Posts Tagged ‘ESBRU 2021’

Cindy Harris powered to the top of the Empire State Building last night to win the 43rd edition of the famous Run-Up.

It’s the fifth time the 52-year old from Indianapolis has won the race, with her previous wins coming in 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2003.

Harris climbed to the top of the tower’s 1,576 steps and out onto the observation deck finish line in 14.01, in what was her 23rd appearance at the ESBRU.

The American was followed by Mexico’s Maria Elisa Lopez in 14.12 and fellow American Shari Klarfeld in 14.15.

Soh takes men’s title

Malaysia’s Soh Wai Ching took victory in the men’s division with a time of 10.46, taking an impressive 28 seconds off the time he set on his ESBRU debut in 2019.

Soh was followed by 2018 winner Frank Nicolas CarreƱo from Colombia who clocked 11.23, while third went to Mexico’s Alexis Trujillo who finished in 11.39.

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We’re less than a couple of hours away from the start of the Empire State Building Run-Up. Here’s a quick overview of some of the men lining up in the lobby tonight for the 43rd edition of the event.

Soh Wai Ching (Malaysia)

With his second place finish at the 2019 ESBRU (time of 11.14), Soh Wai Ching is probably the narrow favourite for tonight’s race, although with no races to assess the athlete’s form on it’s hard to say. The Malaysian has had the upper hand on close rival Alexis Trujillo before, most notably at the Towerrunning Tour Final in 2019.

He’s spent the last few weeks doing a half-marathon and Red Bull 400 in Europe and training at tall towers in Dubai so will be coming in strong. We will be surprised if he doesn’t go sub 11-minutes and finish first.

Alexis Trujillo (Mexico)

Trujillo is making his ESBRU debut tonight. He was ranked third in the world at the end of 2019 (behind Piotr Lobodzinski and Wai Ching) and kickstarted his 2020 campaign with a blistering, record-breaking run at Scale the Strat. The pandemic robbed us of seeing him in full flow for the remainder of the year and this is pretty much the first we’ll have seen of the Mexican for ages.

What sort of form he’s in we’ll have to wait and see. Would expect to see him on the podium and top spot is definitely within reach if things go his way this evening.

Frank Nicolas Carreno (Colombia)

Carreno clocked an impressive 10.50 on his debut to win the Empire State Building Run-Up in 2018. He wasn’t at the race in 2019, but has chalked up plenty of wins since. He was victorious at the 700-step Conquista del Penol in Colombia earlier this month so is clearly in race shape.

He’ll be hot on the case of Trujillo and Wai Ching, and if he can pull another sub 11 minute finish out of the bag, he might even grab himself a second ESBRU title. Will be very surprised if these three don’t make up the podium – in what order is anyone’s guess.

Sproule Love (USA)

One of the all-time great best American stair climbers, Love made his debut at the ESBRU all the way back in 1999. He’s been on the podium in New York a number of times over the years, most recently finishing third in 2018. His times at the ESBRU have varied quite a lot recently, ranging from a blistering 11.15 in 2016 to a 12.16 in 2019.

If he can bring back that sub 12-minute form tonight, we might see an American on the podium again. But keeping up with the three visiting international athletes will probably prove a task too far for The Ghost. Top five finish for Love tonight we reckon.

David Roeske (USA)

Roeske has made five ESBRU appearances, debuting in 2015. His time each year hovers around the 12 and a half minute mark. That was fast enough to earn him 5th spot at the race in 2018, and if he maintains that consistency tonight he could be in for another impressive top five finish.

Best of the rest

Josh Duncan – the 2018 USA Stair Climbing Champion is well familiar with the 1,576 steps of the Empire State Building. He ran 13.31 at the 2019 event, so hopefully we’ll see him going faster than that this year.

Mark Ewell – another successful American tower runner, with a good 13.26 PB at the ESBRU.

Mark Henderson – finished in an impressive 12.52 in 2019 in what looks to have been his ESBRU debut. Will surely be happy to chop a chunk off that tonight.

Jason Larson – a top athlete with tons of stair racing experience and wins around the States. Has dipped under the 13 minute mark a couple of times at the ESBRU and will be looking for more of the same tonight.

Unable to attend due to travel restrictions

Ryoji Watanabe (Japan)

Martin Pederson (Denmark)

Michal Kovac (Slovakia)

Fabio Ruga (Italy)

Omar Bekkali (Belgium)

The Empire State Building Run-Up is just a day away and the excitement is building for the biggest race in the tower running calendar.

The 43rd edition of the event is slightly diminished by the absence of Suzy Walsham who has decided not to defend her title, while Italy’s Valentina Belotti, who would have been the hot favourite, is unable to attend due to travel restrictions.

Nevertheless, there’s a strong contingent of athletes set to line up on Tuesday night to claim the coveted crown of ESBRU winner.

Read on to find out who’s who in the elite women’s division at the 2021 edition of the Empire State Building Run-Up.

Cindy Harris
Cindy Harris finishing the Empire State Building Run-Up 2019

Cindy Harris won her first ESBRU title back in 1998, and three more followed in 2000, 2001 and 2003. The fact that she’s still competing at the top of the sport of tower running says everything about what a formidable athlete she is. Incredibly, this will be her 23rd appearance at the ESBRU!

The 2020 US stairclimbing champion set her ESBRU personal best of 12:45 back in 2001. Don’t expect to see a sub 13 minute time at this year’s event, but if Harris can get in around the 13.38 she clocked to take third in 2019, then that will likely be good enough to earn her a fifth ESBRU title.

