Posts Tagged ‘Empire State Building Run-Up record’

Andrea Mayr 2019

In a sport as small and widely ignored as tower running, you’d be forgiven for having never heard of one its finest practitioners. Even more so when you consider this legend has routinely dipped in and out of the sport over a 15-year period, gracing it with short, but lasting, flashes of brilliance before disappearing from the scene for years at a time.

Although you may never have heard of her, Andrea Mayr is one of the best athletes in the world. She’s a six-time world mountain running champion, the course record holder and three-time winner at the Empire State Building Run-Up, the fastest woman to have run up Taipei 101 and has represented Austria at the World Athletics Championships (3000m SC, 2005) and Olympic Games (marathon, 2012 and 2016).

In 2015, after a long break from stair climbing, Mayr came down from the mountains to win the Towerrunning World Championship in Doha, Qatar. Then she disappeared again. What’s she been up to?

Four successful years

You could fill a small book detailing what Andrea Mayr’s been doing in the past four years. What follows is only a snapshot of the accolades she’s bagged during this period. There’s way too much to cover in detail.

She won the World Mountain Running Championship and the World Mountain Running Association World Cup (WMRA) in 2016.

Andrea-Mayr-2016-World-Mountain-Running-Championships-winner

Andrea Mayr on her way to winning the 2016 World Mountain Running Championship

In 2017, she was second at the World Mountain Running Championship and third at the European Mountain Running Championship. She also won the vertical race at the Ski Mountaineering World Championship that year.

In 2018 she won the WMRA World Cup and the Red Bull 400 World Championship.

Red Bull 400 Mayr 2018

Mayr begins to pull away at the Red Bull 400 World Championship 2018

In among that busy 2018 season, Mayr was invited to partake in the Towerrunning World Championships at Taipei 101 in May.

But she was forced to withdraw due to injury, denying her the chance to defend the world title she’d won in 2015.

In terms of participation on the stairs, that news that she wouldn’t be able to compete was pretty much the last the tower running community heard about Mayr.

1st-winner-womens-category-2

Andrea Mayr wins the 2015 Towerrunning World Championships

But, as we head into another Towerrunning World Championship year, attention turns her way once more.

A wildcard entry to the event at Taipei 101 in May 2020 will be extended to the Austrian. Whether she decides to accept it is another matter. We can but hope.

It’s worth noting that Mayr is a medical doctor, working the long shifts associated with that profession and still taking examinations. The fact she has found time to put in the training required to stay at the top of the world mountain running and ski mountaineering circuit is miraculous. And that busy schedule could be an issue.

When she returned in 2015 to win the Towerrunning World Championship, she did so with no stair workouts. Suzy Walsham came within a whisker of beating her day.

If Mayr decides to come back next year she may want to set aside some time for tower running specific workouts that will put her in the best position to contend with Walsham, the resurgent Valentina Belotti and who knows who else.

But will she be able to find time? Will she even want to come back?

There’s much to ponder.

But let’s see where Mayr is now. We pick up her trail in the first quarter of 2019.

Ski mountaineering World Championships

On Wednesday 13th March 2019, Mayr was in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland for the Ski mountaineering World Championships.

When Mayr had won the title in 2017, she had done so as somewhat of an underdog against younger emerging stars like Emelie Forsberg. But this year, as the defending champion, there was far more expectation on her.

In ski-mountaineering, Mayr prefers steep courses. With her strong mountain running background, she is no stranger to routes with big vertical gains, and she was anticipating a steep course at these world champs.

But due to safety concerns as a result of adverse weather conditions, the race organisers were forced to change the route to a flatter one just a day before the event. The 4km course would take in 420m of vertical gain.

The change made Mayr nervous. But you’d never have guessed as she stormed to back-to-back titles.

You can see her in action in the video below and hear her thoughts on the race.

ismf-world-cup-sprintrace2019-vertical-race-52

Vertical kilometer course record at Trofeo Nasego

On Saturday 18th May, in rain swept Casto, Italy, Mayr went head-to-head with long-time rival Andrea Belotti. The battleground this time was the tough vertical kilomoter race at the Trofeo Nasego mountain running event.

