Malaysia’s Soh Wai Ching broke the LOROS Tower Run course record by three seconds at Saturday’s event in Leicester.

Soh powered to the finish in 1:24.8 to eclipse the previous best time of 1:27.9 set by Elliot Slaughter (GBR) in 2018.

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Took part in Loros Tower Run 2020. Running almost in the last heat. Completed the first full run up of 20 floors, 351 steps, 64m Elevation Climb with a time of 85 seconds, exactly my target right before the run. Broke the previous course record – 87.9 seconds with exact 85 seconds. Came back down, and decided to go up one more round as I knew I can go faster for it. With about 20 minutes rest, I gave it another shot, and came back with a 84.8 seconds. Broke my previous record by .2 seconds! Great Run! Thanks Organizer for a well organized race, clear the course before my attempt. Down to one final race – Hyde Park Spring 10k Run tomorrow at 9.30am (5.30pm Malaysia Time). #MasTowerRunner #TenagaNasionalBerhad #GreenAcreCapital #MalaysiaAirlines #MMTF #BauerfeindMalaysia #BlackrollMalaysia #MeridianSY #JayBirdSport #BeetItSportMalaysia #RudyProjectMalaysia #Towerrunning #MalaysiaTowerrunningAssociation #AdidasRunners

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It was the second course record for Soh in the space of a week, following his new best time at the Sibu Tower Run in Malaysia the weekend before.

Poland’s Kacper Mrowiec finished second in 1:29.7, becoming only the third man to have run the 351-step course at St George’s Tower in less than 90 seconds.

Laurence Ball (GBR) was third in 1:31.4.

Soh Wai Ching and Kacper Mrowiec

Soh Wai Ching and Kacper Mrowiec

Frost makes it three in a row on return from injury

Sarah Frost was the fastest woman at the LOROS Tower Run, winning in a time of 1:52.8 to secure her third win in a row at the venue.

It was the first race of the season for Frost following an ankle injury that had her sidelined at the start of the year.

Frost had been due to race at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel on Wednesday 11 March, but with the postponement of that event she kicked off her season in Leicester.

Although Frost’s time on Saturday was the slowest of her three wins, it was still significantly faster than her rivals.

Kimberley Etherington-Bates was second in 2:28.3 and Sonja Shakespeare took third in 2:38.9.

Full LOROS Tower Run 2020 results

LOROS Tower Run race day photos

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LOROS Tower Run 2020

It’s the shortest stair race in the UK, but the LOROS Tower Run is also one of the most exciting. Back on Saturday 14 March 2020 for its fifth edition, all eyes will be on Leicester as top international speedsters get ready to race flat out against some of the UK’s best.

The athletes will face 351 steps at St George’s Tower, and the leading men will have one eye on the course record of 1:27.9 set by Elliot Slaughter in 2018.

Slaughter won’t be in attendance on Saturday and neither will three-time winner (2016-17, 2019) Mark Sims.

That leaves the door wide open for a new champion to be crowned and three men in particular are among those expected to be in close contention for the top spot.

Loros Tower Run1

St George’s Tower, Leicester – venue for the LOROS Tower Run

Kacper Mrowiec – Poland

Mrowiec blew onto the tower running scene a little over a year ago and has already proven himself as a prospect to watch.

Back in early February 2019, the Polish athlete kicked things off at the 593-step Altus Cup race in Katowice, Poland. His 3:11 finish was fast enough to earn him third spot. Mrowiec clearly has good speed on the stairs.

But he really established himself a few weeks later at the highly competitive Rondo 1 race in Warsaw. The 836-step race always attracts top European stair runners.

Kacper Mrowiec towerrunner

Mrowiec took sixth overall, finishing ahead of far more experienced tower runners, including Ralf Hascher, Andreas Fruhmann, Rauno Tiits and Pavel Holec.

He followed this up later in the year with a second-place finish at the 723-step ‘sprint race’ at the Star Challenge in Gdasnk, Poland. Less than a second separated him and the winner, Mateusz Marunowski.

People began to sit up and take notice of the young Pole.

Jump forward to 2020 and Mrowiec already has a win under his belt. He took top spot at the 29-floor Ideal-Hochhaus in Berlin in January.

He’s 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.

