tower-42-shelter-vertigo-challenge-2016

Update: within an hour of publishing this article, the 2020 edition of Vertical Rush was cancelled. Read more on the cancellation here.

Malaysia’s Soh Wai Ching will be back in London on Thursday to defend the Vertical Rush title he won last year.

Soh won the 932-step race at Tower 42 in March, 2019, in a time of 4:17. In doing so he became the fourth fastest person to ever race the tower, with only Thomas Dold (3:58), Piotr Lobodzinski (3:59) and Fabio Ruga (4:11) having run faster in the 11 editions of the UK’s biggest stair race.

The world number two has made massive improvements in the past 12 months and established himself as a legitimate contender to world champion Piotr Lobodzinski with a win over the Pole in Dubai in February.

Soh Wai-Ching Vertical Rush 2019

Soh Wai Ching was the winner of Vertical Rush 2019

Coming off the back of a record-breaking run at the Sibu Tower Run, Soh had been scheduled to race at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel in Paris on Wednesday. But following the postponement of that race he will now race in London on completely fresh legs.

As such, he is expected to run even faster at Vertical Rush this year and could well eclipse the time of Italy’s Fabio Ruga. The 3:58 course record certainly isn’t out of reach, either, and it would be no big surprise to see the young Malaysian get very close to it.

Soh’s closest British competition on Thursday is likely to be newcomer Laurence Ball, the rising star of UK tower running. He will be expected to take a huge amount of time off the 4:49 he clocked on his Vertical Rush debut last year, which earned him fourth spot. It’s Ball’s first stair race of the year, so it will good to see what form he is in.

Laurence Ball tower running

Laurence Ball

Unfortunately, Mark Howard (3rd last year) will not be racing, so fans will have to wait for the next installment in the ongoing Ball vs Howard rivalry.

Another relative newcomer to the sport who’s also anticipated to be in the mix for the podium is Poland’s Kacper Mrowiec.

He already has a 2020 win under his belt, having taken victory at 29-floor Ideal-Hochhaus in Berlin back in January.

View this post on Instagram

Czasem tak sobie rozmyślam, że moje zamiłowanie do ekstremalnego wysiłku jest wręcz niepokojące. I to nie tylko na schodach – wszędzie tam, gdzie może się do swego HR maxa zbliżyć, sprawia mi uśmiech Chelsea. Wystarczy myśl o samym mocnym planowanym treningu i micha się cieszy. Albo zawody: jeśli gdzieś na zdjęciach zobaczycie mnie z uśmiechem na twarzy, to bardziej prawdopodobne będzie, iż przeszedłem już fazę grymasu i mam załączony tryb pełnej walki, a nie lecę bo lubię i lajcik. Cokolwiek jest powodem Waszego uśmiechu, róbcie to i nie przestawajcie! 😀 #polishboy #towerrunning #towerrunner #runner #run #bieg #bieganie #biegacz #biegambolubie #garmin #asics #adidas #royalbay #kalenji #winter #train #training #ambasadorzyfb #verticalrush #lorostowerrun #uk #greatbritain #leicester #london #compressport #adrunaline

A post shared by Kacper Mrowiec (@kmtowerrunner) on

Mrowiec is not long back from a winter training camp in Spain, and since his return to Poland he’s been training on the stairs alongside world number one tower runner Piotr Lobodzinski.

Like Ball, Mrowiec is a little over a year into his tower running career and beating the more experienced Soh might be just out of reach right now. But expect a very close battle for the remaining spots on the podium.

You might also be interested in:

La Verticale postponed

Growing concerns surrounding the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) have forced the organisers of La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel to postpone the race, which was scheduled for this coming Wednesday, March. 11.

The announcement follows a decree by the French Ministry of Health last night banning meetings of more than 1,000 people. Following this new policy, the team at the Eiffel Tower itself made the decision to postpone the event.

The race organisers, Ecotrail Paris, sent a message this morning to participants stating:

“Please be aware that after the information received this morning from the Eiffel Tower authorities, we regret to inform you that the 6th edition of La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel will not be able to take place this Wednesday, March 11th.

Like you, we are saddened by this decision, but you should know that we are fully mobilised to find a postponement solution, which we hope to communicate to you as soon as possible.”

A new race date of Wednesday 30th September 2020 has now been announced.

La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel is the second major tower running event to be postponed so far this year following the announcement last week that the Taipei 101 Run Up, which was to host the 2020 Towerrunning World Championship, was off.