Mayr was in majestic form as she broke the previous course record by more than four minutes, to finish in 38:39.

Clips from her winning run – from start line to finish – can be seen in the first minute and a bit of the video below.

Austrian Mountain Running Championship

On Sunday 2nd June, the Internationaler Raiffeisen Lipizzanerheimat Berglauf doubled as the Austrian national mountain running championships.

andreamayr-lipizzaner-bl-12_000

Mayr completely dominated the race. She completed the 9.2km course (with 1,075 gain) in 52:20, over seven minutes faster than the second-placed woman.

Course record at Katrinberglauf

As the 2018 champion and course record holder at the Katrinberglauf in Austria, Mayr returned to the mountain on Sunday 16th June to defend her title.

She continued her run of outstanding form to take almost a minute off her previous best time.

Mayr Katrinberglauf2

Andrea Mayr leads out the field at the Katrinberglauf 2019

Mayr Katrinberglauf

Crossing icy ground on her way to setting a new course record

European Mountain Running Championships

Winner in 2005 and 2013-2015, and then third in 2017, the Austrian has a great record at these championships.

On Sunday, 7th July in Zermatt, Switzerland she was back to challenge Europe’s best once again. The race was across a 10.1 km course with 1,030 meters of ascent.

Standing between Mayr and a fifth title was the incredible Swiss athlete, Maude Mathys, winner in 2017 and 2018.

Andrea Mayr 2019

Mayr during the European Mountain Running Championships 2019

Despite maintaining a narrow lead in the first half of the race over the steeper parts of the course, Mayr was reeled back in by the younger Mathys as the course leveled out in the second half.

Mayr finished second, a minute back from Mathys who secured her third European crown in a row.

Piz Tri Vertical

A little under a month later (Saturday 3rd August), Mayr was back in Italy for another battle with Valentina Belotti at a vertical kilometer race (across a 3.5km course).

At the 2018 edition of the event, the Austrian had broken Belotti’s course record. The 38:11 she ran that day was called a ‘phenomenal’ and ‘sensational’ time.

That reporter would have done well to keep some superlatives back for the 2019 race report, because Mayr obliterated that record as she crossed the line in 37:20.

Andrea Mayr PizTri Vertikal 2019

On the course of the Piz Tri Vertical 2019

Red Bull 400 Bischofshofen

Three weeks later (Saturday 24th August), Mayr was on home soil to take part in the Red Bull 400 race in Bischofshofen.

She was looking to win the event for the fourth time in a row, and was squaring off against fellow Austrian multi-sport athlete, and tower runner, Veronika Windisch.

Mayr won in a brilliant 3:52, followed by Windisch in 4:44 and Finland’s Mila Koljonen in 4:46.

‘I really felt very good from the beginning and especially in the last part, where the spectators are so close. You feel really motivated,’ she told Red Bull. ‘I’m really happy with the race. It’s a competition that really is a lot of fun and that’s one of the main reasons I participate.’

red-bull-400-bischofshofen-2019-andrea-mayr

Pulling away at the Red Bull 400 Bischofshofen

Back to the Hochfelln-Berglauf

As the course record holder and nine-time winner of the Hochfelln-Berglauf, including five straight wins from 2014-2018, Mayr was expected to secure an astonishing 10th title when she returned to the event on Sunday 29th September.

And she did. It was the slowest winning time of all of her victories, but she still finished three and a half minutes ahead of second place.

mayr hochfelln 2019

Mayr completed the roughly 9km course (with 1,074m of vertical gain) in 49:51.

Hochfelln podium 2019

Ten-time winner of the Hochfelln-Berglauf

What’s next?

So, after that snapshot of her stacked 2019 season, this is where we find the magisterial Andrea Mayr.

On Friday 15th November in Villa La Angostura, Argentina the World Mountain Running Championships will take place. Mayr will likely be planning to be in attendance to see if she can win a seventh title. She finished 6th in 2018.

Beyond that is the Towerrunning World Championship at Taipei 101 in May, 2020.

By the time that comes around it will be almost 15 years since she set the course record of 12:38 at the tower in November, 2005.

