Posts Tagged ‘piotr lobodzinski’

Piotr Lobodzinski and Suzy Walsham took the first victories in the 2018 Vertical World Circuit on Sunday at the Lotte World Tower International Sky Run in Seoul, Korea.

Just a week on from their respective World Championship wins in Taipei, the pair raced up 2,917 steps to the top of the world’s fifth tallest building to kick off the nine-race VWC series.

Lobodzinski extended his unbeaten run in 2018 by holding off the challenge from Australia’s Mark Bourne and Japanese star Riyoji Watanabe.

The Bull of Bielsk Podlaski reached the top of the 550+ metre tower in 15.53, with Bourne behind in 16.16. Watanabe finished in 17.19.

It was Lobodzinski’s 123rd stair climb event, and coincidentally and fittingly the race covered 123 floors.

 

For Walsham it was a more comfortable victory as she finished over a minute faster than her nearest rival en route to setting a new course record of 18.45, two seconds faster than the time she set at the tower’s inaugural race last year.

Korea’s Ji Eun Kim gave the locals something to cheer about as she took second in 19.49.

Alice McNamara from Australia came in third in 20.08. Having missed the World Championship last weekend due to illness, McNamara will surely be extremely happy with taking a hefty 12 seconds off her time from 2017. A great return to competition.

The next stage in the series takes place on Thursday 24th May at Tour First in Paris.

London, which was announced last week as host for the penultimate event in the nine-race series, will be the only other European venue.

Like us on Facebook for updates on upcoming events and tower running news from the UK and around the world.

 

Advertisements

Piotr ‘Showtime’ Lobodzinski stormed to victory at Taipei 101 on Saturday to secure his second consecutive tower running world title.

In a dominant performance, the 32-year-old Polish star won both races in the two-part championship format to finish well clear of second-placed rival Christian Riedl.

The championship event began with a ‘sprint’ up the first 35 floors of Taipei 101. Although Lobodzinski was a clear pre-race favourite, it was in this shorter race that he was expected to face his toughest test. But in the end it wasn’t nearly as close as some had anticipated.

Setting off first at just before 7.30am local time, Lobodzinski powered up 824 steps in just 3.39. He was followed into the stairwell by known speedster Frank Carreno, who some had anticipated winning the sprint event.

However, the Colombian athlete, who won the Empire State Building Run Up 2018 back in February, was some way off the blistering pace set by Showtime. Carreno finished in 3.50, with Germany’s Riedl third in 3.55.

Less than 90 minutes later the athletes were back at the start line ready for the second race of the day. This time they would be going up 2,046 stairs to the 91st floor of Taipei 101.

With Lobodzinski undefeated in 2018, and rarely beaten in longer races, he was largely expected to take the win in the longer race. Pre-race speculation had considered the chances of Mark Bourne, one of the only men to have beaten Lobodzinski in a tall tower in recent years, presenting a challenge, but it wasn’t to be.

Lobodzinski reached the 91st floor in 11.11, with Riedl just behind in second (11.15) and Japan’s Riyoji Watanabe in third (11.48). Carreno was fourth in 11.49 and Bourne fifth, just a few hundredths of a second behind the Colombian.

31949325_2100704476921718_5469756879997501440_o

The top six men at the tower running World Championship 2018: (l-r) Riyoji Watanabe, Christian Riedl, Piotr Lobodzinski, Frank Carreno, Mark Bourne, Gorge Heimann.

With maximum points from both races, Lobodzinski was crowned World Champion. A third-place and second-place finish across both races secured Christian Riedl second place overall, while Frank Carreno did enough in both races to take third place.

With his win in Taipei, Lobodzinski adds a second world title to the one he won in 2015 in Doha.

What next for the Polish superstar? The nine-event Vertical World Circuit (VWC) begins next week in Seoul at the Lotte Tower. Lobodzinski was beaten there last year by Mark Bourne, so will be expected to return to Korea to exact revenge and set himself up on the way to another VWC title. In this sort of form, who would bet against him?

Like us on Facebook for updates on upcoming events and tower running news from the UK and around the world.

