 1,600-step Almas Tower in Dubai.

Poland’s Lobodzinski will have to see off the challenge from world number two Soh Wai Ching (MYS) and Emanuele Manzi (ITA) if he is to secure his fifth win in a row at the 7th tallest tower in Dubai.

Walsham (AUS), who set the course record of 9:21 at the tower last year, will be challenged by the 2018 winner, and former record holder, Valentina Belotti (ITA).

It’s an exciting clash so early on in the season and will give a good insight into how the athletes have fared with their training in the small off-season since they last met in November at the Towerrunning Tour Final at Shanghai Tower.

At that race, Belotti secured her second win over Walsham in 2019, following her record-setting victory at Ostankino Tower, Moscow, in August. Walsham will be keen to get back to winning ways over the Italian, before the pair clash again at the Eiffel Tower in March.

On the line in Dubai will be around £2,000 for the fastest man and the fastest woman.

Dream Team assembled in new relay category

almas-tower-vertical-run

New for 2020 at the Vertical Run Almas Tower is a four person relay race, with each runner taking on 16 floors of the 64-floor tower.

Suzy Walsham, Valentina Belotti, Emanuele Manzi and Soh Wai Ching will combine forces to try and win the £1,000 prize.

Will any foursome in Dubai be able to get close to that tower running Dream Team?

Scale the Strat winners

2009 Zach Schade (USA) 7:33  Courtney Swenson (USA) 9:53 – results  – news video of the event
2010 Javier Santiago (MEX) 7:26  Courtney Swenson (USA) 9:59
2011 Kevin Crossman (USA) 7:26  Erica Schramm (USA) 8:58 – resultsALA event videoXgym video (footage of all top finishers)
2012 Kevin Crossman (USA) 7:05  Kourtney Dexter (USA) 8:33 – results
2013 Sproule Love (USA) 7:16  Erika Aklufi (USA) 8:16* – results
2014 Gorge Heimann (GER) 7:19  Erika Aklufi (USA) 8:21 – resultsevent video
2015 Sproule Love (USA) 7:22  Stephanie Hucko (AUS/USA) 8:52 – results
2016 Sproule Love (USA) 7:22  Stephanie Hucko (AUS/USA) 8:48 – results
2017 Shaun Stephens-Whale (CAN) 7:03  Cindy Harris (USA) 8:30 – results
2018 Josh Duncan (USA) 8:10  Cindy Harris (USA) 8:42 – results
2019 Alexis Trujillo (MEX) 7:13  Cindy Harris (USA) 8:39 – results
2020 Alexis Trujillo (MEX) 6:46*  Cindy Harris (USA) 8:35 – results

* course record

Find out all the winners from other events around the world in our historical tower running results database.

For years Australian tower runners have been among the very best in the world, winning multiple titles and setting untouchable records.

The performance of Aussie athletes at the Empire State Building Run-Up is particularly impressive. From Geoff Case and Belinda Soszyn in the 1990s to Paul Crake and Suzy Walsham throughout the 2000s.

To celebrate the national day (26th January) of the home of these incredible tower runners we’ve put together a video of all the winning Australian athletes at the ESBRU from Craig Logan in 1988 to Suzy Walsham in 2019.

Sarah Frost towerrunning

Sarah Frost has revealed she will miss the first two races of the UK tower running season as she recovers from a foot injury.

The UK number one sustained the injury to her right foot, consisting of bone bruising, plus ligament and nerve damage, while doing rehabilitation exercises for a long-standing knee issue.

It means Frost will be unable to go for three wins in a row at the Walkie Talkie Building on 29 February. Last year she became the first woman to run sub five-minutes at the tower in London.

Likewise she will miss the race at the Leadenhall Building scheduled for the same day. She set the Leadenhall course record of 8:03 in 2018.

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Today I went to work without crutches, something I didn’t think I’d be doing for a while. All support is off, and I can weight bear. I have damaged my foot, from a circuit with specific rehab exercises for my dodgy knee. Being well and truly pissed off doesn’t quite cover it. I didn’t want to talk about it until I knew it was on the mend. It’s healing quicker than expected which is great, but it has completely upset my cross training and S&C schedule to get me back to being pain free from my knee injury. My fitness is currently going downhill – a perfect start to the 2020 season. I’m sick of the ‘cheer up/you're improving, that’s great!’ comments – I know they are meant in a supportive manner but it’s hard to feel positive sometimes, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s easy from an outside perspective to see it as a simple process to get back to where you were, but injuries are personal – no one else understands how they impact you. For me, this has taken me back to when I truly messed up this same foot, and spent months wondering whether I would ever be able to walk again pain free, let alone run. It’s been up and down ever since – last year I managed to run about 300 miles total for the whole year (pathetic right?) and now I’m back at square one. I’ve been contenting myself with towerrunning for the last 3 years because I can’t consistently run like I want to, so it has been a welcome distraction – honestly I don’t know what I would have done without it. So I switched all my training motivation and goals to stair races, which worked brilliantly, but even with this my body can’t consistently cope with the (cross) training demands. I know injuries are a common part of sport and people have to suck it up and deal with them, but I’m struggling as I have done this for what feels like too long. It seems unfair, but maybe I have been asking too much, and I should remain content with seeing anything as a bonus after my initial foot injury. I don’t know where I keep going wrong, but I know I’ll keep trying 🤞🏼 I’m posting this because reading woeful tales of other people’s injuries used to help me cope, so maybe someone else can relate 😌

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Frost has her eyes on March for a return to racing. She was the only UK athlete selected in the elite division for La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel so is hoping to be ready for the event in Paris on 11 March.