Will we get to see one of the best tower runners of all time race again?

We can only hope.

You might also be interested in:

Advertisements

In 2001, everyone wanted to know just how much faster course record holder Paul Crake could run the Empire State Building. As it turned out, a lot faster.

If you missed the first installment of this series on the history of the Empire State Building Run-Up covering 1978-1980, you can read it here. Or jump back to 1981-19831984-19871988-19901991-19931994-199719981999 or 2000 instead.

Otherwise read on for the next installment in the series and find out how the ESBRU record fell again in 2001.

Back to the mountains

With the first ever sub 10-minute finish at the Empire State Building Run-Up in the bag, a jubilant Crake headed to Mt Coree on Saturday 18th March 2000 to attempt to win a second national mountain running title.

The Australian Mountain Running Championship featured the best of the best from around the country, so winning this was going to be a serious challenge.

The race involved a 7km uphill run to the summit of Mt Coree, followed by a 2.5km descent before turning around and running 2.5km back to the summit.

1999 champion Bruce Hogg didn’t return, but there was new, and old, competition standing between Crake and a second national title, including 1996 champion David Osmond.

In particular, former national junior cross country champion Daniel Green was coming into the race in fantastic form. He had clocked a half-marathon PB of 65 minutes in Tokyo back in January, and just 11 days before the national championship race he had broken the course record at the Mt Ainslie run-up by six seconds.

Crake and Green pulled away from the pack during the race and it came down to a straight battle between the two of them.

2000 aus champs david osmond 101

David Osmond (101) during the 2000 Championship race at Mt Coree.

Green pulled away towards the end to win the championship in 54:55, with Crake a couple of minutes back in 56:54.

2000 Sky Tower Vertical Challenge, Auckland

Two weeks later, on Saturday 1st April, Crake was in New Zealand to face off against Jonathan Wyatt who had beaten him at the Sky Tower Vertical Challenge in 1999.

As in the year before, the race for victory to the top of the 1,051 stairs was between these two giants.

pjimage

Wyatt and Crake head toward the finish at the 2000 Sky Tower Vertical Challenge

The times were slightly slower than the year before but the result was the same, with Wyatt winning in 5:20 and Crake second in 5:42.

pjimage (1)

Mt Ainslie Run Up

Just three days after the Auckland race, Crake was back to winning ways at the Mt Ainslie Run Up in Canberra, finishing in a personal best of 10:39.

Held on the first Tuesday of every month, the race attracted top runners from all around ACT and NSW. The course was 2.2km long with a 230 metre elevation gain.

He would go on to win the run-up five more times in the year 2000, and set a new course record of 10:11 on the 14th November.

Telekom Malaysia Towerthon 2000

On May 14th, Crake was in Malaysia to race up the Kuala Lumpur Tower. He was facing off against a highly accomplished group of international athletes from various disciplines, including Jonathan Wyatt, Rudi Reitberger and Russian mountain runner Iourri Oussatchev (who would finish 13th at the World Mountain Running Championships a few months later).

1539591594phpvuxc9t

Kuala Lumpur Tower, Malaysia

Wyatt was the defending champion of the grueling event, which began with an 800m uphill run into a climb of 2,058 steps.

Wyatt once more dominated on the stairs, breaking his own course record and winning in 10:24. Crake was second and Reitberger was third.

In the women’s division, Angela Sheean (1999 ESBRU champion and newly crowned two-time Australian Mountain Running Champion) was back to defend her KL Tower title. She was facing off against New Zealanders Melissa Moon, who had placed third at the World Mountain Running Championship in 1997 and 1998, and Maree Bunce who had won the Sky Tower race in Auckland in April and had finished third at the World Championships in 1999.

It was Moon who took the win in 13:24.

World Mountain Running Championships 2000

In September Crake took part in his third World Mountain Running Championship, which was held in Bergen, Germany. The 12km race was a hard one and Crake finished 54th in a field of 131 men, his poorest finish in the event.

The incredible Jonathan Wyatt won the race to secure his second world mountain running title.