 

In less than 48 hours time the 2018 tower running world champion will be crowned. Who will it be?

2015 world champion and current world number one Piotr ‘Showtime’ Lobodzinski is the understandable pre-race favourite. In March, the Polish star took victory at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel, holding off the challenge from most of the same top-level rivals he’ll face in Taipei on Saturday. In fact, Lobodzinski finished a fairly comfortable 15 seconds ahead of second place Christian Riedl in Paris.

The best in the world have been fairly quiet since that talent-stacked race in March. Jakob Mayer, Frank Carreno and Tomas Celko were in Valtellina last month taking on the 2,700-step course there, but Riedl, Bourne and Lobodzinski have kept a fairly low profile as they prepared for this weekend’s championship.

Based solely on recent form, and specifically the result from Paris, picking Lobodzinski to retain his world title appears to be the smart bet. The Pole seems to be in almost unbeatable form.

But taking a look at results going back the last few years, it starts to look a lot less straightforward.

Who can beat Lobodzinski?

lobodzinski-c2a9iancorless-com_c2a9iancorless-com_vwc_vertigo2017

The World Championship format consists of two races. Race one is up 824 steps of Taipei 101 and race two, 90 minutes later, will be a full run of the tower up 91 floors/2,046 steps. Points will be assigned to the top 50 and the person with the most combined points after the two races will be world champion. If points are tied after the two rounds, highest finishing position in race two will determine the overall winner.

With the most prestigious races on the tower running circuit happening at towers with more than 1,500 steps it’s not so easy to find shorter events where the world’s elite have gone head-to-head. But there have been some races that give an indication of how the top male stair climbers fare against each other in shorter races.

The Rondo 1 event in Warsaw, Poland is run over 836-steps/38 floors; very close to the distance of race one at the World Championship. Back in February, Lobodzinski took a fairly comfortable win there, finishing 11 seconds ahead of Germany’s Christian ‘The Eclipse’ Riedl.

But go a bit further back to the Grand Prix of Europe races in Vienna and Brno in September 2017 and Showtime looks a lot more mortal over the shorter distance.

At the 779-step Danube Tower in Vienna, Lobodzinski beat ‘The Zilina Avalanche’ Tomas Celko by just one second. The following day in Brno, Czech Republic, at the 700-step AZ Tower, it was Celko who came out on top, finishing three seconds ahead of Showtime.

Mark Bourne tends not to compete at shorter distances, purely because the towers with races in Australia and Asia are massive. Estimating how he might do over 824 steps is an all-important unknown.

But Lobodzinski can be taken on the short course. Celko and Riedl will be pushing him hard for sure, and he is in no way guaranteed maximum points in that first race. On the long course, his dominance is a bit more established and he is very rarely beaten. But Bourne can beat him over that distance and he has done it several times before.

Bourne vs Lobodzinski: a recent history

These two have clashed multiple times, and the Australian has probably beaten Lobodzinski in the mega-towers more times than any other stair climber on the circuit has managed to do (to be fair, very few have).

In April 2017 the pair faced off at the 1st Lotte World Tower Skyrun in Seoul, Korea. The race at the fifth tallest building in the world goes up 2,917 steps. Bourne kept Lobodzinski in second place there, finishing 14 seconds ahead of him.

mark-bourne_lwt-sky-run_17

Mark Bourne wins the Lotte World Tower Sky Run 2017

Then in October 2017, Bourne took victory ahead of Showtime when they raced at Two Shanghai IFC in China. That was over 1,958 steps and Bourne won by nine seconds.

Three weeks later they met again at the 1,621-step Harukas Tower in Osaka, Japan, and Lobodzinski exacted revenge on ‘The Canberra Assassin’, finishing 13 seconds ahead.

Two weeks after that, it was Lobodzinski again who took the spoils, this time at the mammoth 3,398-stair Shanghai Tower, the second-tallest building in the world. Bourne was pushed back into third by Christian Riedl.

La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel in March was the last time the pair met. Lobodzinski made it four wins in a row at the iconic Parisian landmark, while Bourne finished in fourth.