Mrowiec was due to race at Vertical Rush on Thursday (12 March), but with the cancellation of that race he can focus his attention, and completely fresh legs, on the 351 steps of St George’s Tower.

Expect him to put in a very fast time; somewhere close to if not better than the course record, for sure. Will it be enough to win him the race? That’s to be seen.

Henrik Holstad – Norway

The name Henrik Holstad may be unfamiliar to the casual reader, but the Norwegian is a legitimate tower runner who secured a bunch of wins and podium finishes last year.

In Norway he won the 600-step Kollentrappa in May and then in September he finished second at the 303-step Barcode Challenge and second at the KollenOpp.

Henrik Holstad towerrunning

Henrik Holstad (793) on his way to winning the Kollentrappa 2019


The following month he took top spot at the Run Up Berlin, which takes place at the city’s 770-step Park Inn Hotel and has been venue to some great battles over the years between Germany’s top tower runners.

Holstad has demonstrated his complete stair running versatility, giving a good account of himself at various distances and formats. Whether traditional races with landing turns or races straight up the stairs alongside ski jumps, Holstad has proven himself capable of handling it all. But how will he get on in Leicester?

Tower running math isn’t always the most accurate predictor of finishing places, especially at a sprint event like this where the margins between places will be super slim. But having punched the numbers, we’ll be surprised if Holstad takes top spot. A podium place is a reasonable expectation, but first might be out of reach, and the next man on our list is one of the reasons why.

Laurence Ball – Great Britain

Laurence Ball tower running

Like Mrowiec, Laurence Ball is a relative newcomer to tower running, having made his stair race debut a little over 12 months ago.

He won that race and went on to put in some more cracking performances throughout the rest of the year. He was second at the stacked Broadgate Tower Run Up in July and then smashed the course record at the Leadenhall Building in November.

In the summer he showed off his speed at the UFO Vertical Sprint in Bratislava, Slovakia. In the three-run format, he managed to finish sixth in among far more experienced tower runners.

Laurence Ball Mark Howard Grate48 2019

Laurence Ball (left) after setting the course record at the Leadenhall Building in November, 2019

The LOROS Tower Run will be Ball’s first stair race of the 2020 season, so it will be interesting to see exactly where he’s at.

He’s been putting in a lot of track work and recently competed at the Vertical Up Kitzbühel, which involves running up a ski slope in spiked shoes. We know he’ll be in great shape, but how will he handle the flat out sprint?

We’ll be surprised not to see Ball in the top three.

Update (12 March 2020, 9.30pm)

Since we wrote this article, the world number two Soh Wai Ching has announced that he will be heading to Leicester to take part in the race, having previously ruled himself out. The Malaysian had come to Europe to race at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel and to defend his Vertical Rush title in London. With both events cancelled he has now apparently decided to take on the LOROS Tower Run.

Soh becomes the firm pre-race favourite now. We firmly expect the course record to fall if he makes it onto the start line.

This race has now become an even more exciting prospect than it was this afternoon. Roll on Saturday.

Like us on Facebook to keep up to date with the full results and race report on the weekend.

Vertical Rush cancelled

Vertical Rush is the latest tower run to be cancelled amid growing concerns about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The event will not be rescheduled for later in the year.

Shelter, the charity that puts on the event, has released the following statement:

Unfortunately we regret to inform you that as a result of safety precautions being put in place by Tower 42 to try and prevent the spread of coronavirus, we have had to cancel Vertical Rush on Thursday 12th March 2020.

The Tower have not taken the decision to cancel lightly, and it has been made with the health and safety of everyone involved in mind. The care of our runners, staff and volunteers is always our main priority. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience the cancellation causes.

We understand that this is disappointing news for you, and we share that disappointment, as we know how much effort you have put into your training and fundraising. Sadly, we will not be rescheduling this year’s event for another date.

The cancellation follows the postponement of the Taipei 101 Run Up (World Championship race) and the Eiffel Tower stair race.

It’s becoming increasingly likely that the 2020 tower running season will not materialise in any meaningful fashion.

The early Vertical World Circuit races scheduled for Milan (April) and Paris (May) are likely to be cancelled next. The Empire State Building Run-Up will probably be cancelled in the coming weeks, too.

Follow us on Facebook for all the latest tower running updates as and when they come in.

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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