Closing out the year on top

Despite some disappointments in the first two thirds of the year, the back end of 2000 was packed full of fantastic performances by Paul Crake.

In August he won the Mt Tennent Challenge and in November he won the Four Peaks event.

This four-day event involves a race each day up one of the peaks in the mountainous region north-west of Melbourne.

Crake set new course records at each of the mountains he ran: Porepunkah, Feathertop, Hotham and Buffalo.

He was also back to winning ways on the stairs, taking his second title at the Sydney Tower Run-Up with a record-breaking time of 6:52.

He finished the year with his fourth straight victory at the 5km Black Mountain Challenge, taking the win in a personal best 17:11.

The new year began with a win and new course record at the Crackenback Challenge in Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains of NSW. In supreme form, he headed to New York for the ESBRU on Wednesday 7th February 2001.

2001 Empire State Building Run-Up

Given his sub 10-minute performance the year before, and how far he’d finished ahead of experienced ESBRU athletes Terry Purcell and Rudi Reitberger, the question at the 2001 Empire State Building Run-Up wasn’t, ‘Can anyone catch Crake?’, it was, ‘How fast can he go?’.

Although the fast finishers from the previous few years were missing, there were a few familiar names at the start line who’d be aiming for a top-ten or top-15 spot, including Stephen Marsalese who had first raced ESBRU in 1996, and Rolf Majcen who had debuted in 2000.

Holger Munkelt from Germany was also back for another go at the course.

holger munkelt

Holger Munkelt

Coming from a middle and long-distance road running background – with a 2.25 marathon among his many accomplishments – Munkelt had taken part in his first stair race in 1997 at the City-Hochhaus, which at the time was part of the University of Leipzig campus. He had won that 691-step race with ease. The top prize for the winner was a trip to New York to race the ESBRU the following year.

b-lpzg-turm

City-Hochhaus, Leipzig

Following his debut at the 1998 ESBRU, where he finished fifth, he went on to win races at the Berlin TV Tower and the Monument of the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig.

Munkelt was certainly one to watch, although he would probably have to do a fair bit better than his 11:47 from 1998 to be in contention for a podium place.

There were more incredibly strong racers among the 113 other men competing.

Thailand’s 5000m and 10,000m record holder, Boonchu Jandacha, had been invited over to take part.

Markus Zahlbruckner was maintaining the strong tradition of excellent Austrian athletes to compete at the ESBRU. His compatriots Bernd Hammer, Rudi Reitberger and Matthias Schreiner had all managed to make it on to the podium at least once, and Zahlbruckner was eager to join their ranks.

For Zahlbruckner, success in stair running began in 1999, when he finished second at the 776-step Danube Tower race in Vienna. In November 2000, he won the Danube Tower event, which earned him an invitation to the 2001 Empire State Building Run-Up.

Strong Brazilian Sandro Goncalves was sure to be in the mix for a top five finish. He would later go on to represent his country at international level duathlons. A strong Pole called Jaroslaw Lazarowicz also had a good shot at a top-five finish.

Sproule Love, a crossover athlete who had finished in the top-10 at the US Olympic Trials for winter biathlon in 1998, was flying the flag for the home nation and was favoured to be the top-finishing American male. He had finished 7th in his ESBRU debut in 1999 without any specific preparation, but was now back having done some more specific work to be ready for the demands of tower running.

2001 start line

(L-R) Paul Crake (1), Sproule Love (blue hat, head down behind Crake) Rolf Majcen (flowery leggings checking watch), Markus Zahlbruckner (15), Carlos Parra (11), Sandro Goncalves (10), Boonchu Jandacha (7) and Jaroslaw Lazarowicz (red and white)

All-in-all it was a strong field of athletes, but whether any of them could hang with Crake for the full duration of the course was to be seen.

As usual Crake got an excellent start and made it first through the door into the stairwell. He then ran a brilliant race, dropping his rivals in the final third of the course. Lazarowicz ran with him over the first 50 floors but was unable to maintain the pace and Crake dropped him. In the race video below (@ 1:16) you can see how strong and fresh Crake still looks at the 65th floor.