7611975_b3cd436c-290c-11e8-8762-ff73745f8155-1_1000x625

Lobodzinski on his way to winning La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel 2018

So, despite Lobodzinski having the upper hand in their last three races, Bourne has shown on multiple occasions that he is more than a match. He has the ability to win the full-length race on Saturday.

How do they compare at Taipei 101?

taipei-101-tower

If we go back a little further and compare the two at Taipei 101, we add another potentially significant element to the discussion.

In 2013 Bourne beat Lobodzinski by 20 seconds on his way to setting the third fastest time ever clocked at the tower. Riedl was third.

In 2014, the podium looked exactly the same. This time, though, Lobodzinski had significantly narrowed the gap and was only four seconds behind Bourne.

Bourne was missing from the race in 2015, and Lobodzinski took his first and only win at the venue.

Neither man was there in 2016, and Bourne returned last year to take victory, with Lobodzinski absent.

So, between the two, Bourne has the fastest time at the World Championship venue and the most recent win. This is sure to give him the confidence to look beyond the most recent results between them at other towers.

If Bourne can stay within touching distance of Showtime in the shorter distance race, i.e. no more than one place behind him, then he will put himself in genuine contention for seriously competing for the title in the final race on Saturday morning.

Like us on Facebook for updates on upcoming events and tower running news from the UK and around the world.

The tower running World Championship 2018 is almost here. On Saturday 5th May, the world’s best tower runners will do battle on the stairs of Taipei 101 to decide who will be crowned world champion.

We take a look at the venue, the course records, previous winners and the World Championship race format to keep you in the know ahead of Saturday’s big event.

The venue

f15f7b57ab31c217f471c6712a2654e0-taipei-101

Formerly the world’s tallest building, Taipei 101 stands just over 509m tall. With the completion of the Burj Khalifa in 2010 it was knocked to second tallest building in the world, and in the years since then it has been eclipsed by eight other super towers. It’s worth having a read of the Wikipedia entry for Taipei 101, as it’s a very interesting building from an architectural and engineering standpoint and has also been internationally recognised for its ‘green’ credentials and sustainability efforts over the years. It’s a really prestigious venue for the World Championship.

The race stairwell is right-turning and has 2,046 steps, spread over 91 floors (of the building’s eponymous 101). The bulk of the steps at the building are notoriously tall. Somewhat uniquely, the landings include two additional steps between flights; so you reach the top of one flight, pivot 90°, take a step up, pivot again 90° and go up the next flight. That unfamiliar step layout is sure to throw a few racers out of their rhythm on race day and previous race experience in the tower will likely be a factor in the final standings.

Australia’s Alice McNamara won the Taipei 101 Run Up in 2016 and spoke about her experience there:

‘Taipei 101 has the challenge of a very steep, continuous staircase…there are no landings, just a 10-2-7-2 stair configuration all the way up. It is almost like climbing a steep spiral staircase on the 2 stair “landings” so it was very important to use the handrail on my right hand side to partially pull myself up.’

American stair climb legend, Kristin Renshaw (nee Frey), detailed her experience of the race in 2012 where she finished third, and the stairs sound pretty imposing when you read her description:

‘When I hit the monster steps, I knew it! They were exponentially larger than the ones we started climbing [on the lower floors of Taipei 101]; these steps were taller than any I’d ever encountered. I thought the steps in my training building were of decent size, especially the last two floors where they get taller and steeper, and Sears is known for having some giant steps, but those paled in comparison to the steps in the 101 tower.’

Course records

Taipei 101 got straight onto stair climb events when it opened, hosting its first race on Sunday 20th November 2005, less than a year after officially opening to the public.

The current men’s and women’s course records were set that day in 2005 and no one has come particularly close to beating them in the intervening years.

Former competitive cyclist Paul Crake (AUS) set the men’s record of 10.29. There’s an excellent interview with him on YouTube, which we highly recommend, where he talks about his life before and after the accident that left him paralysed.

Paul Crake 2005

Australian Paul Crake setting the course record in 2005 at the inaugural Taipei 101 Run Up

It’s important to put Crake’s record time at Taipei 101 into context for those perhaps unfamiliar with his tower running accomplishments. In 2015 world number one Piotr Lobodzinski won at Taipei in 11.08 and in 2016, current world number two, Frank Carreno won the race in 11.47.