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Ryoji Watanabe towerrunning

Ryoji Watanabe kicked off his 2020 tower running campaign with a win at the Building Climb Cup race in Niigata, Japan.

Held at the Next21 building, the event consisted of three qualifying runs up 19 floors, with the top-ten fastest men and women (cumulative total time) advancing to the final.

The final involved two runs to the 19th floor, with the athlete with the fastest cumulative time declared the winner.

Next21 Niigata tower run

Next21 in Niigata, Japan

Watanabe (JPN), who finished third in the Vertical World Circuit last year, dominated the whole event. He laid down a marker in the qualifiers, running the fastest time in each of the three rounds (2:26, 2:23 and 2:28).

He then stepped it up considerably for the tightly contested final. He ran 2:09 in the first round, marginally faster than second-placed Shota Nakamata (2:10) and Hayato Matino in third (2:11).

Ryoji Watanabe towerrun

Ryoji Watanabe in action at Next21

But Watanabe, who won the race last year, showed his caliber in the final run to secure victory. He finished in 2:06, some way ahead of Nakamata (2:12) and Daiichi Ishikubo (2:13).

In the women’s division, Mie Takahashi finished on top clocking a consistent 2:53 in both of her runs in the final.

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Mie Takahashi on her way to victory

Takaaki Koyama wins single climb event

Takaaki Koyama clocked a super-fast 2:04 to win the Short event. Eighth in the Vertical World Circuit rankings last year, the Japanese athlete is a rising star on the tower running circuit.

Takaaki Koyama

Takaaki Koyama begins one of his climbs

He held off Watanabe, who clocked 2:08, to secure victory in the single sprint event.

Fastest woman in the Short race was Yumi Uchiyama who finished in 3:16.

All the results from the race at Next21 can be found here.

There are also excellent photos from the event available here.

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bop to the top

Teenager Vincent Mann was victorious at the 37th Bop to the Top in Indianapolis on Saturday (Jan.18).

The local high-school cross country runner clocked a huge PB as he reached the top of OneAmerica Tower’s 780-step course in 4:27 to win the single climb at the long-running event.

He was followed by Luke Brahm in 4:40 and Mike Minichello in 4:41.2.

Mann’s winning time was 18 seconds faster than his debut race at the venue last year, where his 4:45 finish earned him sixth place overall.

It’s an impressive improvement from the youngster and follows on from his fourth-place finish at the Fight for Air Climb in Indianapolis back in March 2019.

Hopefully Mann will return to action at the Indianapolis Fight for Air Climb on March 7 in a bid to secure a second win of the season.

Harris extends incredible record of wins

Cindy Harris recorded her 25th victory in the women’s division at the Bop to the Top as she finished in 4:41.4, narrowly missing out on third spot overall.

The Indianapolis native first won the event in 1995, and apart from a second-place finish in 2016 has won every edition since.

It’s an incredible record for the evergreen Harris who is also a four-time winner of the Empire State Building Run-Up.

She was trailed in the single climb event on Saturday by Jill Paha in 5:19 and Raquel Faires in 5:21.

Harris also claimed second overall in the Triple Climb, completing her three runs in 15:07, with splits of 5:01, 5:02 and 5:04. Josh Duncan was first with a 15:03 total (4:59, 5:01 and 5:03 splits)

Full single climb results

Full triple climb results

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Suzy Walsham Empire State Building Run Up

For the first time since 2010 Suzy Walsham will not attend the Empire State Building Run-Up.

The Australian star, who has remained unbeaten at the ESBRU since 2013, has decided not to compete at the race in May.

It’s somewhat of a surprise announcement from the athlete whose name has become synonymous with the iconic New York race. Since her debut in 2007, Walsham has gone on to become the winningest athlete ever at the venue, taking victory a record 10 times.

But her decision not to compete this year does not come as a complete shock given the close proximity of the Empire State Building Run-Up (Tuesday, May 12) to the Towerrunning World Championships at Taipei 101 in Taiwan (Saturday, May 9).

2007 Walsham wins

Suzy Walsham won on her ESBRU debut back in 2007

The absence of the 2018 world champion and reigning world number one opens the door for a new name, or a familiar one, to enter the ESBRU record books.

Walsham’s closest rivals in recent years have been four-time champion Cindy Moll-Harris (USA) and Laura Manninen (FIN).

With those two also likely to be at the World Championships in Taiwan the weekend before the ESBRU, it is perhaps unlikely they will make the long journey to New York in time for the race.

If that’s the case, it leaves the door open for a completely new name to step in and take the crown. Stephanie Hucko, Shari Klarfeld and Meg Santana, who have all finished on the podium in recent years, will likely be in the mix for top spot on Tuesday, May 12.

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