Crake would have known he was going fast and probably felt another sub 10-minute finish was on the cards. But the king of the ESBRU was accustomed to running naturally, eschewing technology and sensing his way up the building with a finely honed internal pacing system. Without a watch he couldn’t have known exactly how fast he had run.

His finishing time was an unbelievable 9:37. He had taken 16 seconds off his improbable winning time from the year before.

2001 colour crake finish

Paul Crake sets a new course record of 9:37

‘You know what they say, ‘third time lucky’, but I’ve already won the race twice so it’s more like, ya know…I’m pretty pleased about that one’, Crake said. ‘The race went pretty much as I planned. There was a lot of pushing and shoving at the start but then I settled in.’

The race for the remaining podium places was tightly contested. Germany’s Holger Munkelt took second in 11:02 and American Sproule Love became only the second American since 1994 to make it onto the podium (Jesus Zerpa was third in 1998).

Moll aims for third title

It was an exclusive group of women that had won the Run-Up three times: Nina Kuscsik (1979-81), Janine Aiello (1985-86, 1988) and Belinda Soszyn (1994, 1996-97). At the 2001 ESBRU Cindy Moll was heavily tipped to join them.

In January she had broken the course record at the Bop to the Top in Indianapolis, with a winning time of 4:26. It was the seventh time in a row she’d won the race. Among the 38 women on the start line in New York, she was the one to beat.

Moll’s ESBRU rival Fiona Bayly was back again, hoping to push the reigning champion a bit harder than she had in 2000.

2001 womens start

Also in the race was Nelly Simón from Mexico (who we suspect may be the same Simón that’s now a sports analyst with ESPN). Her 15:00 finish the year before had earned her fifth place, so she was an outside shot for a podium place given the slightly reduced quality of the field compared to previous editions.

Also an outside shot for third place was Stacy Creamer, who had finished ahead of Simón in 2000, clocking a 14:22. Not among the fastest women, but possibly good enough to get her on the podium if the going was slow all-round. Over the following 10-15 years, Creamer actually went on to become a solid age group duathlete and triathlete, competing at international competitions for the USA and even bagging some top-3 finishes.

Bayly, Moll and Simón all got good starts, with Moll getting off the line marginally quickest. But the taller Simón kept her arms out and managed to muscle ahead of Moll to get into the stairwell first. Moll followed, with Bayly immediately behind her.

But as it turned out, Moll could have given her rivals a minute head start, and she would still have reined them in, such was her conditioning on the day.

The two-time champ was unstoppable, clocking a personal best 12:45 and securing her third win from four starts.

‘I didn’t like the beginning, I never do’, Moll told reporters. ‘Fortunately I didn’t fall. It’s really hard at the beginning because it’s that mass start, but after I got through the first few floors and away from the pack, then I felt a lot better about the race.’

2001 Empire State Building Run-Up results

 

Continue reading the history of the ESBRU with the story of the 2002 race.

For 23 years, a sub 10-minute finish at the Empire State Building Run-Up stood as a seemingly impossible mark to achieve. Then reigning champion Paul Crake turned up.

If you missed the first installment of this series on the history of the Empire State Building Run-Up covering 1978-1980, you can read it here. Or jump back to 1981-19831984-19871988-19901991-19931994-19971998 or 1999 instead.

Otherwise read on for the next installment in the series and find out how the record fell at ESBRU in 2000.

First year as an ESBRU champion

After his record-breaking ESBRU run on 25th February 1999, Paul Crake returned to Australia for what would turn out to be a year of mixed fortunes.

There is no obvious record online of the 1999 ACT Mountain Running Championship (which usually took place around Feb/March), so whether Crake defended his title this year or not is a mystery for now. But after such an outstanding year in 1998, he had plenty of other titles to defend in 1999.

On Tuesday 6th April he got started with another hard-fought win at the Mt Ainslie run up in Canberra.

Back to Auckland

On the 10th April, Crake headed back to Auckland to defend his title at the Sky Tower Vertical Challenge.

In its second year, the event attracted around 600 competitors and among them were a host of incredible athletes.

