Posts Tagged ‘Mickael Pourcelot’

La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel is just a week away and the excitement is building for one of the biggest events in the tower running calendar.

Experienced tower runner Mickaël Pourcelot is one of the athletes set to compete in Paris and TV channel France 3 recently did a short profile on him ahead of the race.

Check it out below – rough English transcript underneath the video.

Transcript (rough translation):

Climbing the 288 steps of this tower…a nightmare for some…a passion for others. Mickael Pourcelot climbs these 18 floors in 67 seconds. He practices tower running: running up stairs.

Mickaël Pourcelot: “The idea is to go as quickly as possible. So we take the steps two by two. You have to use whatever’s possible to use, like the rails on the sides to project yourself forward and then support yourself, because the thighs burn quite quickly. There’s also a technique to work the turns, to grab the railings on the other side and use them to help you pivot and accelerate through all the turns.”

Mickaël discovered this sport by accident during the Telethon 2017. The test consisted of climbing the 1,000 steps of the Montparnasse Tower. A test in which he excelled, surprisingly. Since then he has competed around the world and collected trophies.

One of his favourite races: that of the Eiffel Tower. His goal in 2020 is to finish in the top 10 of this event.


Five French men have been selected to represent the host nation in the Elite division at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel 2020.

We take a look at who they are and assess their chances on Wednesday 11th March.

Laurent Vicente

Laurent Vicente coureur2

Vicente is one of the few men to have competed at every edition of La Verticale since it began in 2015, and he’s never finished outside of the top 17. Although he’s more familiar than most with the steps of the Eiffel Tower, Vicente is typically found on the trails and mountains. As such, it’s hard to estimate how he’ll fare over the shortened course of 665 steps on 11 March. With a sub 32-minute 10km PB, the Montpellier-man has evident speed. Will he be able to translate that across three rounds of 665 steps? It will be a surprise not to see him make the final, but don’t expect him to break into the top 10 this time.


Matthieu Gandolfi

Matthieu Gandolfi

Gandolfi, who’s also primarily a trail and mountain runner (with cycling and cross-country skiing thrown in the mix as well), was ninth on his debut at La Verticale last year, so knows his way around the Eiffel Tower. If the regular action posted on his Instagram account is anything to go by, then he’ll definitely be coming into the race in top shape. But Gandolfi isn’t a tower runner, and that has to be a factor. Expect to see him pushing for another top 10 finish, but given the far more experienced sprint stair climbers in the mix it will be a surprise if he does better than the ninth place he took last year.


Mickaël Pourcelot

Mickael Pourcelot

The top French tower runner on the circuit right now, the format change at La Verticale this year really suits Pourcelot. He debuted at the Eiffel Tower in 2018 (finishing 12th) and was back in 2019 (18th), so knows the course, but he’s better suited to shorter races. Pourcelot’s fantastic results last season included first at The Tower Run Montparnasse (1,000 steps) in Paris, third at the Broadgate Tower Run Up (836 steps) in London, fifth at VertiGo (954 steps) in Paris and third at KoelnTurm Treppenlauf (705 steps) in Cologne. The switch to 665 steps at La Verticale gives him his best opportunity to break into the top 10 for the first time. It will be no simple task, though.


Guillaume Tiphène

Guillaume Tiphene

A highly accomplished trail/mountain runner and marathoner (2:31 PB), Tiphène will be making his La Verticale debut this year. A regular on the podium on the trail running circuit in France, he is a serious prospect. Can the Toulouse-based athlete quickly make the adjustment to the stairs? We think so. He should make the final, and we expect him to be pushing towards the top 15, at least. He’s one of the dark horses in the whole Elite division and we’re excited to see how he gets on.


Joris Jacquard

Joris Jacquard (2)

Jacquard has plenty of stair running experience. He was third at the Tower Run Montparnasse in September, 2019, and won the Ultra division at the Star Challenge in Gdansk, Poland in December. He has already been racing internationally this year, competing at the Aon Center in Chicago where he finished seventh. He’ll be making his debut at La Verticale in March and will be expecting to finish inside the top 20 in order to make the final.