Shari Klarfeld (USA)

A road runner who competes at 5km and 10km, Shari Klarfeld is the least experienced tower runner on the list – but she’s also one of the most formidable. She typically does just one stair race a year – the Empire State Building Run-Up – and she does it well. Klarfeld was third at the ESBRU in 2015 and again in 2018, and took fourth in 2019.

She’s had some good results at local road races over the past year and a bit, so seems to be in decent shape. Her personal best time at the Empire State Building is 13.43. If she can run another sub 14-minute time then expect to see her back on the podium.

Meg Santanna (USA)
Meg Santanna (second from the right)

Santanna was third at the ESBRU in 2017 with a 13.51 finishing time. But her times at the following two events were considerably slower (14.50 and 14.22 respectively), so who knows which Santanna will show up. With tower runs only recently starting up again in the US, and Santanna absent from them, it’s impossible to say how she might fare on Tuesday night.

She has finished ahead of most of the other athletes on the start list at one race or another, so we expect to see her in the top five and possibly back on the podium.

Maria Elisa Lopez Pimentel (Mexico)

The only non-American athlete on the start list, Lopez Pimentel is a highly accomplished stair climber well used to competing at big races. She’s got lots of experience racing in the States, and has been on the podium at Scale the Strat in Las Vegas and the Dallas Vertical Mile. She made her ESBRU debut in 2018 and finished an impressive fourth with a time of 14.17. She ran even faster in 2019 (14.05) and that earned her fifth.

Will be no surprise to see her on the podium this time around and depending how quick the race is a win isn’t completely out of the question either.

Anna Carlson (USA)

Carlson debuted at the ESBRU in 2019 and took seventh in a time of 14.29. Just before the pandemic pulled the rug out from under the 2020 tower running season, she took second at the US stair climbing championship at Scale the Strat, Las Vegas. Only 13 seconds behind Cindy Harris that day, her time indicated she had made serious improvements and had a strong tower running season ahead of her.

She has spent 2021 competing in triathlons, with her last race just earlier this month, so she is in shape for sure. But can she translate triathlon fitness to the demands of the 86 stories of the Empire State Building? A very solid option if you’re picking your podium finishers.

Debbie Officer (USA)

Officer already has a tower run victory under her belt this year. She took a commanding win at the 1,197-step 555 California St. building in San Francisco back in September. That recent stair racing experience will certainly help on Tuesday night, but Officer will need a massive improvement on the 16.04 she clocked at the ESBRU in 2019 if she’s to be in among the top finishers.

Tricia O’Hara (USA)

A well-known stair climber in the USA (although she lives abroad), O’Hara has been racing the ESBRU for a number of years and clocked her personal best 15.36 at the event in 2019. A strong athlete, but unlikely to feature among the top finishers this time around.

Verity Rees (USA)

Rees took second in an 861-step stair race in Tampa, Florida earlier this month, so is coming into the ESBRU in shape. She clocked a respectable 15.28 on her ESBRU debut in 2019. Imagine she’ll be looking to cut a chunk off that PB, but unlikely to see her competing for the podium.

Olga Starikova (USA)

Another familiar name to anyone who follows US stair climbing, Starikova has been on the circuit for a few years now, with some podium places to her name.

She finished the ESBRU in 2019 in 15.53. With the winner on Tuesday expected to clock sub 14-minutes, or close to it, we don’t anticipate seeing Starikova in the running for the top third of the leaderboard.

Unable to attend

Valentina Belotti (ITA) – unable to travel

Cristina Bonacina (ITA) – injured

Kamila Chomanicova (SVK) – unable to travel

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It’s been 18 years since an American athlete won the Empire State Building Run-Up, but could the drought be set to come to an end on Tuesday night?

You have to go all the way back to 2003, when Cindy Harris (then still Moll) avenged her 2002 loss to Germany’s Kerstin Harbich, to find the last American winner of the world’s longest-running stair race. But this year’s Empire State Building Run-Up looks like the best chance the USA have of producing another champion, at least in the women’s division.

The 43rd Empire State Building Run-Up is now just days away, and with 10-time champion Suzy Walsham – who was undefeated in New York since 2013 – back in Australia, the path is clear for a new champion to be crowned.

In Walsham’s absence, Italian mountain running legend Valentina Belotti was hotly tipped to win this year’s event, but travel restrictions on people entering the USA from Europe mean she’s unable to attend. Fellow in-form European Kamila Chomanicova of Slovakia also misses out.

That leaves just Mexico’s Maria Elisa Lopez Pimentel as the last hurdle for the American athletes that make up the rest of the elite women’s wave to cross in order to end the drought of a home-athlete victory.

Lopez Pimentel was fourth at the ESBRU in 2018 and fifth in 2019. At each of those races she finished behind Cindy Harris (yes she’s still competing at the top, 18 years after the last of her four wins) and Shari Klarfeld.

Harris and Klarfeld are both set to race on Tuesday, so Lopez Pimentel will likely have to put in a strong personal best performance to prevent the 2021 ESBRU title staying in the US.

With tower running having been practically shut down for well over a year due to the pandemic, it’s hard to know what sort of form the athletes are in. Lopez Pimentel is probably capable of pulling off a win, but going on past form at the Empire State Building, it’s looking like we’ll see an American on top of the podium come Tuesday evening.

Keep an eye out in the next couple of days for our rundown of the athletes set to race in the women’s (and men’s) elite division.

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