Alongside Crake (the Empire State Building Run-Up and Sydney Tower Run-Up champion), was Jonathan Wyatt, the 1998 World Mountain Running Champion. Guainas Salanga, winner of the inaugural Kuala Lumpur Towerthon in 1998 was also there. The tough Kuala Lumpur race he’d won involved a 800m uphill run into the tower to scale 2,058 steps.

Reports say a fourth-place finisher at the World Mountain Running Championship was also at the event, which is likely to have been New Zealander Aaron Strong.

The race began with a 150m run along Federal Street before runners turned into the tower and up the 1,051 stairs. The pace over the first 150m was apparently very fast and there was a bit of a melee up the first five floors, with elbows thrown and plenty of shouts to move over for faster runners.

Once the runners settled a bit, it became a two-man race between Crake and Wyatt.

Wyatt was an incredible athlete who excelled at a multitude of distances. In 1996 he had competed in the 5,000m at the Atlanta Olympic Games for New Zealand. His personal best at the distance was 13:27.

Jonathan Wyatt cross country

Jonathan Wyatt

In 1997 he turned his focus to mountain running and the following year won his first World Championship title.

1999 sky tower crake

Paul Crake approaches the finish of the 1999 Sky Tower Vertical Challenge

1999 wyatt stairs

Jonathan Wyatt closes in on victory

It was Wyatt who came out on top in the second edition of the Sky Tower Vertical Challenge. He won in a time of 5:17, while Crake finished second in 5:38.

1999 wyatt finish

Wyatt wins in 5:17

1999 sky tower crake finish

Crake takes second in 5:38

Australian Mountain Running Championships 1999

The next major race in Crake’s calendar was the defence of his national mountain running title on Saturday 26th June.

The 13.2km race was held at Camp Mountain, about 12 miles outside of Brisbane.

The result didn’t go the way Crake would have hoped, and he succumbed to his second title loss of 1999. Bruce Hogg took the win in 52:59, with Crake finishing second in 53:45.

In the women’s division, the new ESBRU champion Angela Sheean took victory to earn a spot alongside Crake at the World Mountain Running Championships in Borneo.

In the World Championship race in September on Mt Kinabalu, Crake managed to finish in 37th position (out of 99 finishers).

Kuala Lumpur Towerthon 1999

In July, Crake was in Malaysia to race against Jonathan Wyatt at the Kuala Lumpur Towerthon. The tough race began with an 800m uphill run into a climb of 2,058 steps.

As he had done in Auckland, Wyatt got the better of his Australian rival, winning the race in 10:39. Crake was second in 11:22 and A. Geevaraj was third in 12:16.

In the women’s division, the new ESBRU and Australian Mountain Running champion Angela Sheean faced off against fellow Australian and three-time ESBRU champion Belinda Soszyn.

In a closer race than the men, Sheean took the win in a time of 14:18. Malaysia’s Yuan Yu Fang was second in 14:30 and Soszyn third in 14:56.

1999 kl champs wyatt sheean

Jonathan Wyatt and Angela Sheean

Into the new millennium

We were unable to find any record of the Sydney Tower Run-Up which was scheduled for September 1999, so are not sure if Crake defended his title that year. Despite a year of mixed fortunes, he saw out the end of the 20th century on a high by winning his third Black Mountain Challenge in a row on the 12th December 1999.

In the new millennium, he picked up where he’d left off, with winning ways. Just 10 days before he was due to race the Empire State Building, he won the ACT Mountain Running Championship, the same event that had launched his successful senior career in 1998. Despite an up-and-down past 12 months, recent wins had buoyed Crake’s confidence and leading into the race at the Empire he was a clear favourite to win.

The sub 10-minute finish

133 men took part in the 23rd edition of the Empire State Building Run-Up on Wednesday 23rd February 2000.

Jesus Zerpa, third in 1998, was back, as was Austria’s Rudi Reitberger who had made it onto the podium in 1999. Fellow Austrian, Rolf Majcen, had also made the trip over to New York for the biggest race on the tower running calendar.

1998 champion Terry Purcell was hoping to go one better than his second-place finish in 1999.