Australia’s Mark Bourne (current world number five and last year’s winner) has come closest to Crake, taking victory in 2013 in a time of 10.52 and in 2014 in 10.54. Former world number one, and seven time ESBRU winner, Thomas Dold (GER) managed to finish in 10.58 at the 2008 event, while Piotr Lobodzinski also managed a sub-11 time of 10.58 in 2014, when finishing second behind Bourne.

Impressive as they are, those sub-11 times are still quite some way off the incredible record set by Crake.

201705060024t0001

Course record holder Paul Crake (left) received a lifetime achievement award at the Taipei 101 Run Up 2017

Reigning world champion Andrea Mayr, who sadly is out of this year’s event, set the women’s record of 12.38. In a similar way to Crake, Mayr’s time has remained largely unrivalled since 2005, and she is one of only two women to have gone under 13 minutes in the event’s history.

Mayr also clocked 12.54 in 2007, while Italian Valentina Belotti managed 12.54 on her way to winning in 2013.

Andrea Mayr

Andrea Mayr sets the women’s course record of 12.38 in 2005.

Taipei 101 Run Up winners: 2005-2017
  • 2005  Paul Crake (AUS) 10.29 and Andrea Mayr (AUT) 12.38
  • 2006 – Paul Crake (AUS) 10.31 and Andrea Mayr (AUT) 13.28
  • 2007  Marco De Gasperi (ITA) 11.39 and Andrea Mayr (AUT) 12.54
  • 2008  Thomas Dold (GER) 10.53 and Jenny Hsiao-yu Li (TWN) 14.53
  • 2009 – Thomas Dold (GER) 11.05 and Suzy Walsham (AUS) 14.20
  • 2010 – Marco De Gasperi (ITA) 11.09 and Melissa Moon (NZL) 14.16
  • 2011 – Thomas Dold (GER) 11.19 and Valentina Belotti (ITA) 13.51
  • 2012 – Mark Bourne (AUS) 11.26 and Valentina Belotti (ITA) 13.21
  • 2013 – Mark Bourne (AUS) 10.52 and Valentina Belotti (ITA) 12.54
  • 2014 – Mark Bourne (AUS) 10.54 and Valentina Belotti (ITA) 13.22
  • 2015 – Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) 11.08 and Suzy Walsham (AUS) 13.16
  • 2016 – Frank Carreño (COL) 11.47 and Alice McNamara (AUS) 14.23
  • 2017 – Mark Bourne (AUS) 11.24 and Suzy Walsham (AUS) 13.36
Race format

The World Championship event will be played out over two races, with the climber scoring the most points from the two races combined becoming the 2018 world champion.

The first heat will be a shorter race up to the 35th floor (824 steps). That will start at 7.30am local time (12.30am UK time), with runners being set off every 30 seconds. All TWA registered stair climbers in attendance will take part. Points will be assigned to the top 50 finishers in the male and female categories.

The final will start at 8.30am local time, and will be a full run up 2,046 steps to the the top of the tower. Again, runners will be set off at 30-second intervals and points will be assigned to the top 50 finishers in the male and female categories.

This new race format is a marked shift from the 2015 World Championship. At that event in Doha, Qatar the final was limited to the top 30 finishers in the male and female divisions in the first heat, which unlike this event was open to all. What’s more, finishing positions in the second heat that year determined start positions on an F1-style grid format in the final the following day.

11067494_365667263629430_8982257902173686231_n

Piotr Lobodzinski takes off from pole position on the grid at the 2015 tower running World Championship in Doha, Qatar

The grid was set 150m back from the tower entrance and athletes had to run in to the stairwell. This allowed for a few position changes before the athletes even hit the stairs, which didn’t sit well with some.

Obviously, logistics mean that the event at Taipei 101 needs to be done and dusted on the Saturday, but the very limited recovery period (90 minutes) between the first round and final seems unduly harsh on the competitors. The short recovery period is certainly going to unstick some of them, and make their second climb unpleasant. It would be fairer to have the final at the very end of the day’s events, after all the non-elite and corporate teams have finished.