The postponement is a massive disappointment for the athletes who had traveled from Mexico, USA, Malaysia, Singapore and beyond to take part, some of whom will be touching down in Paris unaware of the announcement.

Whether you go back to Sheila Duncan running as the only woman in the 1968 BT Tower race in London or admire the incredible ongoing career of Cindy Harris, women have been at the heart of competitive tower running since the sport’s very beginning.

Women’s tower running has come a long way since the earliest stair races at the start of the 1900s.

1903 and 1905

On the left is the unnamed winner of the women’s division at the Montmartre stair race in 1903. On the right is Mme. Baube, winner of the 1906 Eiffel Tower stair race.

This International Women’s Day we take a quick look at just a handful of some of the brilliant women who have played a key role in the sport.

Marcy Schwam

First ESBRU

Schwam (above wearing #11) was already an ultra-running pioneer before she turned up at the first Empire State Building Run-Up in 1978. Only three women took part in the inaugural event. She was the first woman to reach the top and although she never returned to race on the stairs again, she has the honour of being the first woman to win a stair race in the USA.

After the first ESBRU, Schwam went on to set multiple long distance records and is still running now.

Nina Kuscsik

kuscsik 1980

Like Schwam, Nina Kuscsik was also a pioneer of women’s participation in running events. She campaigned for equal participation for women at the marathon distance and in 1972 she won the New York and Boston marathons.

Kuscsik went on to to win three ESBRU titles from 1979-1981. She would return to the tower multiple times, racing well into her 70s.

2009 Nina Kuscsik

You can read more about Kuscsik in her NYRR Hall of Fame entry

Cindy Harris

Cindy Harris tower running

The incredible tower running career of the 2020 USA stairclimbing champion Cindy Harris is one of our favourite parts of the ongoing story of this sport.

Harris has been winning races, sometimes outright ahead of all competing men as well, at the top level for 25 years.

1998 purcell and moll

Cindy Harris after winning her first ESBRU title in 1998

In 2003, she became the first woman to secure four wins at the Empire State Building Run-Up. She has also amassed an unbelievable 25 wins at the Bop to the Top race in her hometown of Indianapolis, with the most recent victory coming at the start of the year.

Andrea Mayr

2006 Mayr wins

Three-time winner and course record holder at the ESBRU, six-time world mountain running champion and two-time Olympian, Andrea Mayr is one of the best athletes to have ever competed in the discipline of tower running.

The Austrian doctor has dipped in and out of the scene since the early 2000s, but she has left her mark with a series of stunning performances over the years, including a record-breaking run at Taipei 101 in 2005 and victory at the Towerrunning World Championship in 2015.

Andrea Mayr 2015 Towerrunning World Championship

Andrea Mayr winning the 2015 Towerrunning World Championship

You can read more about her in our article, Where is Andrea Mayr? On the trail of one of the world’s greatest athletes.

Suzy Walsham

Suzy Walsham la vertical de la tour eiffel

The name Suzy Walsham is now synonymous with tower running. In a glittering 14 year career that shows no sign of letting up, the Australian superstar has won everything there is to win.

The 2018 world championship and 10 ESBRU titles are perhaps the most prominent among her multitude of successes, but there are plenty more aside.

Five wins at Taipei 101, eight Vertical World Circuit titles and nine Towerrunning Tour titles are just a few of the additional accolades she’s secured.

That’s not to mention the brilliant track and field career she had before she turned her attention to stair climbing. You can read about that here (along with her 2007 ESBRU win).

The constant stream of praise for the humility and helpfulness of the most successful tower runner of all-time is further testament to the excellence of this fantastic ambassador for tower running.

walsham VWC 2019

These women, and many, many more besides, have each played their own important role in this sport. We’ve enjoyed researching and writing about each of them over the years and look forward to putting together many more articles about their fantastic achievements and the other incredible women in the world of tower running.

Soh Wai Ching Sibu Tower Run 2020

Malaysia’s Soh Wai Ching set a new record at the Sibu Tower Run (627 steps) today with a time of 2:56.

It was the third win in a row at the event for Soh, who took a second off the unofficial record he set during a practice run at Wisma Sanyan last month.

Michele Tan (above, right) took the narrowest of wins in the women’s race, finishing ahead of Cheong Yan Wei by less than half a second.

Wisma Sanyan

The 627-step Wisma Sanyan, venue for the Sibu Tower Run

There was no 5km pre-run this time around, which had been a key feature of the event since its inaugural edition in 2017. This allowed world number two Soh to go all out in the stair run.