But all eyes were on Paul Crake. Could he do what nobody else had ever achieved and break the 10-minute mark?

2000 mens start

Paul Crake (centre, #1) flanked by Terry Purcell (centre-right, #2) and Rudi Reitberger (centre-left #3)

He got off to a great start, making it first into the stairwell. And that was it. He was gone. Just as he’d done in 1999, he hit the stairs in first position and stayed there.

When Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile mark in 1954, he did so by just over half-a-second. When Pete Squires broke the sub 11-minute mark at ESBRU in 1981, he also managed it by around half a second.

There would be no split-seconds for Crake. His finishing time was an emphatic 9:53. He had destroyed his own course record by 22 seconds and achieved something that many thought impossible. The image below clearly shows him through the line at 9:52, but the official recorded time was rounded up.

To put this into context for those unfamiliar with tower running and the Empire State Building Run-Up. Crake is the only person to have ever run the course in under ten minutes. The closest other time is the 10:05 ran by Poland’s Piotr Lobodzinski in 2019. All of the great tower runners that have followed Crake have been some way off his amazing time. But he wasn’t done yet. In the following years he would truly shock everyone.

2000 crake finish

The first sub 10-minute finish at the Empire State Building Run-Up

In the battle for second place, Terry Purcell and Rudi Reitberger were closely matched. The Austrian had trailed Purcell by just five seconds in 1999.

In the race video below you can see the pair tight together as they reach the crossover point at the 65th floor, with Purcell leading the way (1:03).

But somewhere over those last 20 floors, Reitberger managed to slip past the Aussie and reverse their positions from the year before.

Reitberger crossed the line in 10:56, while Purcell completed the course in 11:08.

mens podium

Rudi Reitberger, Paul Crake and Terry Purcell

Crake said his debut in 1999 helped provide the base for his incredible win in 2000. ‘I think it comes down to experience. There’s been a couple of races in Australia where I’ve bummed up the start and I couldn’t come through. But when you’ve got the confidence that you can come through, it helps in a race like this.’

‘Today the pain sort of started coming after 20 or 30 floors, then it maintained at that level. Then about, sort of, the 55 mark, I thought I might have gone out a bit hard here. I might have to back off. But nah, I thought I’ll stick with it, and fortunately I was able to hold the pace until the finish line.’

Moll vs Bayly II

With no Australian woman in attendance, and no other elite international competitors around, the 2000 ESBRU was a straight clash between homegrown, all-American talent.

In 1998, Cindy Moll had won on her debut, beating the experienced Fiona Bayly by a mere second. Moll hadn’t had a great race in 1999. Bayly, as far as we know, wasn’t there.

Now they would go head-to-head once again.

Cindy Moll was having a brilliant year already, despite it being just seven weeks old. On February 6th she won a race at the Amoco Building (now Aon Center) in Chicago. Then, on the 12th February, Moll took her second win of the year at the Bop to the Top in Indianapolis. She must have been brimming with confidence standing in the lobby of the Empire State Building.

Moll made an improvement to her start and this time she was first through the door, ahead of Bayly who was close behind.

2000 moll start

Cindy Moll (F3) reaches the stairwell door ahead of Fiona Bayly (F2) at the 2000 Empire State Building Run-Up

In the video below you see Moll climbing solo at around the 65th floor (0:49). There was to be no repeat of the super-close battle that played out in 1998 between herself and Bayly. The in-form Moll was a clear winner this time around. Her winning time was a personal best 12:51, meaning she joined a small group of elite women that had managed to run under 13 minutes.

2000 moll finish colour

2000 cindy moll finish

Cindy Moll wins her second Empire State Building Run-Up title in 2000

Bayly came in second in 13:13, while Theresa Uhrig – a sub three-hour marathoner from California – was third in 13:30.

Four days later Moll made it four wins from four starts as she successfully defended her title at the ‘Hustle up the Hancock’ race at the John Hancock Center in Chicago.

2000 winners photo

2000 Empire State Building Run-Up champions Paul Crake and Cindy Moll

 

2000 Empire State Building Run-Up results

Read the next installment in the series – the 2001 Empire State Building Run-Up.