The removal of a pre-run into the tower is welcomed, though. As purists, we think all races should start as close to the stairs as possible.

We won’t get into a full discussion of what we consider all the pros and cons of the differing race formats, but we do think there should be a move towards uniformity at future championships, where possible. But of course the World Championship is very much in its infancy and some experimentation with the format is to be expected at this stage.

The World Championship was initially scheduled for 2017 in China, with the plan for the tower running World Championship to follow the biennial pattern of its track and field cousin. Last year’s very late cancellation was a bitter disappointment for fans, but the Taipei 101 race is sure to be an excellent one and we are super hyped for this exciting event.

Will Showtime Lobodzinski retain his world title or can Mark Bourne take victory for a record fifth time at Taipei 101? With reigning world champion Andrea Mayr out of the event, is there anyone left to pose a significant challenge to the almost invincible Suzy Walsham?

Keep an eye out later this week for our guide to the top athletes taking part in the 2018 tower running World Championship.

Like us on Facebook for updates on upcoming events and tower running news from the UK and around the world.

The tower running season took off fully last weekend, with races in Italy, USA and Dubai. With the world number one and number four both in action, we take a look at some of the key results.

Vertical Run Almas Tower

World tower running champion, Piotr ‘Showtime’ Lobodzinski is currently in the UAE ahead of Friday’s exhibition race in Abu Dhabi, which he has been helping to promote. He was in nearby Dubai on Saturday to take part in the 1,600 step Vertical Run Almas Tower.

almastowerdubaiuae_thumb

The 64-floor Almas Tower in Dubai

Despite a highly competitive field of athletes, that included Rolf Majcen and Iman Koushki, Lobodzinski showed once again that he is in a different league.

Victory for the Bull of Bielsk Podlaski was never in doubt as he sauntered to a winning time of 8:07. Behind him in second place was Ugandan Ismail Ssenyange, who has a 62min half marathon, 2.18 marathon and 30min 10km performances on his record. Ssenyange managed an impressive 8:43, but was some way off the Polish superstar.

Third place was taken by Kenya’s Henry Kipsang, another highly accomplished road runner. A 2.13 marathoner, he was just behind in 8:45. The UK’s very own Paul ‘The Puppet Master’ Faulkner put in a brilliant performance to take fourth place in a time of 8:58.

The extent of Lobodzinski’s win against this level of high-caliber road runners shows what a brilliant athlete he is, and also highlights how the physical requirements needed for fast times on the flat don’t always translate to fast times on the stairs.

16195000_594943680701786_8490660936857100220_n

The top three at Vertical Run Almas Tower in Dubai

In the women’s division it was another Pole who came out on top. Anna Celinska has previously medalled at a long-distance mountain running world championship and was third in the Polish marathon championship in 2014. She managed to finish 13th overall in Dubai, in a time of 10:31.

That was 20 seconds ahead of Russia’s Natalia Sedykh (10:52), who is a highly experienced ultra runner and was a stage winner at the 2016 Marathon Des Sables.

Third place in the ladies division went to another excellent road runner, Amina Mhih (11:56) from Morocco.

Latina Vertical Sprint

Over in Latina, Italy there was a Towerrunning World Association 60 point race. An initial qualifying round whittled the field down to the top ten men and top five women, and among them were some big tower running names.

torre-pontina-2

Torre Pontina: venue for the Latina Vertical Sprint (702 steps)

‘The Zilina Avalanche’ Tomas Celko took the spoils in a time of 3:14, setting a new course record in the process. Italy’s Fabio “Stair Charmer” Ruga was just behind in 3:20.

Lenka “Czech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself” Svabikova aka “Shredder” aka “Operation Abs” took a straightforward win in the women’s division.

There were a number of results out of the USA as their stair climbing season got under way. With multiple climb options at all three different events, we found it a bit of a challenge to do write ups for each race. But we hope to have a post on those races before the week is out, so be sure to check back.

We will note, though, that we were highly pleased to see Justin Stewart back on the stairs taking a win in Indianapolis. One of the finest stair climbers in the USA, we firmly believe that given the chance he could be the man to challenge the European stronghold on the TWA rankings. If only it were that simple.

Like us on Facebook for updates on results and upcoming events, plus all you need to know about tower running here in the UK.

Piotr “Showtime” Lobodzinski, the reigning tower running world champion, shares some race advice and training tips in this video from Physique TV.

Yo, what’s up fellow tower running results geeks? It’s been a busy few weeks at Tower Running UK HQ and so we haven’t had the chance to review recent races. But we are back now and are gonna fly through all the action of the last few weeks, over the course of a few posts, where there have been some big races all over the world.

In the words of the Wu Tang Clan, “let’s take it back to ’79”, or more accurately to May 17th, when three races took place. One of these was in Warsaw, Poland where the slayer of the barbarian hordes, the defender of chastity, the Bull of Bielsk Podlaski, Piotr “Showtime” Lobodzinski extended his winning streak with a comfortable victory up the 959 steps of the Hotel Intercontinental in a time of 4.43. Fastest woman on the day was Iwona “The Shredded Siren” Wicha, who also bagged a ninth place overall finish. Zoooooom!!!!

Piotr Lobodzinski in full flight at the Intercontinental Tower Run (©Andrzej Chomczyk - http://www.sztukakadru.pl/)

Piotr Lobodzinski in full flight at the Intercontinental Tower Run (©Andrzej Chomczyk – http://www.sztukakadru.pl/)

Over in New York there was, by all accounts, a great event held at One World Trade Center One for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. As the first fully public stair climb at the building, which has been open for about six months, it attracted a deep field of some of the best climbers from across the USA and beyond. The gruelling race covered 90 floors, with 1,970 stairs.

One World Trade Center in New York City

One World Trade Center, pride of place on the New York City skyline

At the top end of the leader board was the stair climbing triumvirate of the East Coast, who were battling for top honors against some of Europe’s leading stars. Coming out victorious was Tim “The Scarlet Pimpernel” Donahue aka Don Juanahue (11.38) who battled for first place with “The Ghost” aka Sproule ‘Tough” Love aka Viscount Greystoke (11.58). Donahue had already won the inaugural run at Four World Trade Center last year so looks like he is on a mission to collect the whole set.

The Champion Arrives: Tim Donahue taking victory at Four World Trade Center in 2014

The Champion Arrives: Tim Donahue taking victory at Four World Trade Center in 2014

The final podium spot went to “The Wanderer” Rolf Majcen from Austria (12.14), who was coming off the back of a solid win in Hanoi. He narrowly edged out The Schenectady Express (12.20) to scupper an all New York one, two, three.

The ladies section of the race was equally exciting with two of the best stair climbers in the States going head-to-head once more in New York. Back in February at ESBRU, “The Oracle” Stephanie Hucko battled closely for second place with Shari “You Just Got Chicked” Klarfeld aka “The Plainview Panther”, with Hucko nicking the silver spot then by just five seconds.

The battle this time around was just as tightly fought, with The Oracle once again holding off the ever-strong Klarfeld to take the win in a time of 13.57. Klarfeld finished just 11 seconds behind her in 14.08. Tricia “The Triumph” O’Hara aka “San Fran Damn!!” took a well-earned third place.

Congratulations to all who took part in the event. Special mention to the West Coast Labels team who not only dominated the top spots but also took the Top Fundraising team spot, by raising an incredible $26,010.

Over in Malaysia there was a massive turn out for the 14th International Towerthon in Kuala Lumpur. The race took place at the city’s Menara Tower, with competitors tasked with climbing 2,058 stairs.

The Menara Tower in Kuala Lumpur

The Menara Tower in Kuala Lumpur

The top three spots were all taken by Kenyans, with overall victory there going to Enock Kipchirchir Kigen. We gave a knowing nod when we saw that the Kenyans had arrived on the scene. With that country’s rich athletic heritage, especially in the steeplechase and the 5000m, it will be exciting to see if their athletes can make a solid transition into the sport of tower running. Just one of the many things to watch out for as this sport continues to grow in popularity.

Like us on Facebook for updates on results and upcoming events.