His victory is the perfect end to his preparations for one of the biggest races of the year at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, next week.

“I am happy with my performance today and I am totally ready for La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel on Wednesday”, said Soh.

View this post on Instagram

3rd Consecutive Wins at @sibutower 2020 edition us different from the previous edition as there's no 5km pre run. We all ran up 28 Floors, 627 steps, with a 95m Elevation Climb and individual start format! I clocked a total time of 2:56 minutes. With a rest of about 40 minutes, I went up for my second run up, and clocked a 3:04 min (got blocked by some female runners throughout the run). With about 15 min rest time, I decided to went up for my third run up. It took me 3:07 min to complete the race (got blocked by some fire marshal throughout the run). . I am happy with my performance today and I am totally ready for @laverticaledelatoureiffel on the coming Wednesday where all of us have to do 2 run up + a final run (665 steps) . I would like to thanks @sibutower Mike and Willie from MPI Alumni Association and Sibu Municipal Council on inviting me to be the Ambassador again for 3rd year in a row! . It was a well organized race and it's livestream throughout the race with 4 cameras (one at the start, one at 10th floors, one at 20th floors, one at the finishing floors). Thanks to all the volunteers and to sponsors as well for the event. . I would like to personally thank all my sponsors especially @malaysiaairlines on flying me here to Sibu for the race. Thanks to all the other sponsors! #SibuTowerRun #STR2020 #SMC #MasTowerRunner #TenagaNasionalBerhad #GreenAcreCapital #MMTF #MasterSY #JayBirdVista #JayBird #BeetItSport #BeetItSportMy #RudyProject #RudyProjectMy #BauerfeindMalaysia #BlackrollMalaysia #MalaysiaTowerRunningAssociation

A post shared by Soh Wai Ching (@mastowerrunner) on

Soh’s team mate HZ Chin took second place in 3:11.

Sibu Tower Run 2020 results:

Women top five:

1. Michele Tan – 4:12.053
2. Cheong Yan Wei – 4:12.392
3. Mercy Teh Mu Min – 4:25
4. Lee Leh Ha – 4:39
5. Liezel Lumindas G – 4:45

Men top five:

1. Soh Wai Ching – 2:56
2. HZ Chin – 3:11
3. Mr Kent – 3:28
4. Alex Tiong King Hee – 3:41.062
5. Tan Song Hua – 3:41.793

More:

A guide to the elite men at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel

Loros Tower Run1

2016 Mark Sims (GBR) 1:35.62  Jane Mayes (GBR) 2:27.77 – results
2017 Mark Sims (GBR) 1:32.39  Kimberley Blount (GBR) 2:06.93 – results
2018 Elliot Slaughter (GBR) 1:27.9  Sarah Frost (GBR) 1:49 – results
2019 Mark Sims (GBR) 1:31.96  Sarah Frost (GBR) 1:43.82* – results
2020 Soh Wai Ching (MYS) 1:24.8*  Sarah Frost (GBR) 1:52.8 – results

* course record

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

f15f7b57ab31c217f471c6712a2654e0-taipei-101

The 2020 edition of the Taipei 101 Run Up has been cancelled due to fears around coronavirus.

Despite coronavirus cases in Taiwan being currently below 50, the organisers have taken the precautionary decision to postpone the event.

No new date has been set for the race which was due to take place on 9th May.

The Taipei 101 Run Up was set to play host to the 2020 TWA Towerrunning World Championship, which may now be in jeopardy.

“We definitely want to hold our Towerrunning World Championships in 2020”, said the Towerunning World Association. “The targeted date will be around 3rd/4th quarter of the year.”

Wisma Sanyan

Soh Wai Ching will race at the Sibu Tower Run tomorrow as he aims to win the event for a third straight time.

For the first time since the event began in 2017 there will be no 5km pre-run and runners will simply take on the 627 steps of Wisma Sanyan, giving Soh the perfect opportunity to go all out on the stairs.

Soh visited the tower last month to meet with race organisers and did a record-breaking practice run of 2:57 while there. He’ll be expecting to better that time tomorrow morning.

Soh Wai Ching Sibu Tower Run

Soh Wai Ching (r) receives his winner’s trophy at the Sibu Tower Run 2019

It’s a perfect final tune-up for the Malaysian before he heads to Paris to compete at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel on Wednesday, March. 11.

The 627 steps at Wisma Sanyan closely matches the step count for the new format for La Verticale, which involves two qualifying rounds of 665 steps and a final run for the top 20 fastest men.

You might also be interested in: