Posts Tagged ‘Piotr Lobodzinski’

Lobodzinski La Vertical Tour Eiffel 2019

Piotr Lobodzinski recently caught up with Polish running website bieganie.pl to talk all things tower running, and it’s a fantastic read.

The candid interview covers a good range of topics that give excellent insight into the two-time tower running world champion.

Some of the highlights include:

  • His early adventures in sports and athletics and his move into tower running back in 2011
  • How the COVID-19 lockdown and shut down of scheduled tower runs in the first half of 2020 has killed his motivation to train
  • Running a 3:14 marathon with no specific training back in 2006
  • Why he doesn’t own a TV
  • His hopes of running a sub-30 minute 10km
  • Why he likes ‘technical routes’ and why the staircase in the Eiffel Tower suits him so well

Check out the full article through the link below:

Piotr Lobodzinski interview with bieganie.pl

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Almas Tower Dubai

Soh Wai Ching secured his first ever win over world champion Piotr Lobodzinski at Almas Tower in Dubai this morning (Feb. 1).

The world number two from Malaysia climbed the 1,600-step tower in 7:59, to finish ahead of Lobodinski (8:01) and Emanuele Manzi (8:21) and secure the £2,000 prize money.

The race up the seventh-tallest building in Dubai, was the first in 2020 for both tower runners.

Poland’s Lobodzinski, who had never lost a race in Dubai, was going for his fifth straight win at Almas Tower.

The win for Wai Ching signals a fantastic start to the season for the young Malaysian who has his eyes set on the world number one spot and the World Championship title, which will be on the line at Taipei 101 in May.

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A 🥇 to kickstart year 2020! Also my first time in Dubai, UAE. Thanks to my families, friends, Towerrunning Community, fans for the support! This is for you all. Always dreaming and hoping to give a surprise to everybody, happy that today is the day! Have this dream since the first race with Piotr back in Beijing Vertical Run on 26th Aug 2017. Took me 2.5 years of hardwork to be on par and finally a win out of 23 meets. *I know I still have room to improve and will continue to work hard to be there! Team up with Suzy, Valentina and Emanuele Manzi for the relay run (each person cover 16 floors). We are 4 seconds behind an all Men Team! So close! #TenagaNasionalBerhad #GreenAcreCapital #MMTF #BauerfeindMalaysia #BlackRollMalaysia #MalaysiaTowerrunningAssociation #MasTowerRunner *3 men still on the list. *About 6 weeks to Eiffel Tower where all of them will be there!

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A loss so early in the season is uncharted territory for Lobodzinski. Last season he amassed at least 10 victories before taking second place behind a resurgent Mark Bourne three times at the end of the season.

It opens the season up perfectly, with a little over five weeks before the pair clash again at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel on 11 March.

Vertical Run Almas Tower 2020 results

Eiffel tower at night

La Verticale de La Tour Eiffel 2020 is set for March and all eyes will be on Paris for the biggest race in the European tower running calendar.

The sixth edition of the event, which takes place on the evening of Wednesday 11th March, has a strong line up of some of the best tower runners in the world. In the men’s division, world champion Piotr Lobodzinski is back to defend his title. Alongside the Polish superstar in Paris will be 24 others looking to do the impossible and unseat the five-time winner.

Read on to find out who’s who in the elite men’s division at the 2020 La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel.

The Eiffel Tower stair race has come a long way from the earliest editions in 1905 and 1906.

forestier the favourite 1905

Eugene Forestier – winner of the 1905 Eiffel Tower stair race

The latest version of the race began in 2015 and year-on-year it’s packed full of athletic talent from around the world. Just 25 men have been selected to compete in the elite category at the 2020 edition.

As the only winner, Piotr Lobodzinski is always the pre-race favourite in Paris. But this year, due to scheduled renovations on the tower, the format of the event has changed dramatically. Does the new set up increase the chances of the Pole missing out on top spot for the first time ever?

The 2020 La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel race format

Instead of the traditional climb to the top of the 1,665-step tower, the new format looks like this:

  • 1st qualifying round – 131 competitors – 665 steps (to the second level)
  • 2nd qualifying round – 131 competitors – 665 steps
  • Final – 30 competitors (20 men, 10 women) – 665 steps

The final will be held in a pursuit format with the fastest athlete from the qualifying rounds setting off first. That pursuit format means positions on the grid will be all important, so expect to see the runners going all out in both qualifying rounds to secure the best spot.

For more details on the new format for 2020, including rest times between rounds, check out our full news story.

La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel winners and course record

2019 – Piotr Lobodzinski (7:53.97)

2018 – Piotr Lobodzinski (7:56.67)

2017 – Piotr Lobodzinski (7:54.76)

2016 – Piotr Lobodzinski (7:48.77 – course record)

2015 – Piotr Lobodzinski (7:50.93)

Eiffel-Disco_GettyImages-534953254

The step count of the altered format makes it quite hard to predict who will be among the top finishers come March. There aren’t many 650 to 700-step towers in the world where the top stair climbers have gone head-to-head.

But here’s our pick of 12 of the top racers to watch out for at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel.

Piotr Lobodzinski – Poland

Lobodzinski La Vertical Tour Eiffel 2019

The only man to have won La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel since it began back in 2015, Lobodzinski will be going for an incredible sixth win. He has run the Eiffel Tower course in under eight minutes every single time. To put that into perspective, only one other person has managed to do that even once – Christian Riedl in 2016. It’s a remarkable record, and proof that Lobodzinski completely rules this tower.

The Polish athlete won the Vertical World Circuit and Towerrunning Tour in 2019 and finished no lower than second in any race at all last year, winning the overwhelming majority of them. He ran the third fastest time ever at Taipei 101 at the start of May. 10 days later he became the second fastest person to ever run the Empire State Building when he won in 10:05.

He doesn’t tend to race in short buildings anymore, opting for super-tall international towers over smaller European venues. The shortest course he ran in 2019 was the 836-step Rondo 1 in Warsaw back in February, where he finished 14 seconds ahead of second-placed Görge Heimann.

But even though he hasn’t found chance to turn on the turbo boosters over short courses recently, we still know he is super fast.

Will Lobodzinski win a sixth-straight La Verticale title? The new format makes it so difficult to say, but bet against him at your peril.

@towerrunner

Mark Bourne – Australia

Mark Bourne Stairclimbing Australia

The only man to beat Lobodzinski in 2019, the Australian star managed it three times in a row at the end of last season.

Racing primarily at home and across Asia, Bourne rarely competes in the smaller towers some of his European rivals are familiar with, so it’s hard to know how he’ll fare in this short-course event.

He’ll make the final, of course, but does he have that raw pace to finish on top in the qualifiers and dominate the last run from the front?

We’re not sure he does. He’ll likely be in the mix for the top five, but the podium will prove elusive.

@markbournerun

Christian Riedl – Germany

Riedl finish

Despite winning the 2019 German Towerrunning Cup, Christian Riedl had a relatively quiet season last year. One of the best tower runners in the world throughout the 2010s, Riedl has been Lobodzinski’s closest rival for many years.

He was second to Lobodzinski at La Verticale in 2016-2018 and third in 2019. He also trailed the Pole when he won the world tower running championship in 2018.

We know Riedl is fast, as he’s proven by winning multiple short course events at European venues over the years. In 2019 he took wins at Hardy’s Hotelturmlauf (510 steps) and the ADAC Charity Treppenlauf (472 steps), as well as podium places at other short-course events.

It’s hard to imagine the German will be anywhere other than in the mix for the top three spots come race night if he’s at or near his best.

@christian.riedl.77

Jakob Mayer – Austria

Jakob Mayer la verticale de la tour eiffel 2020

After finishing second at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel last year (he was third in 2018), Jakob Mayer spent the rest of the 2019 season dominating the Red Bull 400 circuit in Europe. Two wins and two second-place finishes in the Red Bull 4TITUDE Challenge saw the Austrian crowned series champion at the finale in September.

The day before that finale, he set a new course record of 2:04.38 at the 441-step (plus uphill pre-run) Pyramidenkogel Turmlauf in Austria. He also won the Muensterturmlauf in Germany (560 stairs) in June.

Mayer has already got 2020 off to winning ways, with victories in the Lustenauer Cross Country Series.

Fast, super-strong and with a great engine, Mayer is once again going to be in contention for the top spot come March.

@jakob.mayer.athlete

Soh Wai Ching – Malaysia

Soh Wai Ching La Verticale 2020

The world number two had a fantastic 2019 season, picking up wins and podium spots around the world.

Ninth on his La Verticale debut in 2018, the Malaysian stepped it up last March and finished fourth, so he’s well aware of what to expect on the stairs of The Iron Lady.

We know he’s quick. Last year he became the fourth fastest person to ever run the 932 steps of Tower 42 in London when he won in 4:17. Among the three men faster than him at that London venue are fellow La Verticale 2020 rivals, Piotr Lobodzinski (3:59) and Fabio Ruga (4:11).

Expect Wai Ching to breeze to the final, and it will be a surprise not to see him somewhere back in the top five again.

@mastowerrunner

Fabio Ruga – Italy

Fabio Ruga mountain running Italia

The course record of 4:07 that Ruga set at The Gherkin in London back in 2010 still stands. We found out he was fast then, and a decade on he’s barely lost a step.

No stranger to success in the French capital, the Italian mountain runner won the VertiGO race at the 954-step Tour First last year by a clear margin, proving he still has speed.

He’s never finished outside of the top-10 at La Verticale, with the 6th place he took last year being his best result, and we don’t expect 2020 to be any different.

He will comfortably make the final, but we don’t expect to see him pushing for the top five.

@fabioruga

Tomas Celko – Slovakia

Tomas Celko 2020

The Slovakian is a well-known speedster on the tower running scene. In August 2019 he won the three-round UFO Vertical Sprint in Bratislava, holding off the next two entrants on our list, Alexis Trujillo and Michal Kovac.

It was a rare appearance from Celko, who had a fairly quiet tower running season. He was active on the Red Bull 400/ski jump running scene, winning in Zakopane for the second year in a row (a sixth title in total at the venue in Poland) and at the Vertikální Horečky in the Czech Republic.

After recovering from surgery at the end of last year, Celko has begun his recovery and returned to training. Will he be able to get back to full fitness and make it to Paris? If he can, expect him to be up among the fastest finishers heading into the final.

@tomascelko

Görge Heimann – Germany

Görge Heimann towerrunning

The oldest competitor on the list, at 51 years old, the ever-impressive Heimann continues to pull brilliant performances out of the hat on a regular basis.

He had a number of standout races in 2019, particularly in buildings with less than 1,000 steps. Among the highlights was a win at the 936-step Subida Vertical Gran Hotel Bali in Benidorm where he finished ahead of La Verticale rivals, Soh Wai Ching and Michal Kováč. He also took second at the highly competitive Rondo 1 race in Poland, finishing behind Piotr Lobodzinski. He was fastest at the Tallinn TV Tower (870 steps) in April and then finished ahead of Christian Riedl at the 705-step KoelnTurm Treppenlauf in Cologne in August.

Heimann’s best finish at La Verticale is 7th (2018) and you can expect him to do as well as that, if not better, on the evening of 11 March.

@goergeheimann

Michal Kováč – Slovakia

Michal Kovac towerrunner

Kováč was on the podium a bunch of times in 2019, proving himself a real force on the European tower running scene.

He was third at Rondo 1 in Warsaw in February and then second at London’s Vertical Rush in March. In August he took third at the three-round UFO Vertical Sprint in Bratislava and in October he was third at the 365-step sprint Beh Do Neba Zilina in Slovakia. He’s proven multiple times he has the speed to match his endurance.

He also made his La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel debut last year and finished in an impressive 7th.

Anticipate another top-10 finish this time around too.

@kovomiso

Alexis Trujillo – Mexico

Alexis Trujillo La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel

2019 was a big year for Trujillo as he finished as the world number three. Winning numerous races and finishing on the podium across multiple continents, he established himself as an international tower running star.

Among the most relevant results when assessing his chances at La Verticale is his second place at the three-round UFO Vertical Sprint in Bratislava in August. The Mexican had already shown he had the legs for the long races, but made it clear he is also lightning fast.

Back in Mexico he was second at the 636-step Carrera Vertical Torre Latino in March, then won the Carrera Vertical Uvm Campus Chapultepec (654 steps) in July and Carrera Towerrunning Tlaxcala (900 steps) in August.

Trujillo will expect to be in the fight for the top five, but the podium might be out of reach this time around.

@alexistrujillo_atl

Frank Carreno – Colombia

Frank Carreno towerrunning

Carreno has finished in 5th place at each La Verticale he’s contested (2017-2019). The Colombian is another known speedster on the tower running circuit and with the new short format favouring him, he’ll be looking to do even better than 5th place this year.

He has form over this sort of step count too. Last March he won the 636-step Carrera Vertical Torre Latino in 3:17, finishing 12 seconds ahead of Alexis Trujillo. Then, in September, he won the 500-step Carrera Vertical Hotsson Smart Acapulco.

If he gets to Paris in good shape, he should be right up there competing for the top places in the final.

@frankcarreno.towerrunning

Matjaž Mikloša – Slovenia

Matjaz Miklosa

Miklosa blew onto the UK tower running radar in 2015 when he set the fantastic 2:07 course record at the 530-step Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.

Last December he won the Zagrepcanka 512 in Zagreb, Croatia. That race involves two runs up 490 steps with a 10-minute rest between rounds. The format change at La Verticale suits him down to the ground.

Miklosa also took third place in the final standings of the Red Bull 4TITUDE Challenge 2019.

He’s never broken into the top 10 at La Verticale, but this could well be the year he manages it.

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Almas Tower Vertical Run 2020

World number ones Suzy Walsham and Piotr Lobodzinski will kick off their 2020 tower running seasons on Saturday (Feb.1) at the 1,600-step Almas Tower in Dubai.

Poland’s Lobodzinski will have to see off the challenge from world number two Soh Wai Ching (MYS) and Emanuele Manzi (ITA) if he is to secure his fifth win in a row at the 7th tallest tower in Dubai.

Walsham (AUS), who set the course record of 9:21 at the tower last year, will be challenged by the 2018 winner, and former record holder, Valentina Belotti (ITA).

It’s an exciting clash so early on in the season and will give a good insight into how the athletes have fared with their training in the small off-season since they last met in November at the Towerrunning Tour Final at Shanghai Tower.

At that race, Belotti secured her second win over Walsham in 2019, following her record-setting victory at Ostankino Tower, Moscow, in August. Walsham will be keen to get back to winning ways over the Italian, before the pair clash again at the Eiffel Tower in March.

On the line in Dubai will be around £2,000 for the fastest man and the fastest woman.

Dream Team assembled in new relay category

almas-tower-vertical-run

New for 2020 at the Vertical Run Almas Tower is a four person relay race, with each runner taking on 16 floors of the 64-floor tower.

Suzy Walsham, Valentina Belotti, Emanuele Manzi and Soh Wai Ching will combine forces to try and win the £1,000 prize.

Will any foursome in Dubai be able to get close to that tower running Dream Team?

walsham VWC 2019

Suzy Walsham and Piotr Lobodzinski retained their Vertical World Circuit (VWC) titles yesterday at the grand finale in Osaka, Japan.

It was the eighth straight title for Australia’s Walsham, who first won the series back in 2012, and a sixth title for Piotr Lobodzinski.

The ten-event series has seen close races around the world throughout 2019. Starting in Seoul back in April, runners have since done battle in Milan, Ho Chi Minh City, Paris, New York, London, Beijing, Shanghai and Dubai before the final race on Sunday (Nov. 10) in Osaka.

The 1,610-step Abeno Harukas was the venue for the final event.

Heading into the race, Lobodzinski needed to place at least second to be certain of retaining his title. With a resurgent Mark Bourne (AUS) in the mix, and Ryoji Watanabe (JPN) seeking his first VWC title it was not an easy situation for the Polish world champion.

But in the end he did enough. Mark Bourne took the win with a new course record of 8:29 and Lobodzinski followed in 8:43. His second-place finish enough to earn him the overall Vertical World Circuit 2019 crown.

Harukas Skyrun men’s results:

  1. Mark Bourne (AUS) – 8:29
  2. Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) – 8:43
  3. Ryoji Watanabe (JPN) – 9:02
  4. Kato Satoshi (JPN) – 9:19
  5. Liang Liang He (CHN) – 9:41

‘Of course, I wanted to win today, but my shape is not as good as in spring. Mark was better and I had no chance to win the race but the points I collected in the first part of the season were enough to secure my sixth title in a row so I’m very happy and glad to be on top for so long,’ Lobodzinski told reporters after the race.

Eight straight for Walsham

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And then there were 8! 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 When I was first crowned Vertical World Circuit champion at the end of the 2012 season, it was my first full successful year after pregnancy and I was excited to see where this newish sport would take me. While I try not to put limits on myself, I still never really expected to still be competing and doing well 8 years later! Despite my advancing years and the body not quite holding up like it used to, I still aim for improvement and I’m still as motivated and determined as ever in my training and racing. It’s not possible to have this kind of success year in, year out without an amazing team behind me. So a big thank you to: – @david_freer for your love, support, guidance, encouragement and for holding the fort at home when I am frequently away racing. – my family, friends and fellow athletes from all over the world who also encourage, support and motivate me. – the companies who help me be the best athlete I can be: @nike @drgarytho @alpnutrition_official @simplyactiveasia – the @verticalworldcircuit for organising the Circuit and supporting the athletes. A special shout out to @sportingrepublic and @dshinhk for managing/directing so many of the races. I’m already excited for 2020! #worldchampion #8times #verticalworldcircuit #vwc19 #nolimits #consistency #motivation #determination #beyourbest #neverstoptrying #nevergiveup #goals #dreams #fitnessmotivation #towerrunning #verticalrunning #justdoit #seeyouinthestairs #theonlywayisup

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In the final of the women’s event, Suzy Walsham only needed to finish in fifth place to be sure of winning an incredible eighth VWC title.

Giving her the title, then, was in part mere formality, as you probably have to go back to 2011 to find the last time the Australian star didn’t finish on the podium at a tower run.

But the race still had to be run and Walsham put in a blistering performance to take the win and finish in 10:18, just four seconds off the course record set by Japan’s Yuri Yoshizumi in 2017.

Harukas Skyrun women’s results:

  1. Suzy Walsham (AUS) – 10:18:
  2. Laura Manninen (FIN) – 11:07
  3. Yuko Tateishi (JPN) – 11:30
  4. Kumi Kinoshita (JPN) – 11:59
  5. Mie Takahashi (JPN) – 12:02

‘I’m thrilled to win here in Osaka at the 2019 Vertical World Circuit final and achieve my eighth straight world title,’ said Walsham. ‘I had a strong run, although I was a little disappointed to just miss the record, but it’s hard to be at your absolute peak for every race. It’s been a great year of racing and I’m already looking forward to VWC 2020!’

2019 Vertical World Circuit final standings:
Men

  1. Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) – 567 points
  2. Mark Bourne (AUS) – 561 points
  3. Ryoji Watanabe (JPN) – 539.5 points
  4. Emanuele Manzi (ITA) – 454 points
  5. Omar Bekkali (BEL) – 420 points

Women

  1. Suzy Walsham (AUS) – 600 points
  2. Laura Manninen (FIN) – 533 points
  3. Yuko Tateishi (JPN) – 461.5 points
  4. Sarah Frost (GBR) – 449.5 points
  5. Cristina Bonacina (ITA) – 359 points

jumeirah-web

Suzy Walsham and Piotr Lobodzinski smashed their course records at the Dubai Holding SkyRun this morning.

In the penultimate leg of the Vertical World Circuit, the world champions each took a massive chunk off their respective best times at Jumeirah Emirates Towers.

Walsham (AUS) completed the 1,334-step course in 8:03, taking 13 seconds off the 8:16 record she set in 2017.

The victory was the second in five days for Walsham, after she won in commanding fashion in Shanghai last Sunday.

Top five women:

1. Suzy Walsham (AUS) 8:03
2. Laura Manninen (FIN) 8:48
3. Huan Wang (CHN) 8:59
4. Lyubov Novgorodtseva (RUS) 9:15
5. Sarah Frost (GBR) 9:17

Lobodzinski bounces back

After the disappointment of having his unbeaten run in 2019 ended by Mark Bourne in Shanghai last Sunday, Piotr Lobodzinski came right back with the perfect performance to demonstrate why he is still the finest tower runner in the world.

The Polish star had said before the race that he felt in good shape and was planning a sub seven-minute finish. And he was absolutely true to his word.

His previous best time of 7:09 was smashed as he crossed the finish line in a new magnificent record of 6:55.

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🏅#DHSkyrun po raz trzeci pada moim łupem i to z nowym rekordem trasy wynoszącym od dzisiaj 6:55. Był to mój piąty start w cyklu @verticalworldcircuit w tym roku, po którym powracam na fotel lidera. Decydujące starcie 10 listopada w Osace. . @ocrapoland @prefbet_sniadowo_lomza @adidasrunning @nutrend_polska @dr_lokiec @river_view_wellness_centre @dubaiholding @jumeirahemiratestowers @dubaisc @talisefitness . #VWC19 #verticalworldcircuit #Dubaiholding #JumeirahEmiratesTowers #DHSkyrun #stairclimbing #stairs #runup #stairclimbing #verticalrunning #stairsup #bieganie #passion #sport #fun #instarunner #adidasrunner #running #love #gym #travel #instatravel #instagood #bestoftheday #instalove #towerrunner  #happy #followme #smile

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Top five men:

1. Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) 6:55
2. Emanuele Manzi (ITA) 7:17
3. Omar Bekkali (BEL) 7:59
4. Mickael Pourcelot (FRA) 8:04
5. Gholamreza Cheraghikavari (IRI) 9:09

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They are the fastest once again‼ Suzy Walsham and Piotr Lobodzinski crushed it in Dubai climbing the 1,334 steps of the Jumeirah Emirates Towers. Men 🏃♂ 1. Piotr Łobodziński Towerrunner 🇵🇱 6’55” 2. Emanuele Manzi 🇮🇹 7’17” 3. Omar Bekkali 🇧🇪 7’59” Women 🏃♀ 1. Suzy Walsham 🇦🇺 8’03” 2. Laura Manninen 🇫🇮 8’48” 3. Huan Wang 🇨🇳 8’59” . . . #VerticalWorldCircuit #VWC19 #verticalrunning #stairclimbing #stairclimber #verticalrunner #towerrunning #towerrunner #winner #Dubai #DubaiHolding #DHSkyRun #Dubai30x30 #JumeirahEmiratesTowers #DubaiFitnessChallenge #FightObesity #AlJalilaFoundation #ForTheGoodOfTomorrow #fitness #celebration

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Full results of Dubai Holding SkyRun 2019

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Mark Bourne won the Race to Shanghai IFC this morning to become the first person to beat world champion Piotr Lobodzinski in 2019.

The Australian mountain running star reached the top of the 1,460-step tower in 7:58, ahead of Lobodzinski, who finished in 8:05.

Bourne, who set the course record of 7:42 in 2016, was back on the tower running circuit for the first time since May. But the five month break from the stairs (albeit filled with mountain running) seems to have done the Canberra man no harm at all.

‘I’m very happy to come here and win up this building again. It’s the sixth time I’ve been here and I always enjoy coming back. I’ve won it four times now. I’m looking forward to Osaka in three weeks’ time. I’ve done some very good times there in the past so looking forward to finishing off the season strongly,’ said Bourne.

The race on Sunday morning was the fifth occasion the long-time rivals had met this season, with Lobodzinski having won each of those races.

Heading into the event, Lobodzinski was on an 11-race win streak and was hoping to maintain his unbeaten run to the end of the season.

But on this particular course, the world number one has often struggled to beat Bourne, and once again he found himself undone.

It was the first time since 2014 that Lobodzinski failed to finish in under eight minutes.

Third place on the day went to Japan’s Ryoji Watanabe who finished in 8:17.

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40127437773_d51d76c9b1_b

Piotr Lobodzinski and Mark Bourne renew their rivalry this coming Sunday (20 October) in the eighth round of the Vertical World Circuit series in Shanghai, China.

The pair have faced off three times in the Vertical World Circuit this year, with Lobodzinski coming out on top on each occasion.

At the 2,917-step Lotte World Tower International Sky Run in Seoul, back at the start of April, Lobodzinski set a new course record of 15:37 – a huge 16 second improvement on his previous fastest time. Bourne himself ran a magnificent race to finish just two seconds behind in 15:39.

A week later the pair went head-to-head again in Milan, at the 1,027-step Allianz Tower.

At the finish, less than a second separated them. But once again it was Lobodzinski who came out on top, setting a new course record of 5:16 in the process.

Two weeks later the Australian had another chance to attempt to beat his Polish rival. The action returned to Asia for the inaugural Vinpearl Luxury Landmark 81 – Race to the Summit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 2,383 steps stood between the bottom and the top of the world’s 14th tallest tower.

Once again Lobodzinski took the win. His finishing time of 11:35 was a massive 50 seconds faster than Bourne’s.

VWC 2018 winner Lobodzinski

Piotr Lobodzinski won the Vertical World Circuit title in 2018

Now the action heads to Shanghai, where the pair have been swapping wins over the past few seasons.

Bourne vs Lobodzinski: Race to Shanghai IFC

2014
Winner: Mark Bourne (7:55)
Runner-up: Piotr Lobodzinski (8:10)

2015
Winner: Piotr Lobodzinski (7:54)
Runner-up: Mark Bourne (8:22)

2016
Winner: Mark Bourne (7:42 – course record)
Runner-up: Piotr Lobodzinski (7:47)

2017
Winner: Mark Bourne (7:44)
Runner-up: Piotr Lobodzinski (7:53)

2018
Winner: Piotr Lobodzinski (7:43)
Runner-up: Mark Bourne (7:59)

Heading into Sunday’s clash, Lobodzinski is confident he can maintain his unbeaten run in 2019.

‘After my win last year here, I know I can break the course record now,’ said the world number one. ‘We will see, but it should be a fast and interesting battle like always. I can’t wait!’

After recently competing at the OCR World Championships – where his Team OCRA finished 5th – Lobodzinski is refocusing on the stairs.

Although Mark Bourne has been out of the stairwells since the Taipei 101 Run-Up in May (where he also finished as runner-up to Lobodzinski), he has competed in mountain running events since then. What sort of form he’ll be in on Sunday remains to be seen.

Check back on Sunday/Monday, as we’ll have all the news from the race as results come in.

Whether you’re after training ideas from the best, or just looking to keep up with what’s happening in the global tower running community, these Instagram accounts will keep you motivated and in the know.

 

Suzy Walsham @suzywalsham

The Australian superstar posts regularly on the platform with pictures from her training sessions, race updates and more. Her account gives a great insight into the relentless amount of hard work the 10-time winner of the Empire State Building Run-Up puts in to stay on top.

Piotr Lobodzinski @towerrunner

If you’re going to follow any tower runner, it may as well be the best in the world, right? Unbeaten on the stairs so far in 2019, Lobodzinski isn’t the most consistent poster on Instagram. Still, it’s good to keep up with the global travels and triumphs of one of the best stair climbers of all time. It’s worth noting, though, that many of his captions are in his native Polish so you’ll have to translate those. Dzięki!

Soh Wai Ching @mastowerrunner

In terms of followers, Wai Ching is well out in front in the tower running world (over 5,600 at the time of writing). The current world number two is a prolific poster, providing a look into his training and travels as he continues toward his goal of becoming the top stair climber in the world.

Alexis Trujillo @alexistrujillo_atl

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La preparación técnica y táctica son de gran importancia para cualaquier deporte.🏃🙇🤓 – En el caso de las carreras verticales o towerrunning, es importante estudiar el edificio con anticipación para orientar el entrenamiento hacia la técnica de agarre más eficiente y que táctica se va a emplear para ser consistente en los ascensos.🌁🏃 – Realicé muy pocas sesiones de velocidad para la carrera de torre UFO, ya que mi entrenamiento estaba más dirigido a la torre Ostankino, pero logré un buen resultado gracias a que ejecuté una buena táctica y técnica generando tiempos parejos en los 3 ascensos.🏆 . . . . . #tbt #fitness #competition #tower #running #athlete #vertical #runner #ufo #bratislava #slovakia

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With his chiseled good looks and winning smile, the darling of Towerrunning Mexico is easy on the eye. He’s up to third in the world, as of the most recent TWA rankings, so his posts on training are well worth a read. His often lengthy captions are all en español, though, so you’ll need your Spanish dictionary (or Google translate) to hand.

Sarah Frost @sarahchaneyfrost

Frost is the standout star of UK tower running and her account is packed full of quality shots and videos from her intense training and racing schedule. She often breaks down her training sessions in the captions, which is super useful for anyone wondering how the hell to actually train for a stair race. Frost is also a keen rock climber, so as an added bonus you’ll occasionally get to see cool videos of her tackling some tough bouldering routes.

And one more…
Stair Life @stairlife

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Tristan Roth reclaims the Space Needle course record with a 4:17 finish at this year's Base 2 Space. Roth had previously held the record of 4:34 from 2016-17 until Sproule Love lowered the mark to 4:20 at the 2018 event. The win is Roth's second Base 2 Space win and fourth podium finish in the event's five-year history. Meanwhile, the men's podium is rounded out by Mark Henderson and Russell Webb, both of whom joined the Space Needle's sub-5:00 club with their 2019 performances after finishing neck-and-neck in the low- and mid-5:00's the prior three years. For the women, Jessica Pickett falls just shy of breaking 6:00 en route to her first Base 2 Space win, while Debbie Officer and Tricia O'Hara repeat as respective second- and third-place finishers despite each knocking time off their 2018 efforts. Full results: https://www.athlinks.com/event/181615/results/Event/882578/Results – – – – – #base2space #b2s #fredhutch #seattle #spaceneedle #towerrunning #towerracing #towerclimb #stairclimb #stairclimbing #stairlife

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Not a tower runner, but a great tower running account that gives results for all the races around the USA. The images give the top five in the men’s and women’s division, while the captions give more detail on the ins and outs of each race. For fans of the sport looking to stay on top of the goings on in the States this is a definite must follow.

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Intercontintent Tower Run winner 2019

Piotr Lobodzinski made it 11 wins from 11 starts in 2019 with victory at the InterContinental Tower Run in Warsaw, Poland.

Lobodzinski climbed the hotel’s 959 steps in 4:42 to maintain his unbeaten run, and make it three wins in a row at the venue in the Polish capital.

Mateusz Marunowski was second in 5:17, while Daniel Koszykowski took third in 5:32.

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Piotr Lobodzinski on his way to winning the InterContinental Tower Run, Warsaw

In the women’s division, Iwona Wicha took the win in 6:28, ahead of Agnieszka Kolano (6:50) and Ilona Gradus (7:03).

More on this:

 

 

Lobodzinski Empire State Run Up 2019

Piotr Lobodzinski is unbeaten so far in 2019 and now appears practically invincible. Is it a problem for tower running or does it add to the excitement of following the sport?

Speaking after winning silver in the 400m final at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, GB athlete Roger Black admitted that he and six of his fellow athletes had been competing for second place. They all knew they stood no chance against the incredible Michael Johnson from the USA, who won the gold medal in a new Olympic record.

Johnson didn’t finish any lower than second in a 400m race from the start of the 1993 season to the Olympic final in 1996 (a total of 37 races). And those second-place finishes were in the heats or semi-finals of major championships where he was likely just doing enough to qualify.

This is just one example of extreme one-sidedness in athletics. Usain Bolt had a 45-race win streak from 2013-2017, which came after his complete dominance at the World and Olympic finals before that period.

Going back a little further, Ed Moses dominated the 400m hurdles for a full decade, amassing a win streak of over 100 races.

Great runners

Moses, Johnson and Bolt all dominated for years

But dominance in the track and field sprint events is a little different. Even when Moses, Johnson and Bolt were winning repeatedly, the margins of victory were quite often small. That’s expected in the 100m and 200m (although Bolt of course had some famously massive wins in those events), but in the 400m races, Johnson and Moses were also often only winning by less than half a second.

That is, their races were still highly competitive…for the most part.

What about tower running?

Two-time tower running world champion Piotr Lobodzinski has been on top of the sport for over five years.

He’s been beaten before – Tomas Celko, Christian Riedl and Mark Bourne have all bested the Polish star over various distances on occasion in recent years.

But this season Lobodzinski seems to have elevated himself to another level that has him out of reach of almost all of his rivals.

Has the competitiveness gone out of men’s tower running at the very top?

Is a sport dominated by one person in danger of becoming boring, or does this display of individual brilliance serve as a welcome inspiration for tower running fans and participants?

Lobodzinski’s season so far

After winning his second Towerrunning World Championship title in 2018, the Polish superstar headed into the 2019 season with confidence high.

He got things underway in February in Dubai, with a perfunctory win at the 1,600-step Vertical Run Almas Tower, where he finished 91 seconds ahead of the second-placed male. High level international competition was largely absent from the event.

Next was the Rondo 1 race in Warsaw, Poland. Back on home turf, Lobdodzinski was expected to be pushed a bit harder on the mid-length course by some of Europe’s top tower runners, and he was.

But he still came out on top relatively unscathed, finishing 14 seconds ahead of runner-up Görge Heimann. Although it may not seem that big a gap to the uninitiated, considering the length of the course – 836 steps – it is fairly significant.

In March, he was back in Paris at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel to attempt to win the event for the fifth time in a row.

A very serious test was anticipated ahead of this race. Only Mark Bourne was absent from the full list of elite tower runners from around the world in attendance.

At previous editions it had been Germany’s Christian Riedl who had come closest to toppling Lobodzinski. In 2016, less than six seconds separated the pair. In 2017, the margin of difference was just under 10 seconds, while in 2018 it was 15 seconds. Although the gap was growing, it was still manageable, and an improving field of competitors was expected to launch a stiff test.

Lobodzinski La Vertical Tour Eiffel 2019

La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel 2019

But Lobodzinski finished an unbelievable 50 seconds ahead of Jakob Mayer in second to secure a fifth straight title. Conditions on the day were bad, and it clearly impacted the runners, but Lobodzinski was unfazed. Once again he dipped under the eight minute mark, clocking a time very consistent with all his other wins.

It was this performance that made keen observers sit up and really take in how supreme he was becoming. Yes, he had been on top for some time, but this win was different.

Dominating the Vertical World Circuit

With a couple of solid wins at European venues in the bag, Lobodzinski headed to Asia to compete on the Vertical World Circuit.

First up was the 2,919-step Lotte World Tower International Sky Run in Seoul, Korea and a face-off with Australian star Mark Bourne.

Lotte World Tower run up race 2019

Lotte World Tower, Seoul, Korea

Bourne was the record holder at the tower, having set the best time of 15:44 in 2017.

Lobodzinski had beaten Bourne at the 2018 edition in a personal best of 15:53.

At the race on 6th April, Lobodzinski set a new course record of 15:37 – a huge 16 second improvement on his previous fastest time. Bourne himself ran a magnificent race to finish just two seconds behind in 15:39.

A week later the pair went head-to-head again in Milan in another leg of the Vertical World Circuit. The 1,027-step Allianz Tower serving as the venue this time.

At the finish, less than a second separated them. But once again it was Lobodzinski who came out on top, setting a new course record of 5:16 in the process.

Allianz Vertical Run 2019 Lobodzinski win

Lobodzinski celebrates his win in Milan alongside fellow winner Suzy Walsham

Bourne was proving Lobodzinski’s biggest rival. Each time coming so close, but just not getting the breaks.

Two weeks later the Australian had another chance to attempt to beat his rival. The action returned to Asia for the inaugural Vinpearl Luxury Landmark 81 – Race to the Summit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 2,383 steps stood between the bottom and the top of the world’s 14th tallest tower.

Bourne and Lobodzinski had been splitting victories for a number of years now in some of the regions tallest towers, so another close contest was anticipated. Especially after the particularly tight race in Seoul.

But once again Lobodzinski pulled out a performance for the ages. His finishing time of 11:35 was a massive 50 seconds faster than Bourne’s.

Pulling away in May

A week later on 5 May it was the Taipei 101 Run Up, where Lobodzinski had won his second world title in 2018.

He completely dominated again. This time running a personal best 10:46. Bourne was once more his nearest rival, but he finished 41 seconds back in 11:27.

A gap was opening up.

Taipei 101 Run Up 2019 Lobodzinski

Piotr Lobodzinski wins the 2019 Taipei 101 Run Up

On 14 May the Empire State Building Run-Up welcomed Lobodzinski. There was no Bourne in attendance, but Soh Wai Ching and Fabio Ruga were there to keep Lobodzinski on his toes.

But in reality they didn’t. Lobodzinski ran one of the fastest times ever at the venue (becoming the second-fastest man ever behind only Paul Crake). He crossed the line in 10:05, a full 1:13 ahead of Wai Ching in second place.

Lobodzinski Empire State Run Up 2019

Lobodzinski crosses the Empire State Building Run-Up finish line in the fifth fastest time ever

Had there been a shift in the dynamics of the competition? Were the other runners competing for second place? It was beginning to appear that way. Three races on the trot and nobody had come even close to challenging Lobodzinski.

At the end of the month he returned to Wroclaw, Poland where he clocked another straightforward win, this time against almost exclusively Polish competition.

A quiet June and July followed, with a break from tower running.

Another level of dominance

On 24 August he returned to action at the 1,704-step Ostankino Tower in Moscow.

Lobodzinski had finished second there in 2018 behind Christian Riedl, trailing the German by just a second.

Riedl was absent this time around, but even if he had been in attendance it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Lobodzinski was on another level and he set a new course record of 9:36, taking 15 seconds off the previous best time.

The perfect season?

So let’s ‘punch the numbers’, so to speak.

  • Ten races
  • Ten wins
  • Four course records (Lotte Tower, Allianz Tower and Ostankino Tower, plus default record at the inaugural race at Vinpearl Luxury Landmark 81)
  • Two additional personal bests (Taipei 101 and Empire State Building)

Lobodzinski has been on top for a number of years now, but this season he is showcasing an unprecedented degree of dominance. It feels like he is now competing on a level all of his own. There may even be more PBs in some of the races, such as Wroclaw, we’re unaware of. It’s unbelievable.

As a fan of the sport it’s exciting to see an athlete at the top of his powers, breaking records and getting closer to marks such as the mythic sub 10-minute ESBRU finish.

Personally, we like to see athletes like Lobodzinski raising the bar, bringing new levels of excellence to the sport and showing what’s achievable. But there’s a limit to how long it can go on for before things start to get a little dull, and we think men’s tower running is fast approaching it.

A key element of the appeal of following elite level sports is the competition. Take that away and what’s left?

To be fair, it’s not 100% clear that Lobodzinski has completely pulled away. But he’s been winning almost everything there is to win for close to five years and his most recent set of performances this year do indicate a shift of some kind.

If he completes the ‘perfect’ season by going unbeaten in 2019, and does so by continuing to clock significant winning margins along the way, it will be hugely impressive, but it might also have a negative impact on the appeal of the sport from the fan’s perspective.

Yes, Mark Bourne was just one or two seconds away from winning a couple of those races earlier in the year, but Lobodzinski has since opened up a gap. Bourne is capable of getting back to winning ways, but if he will or not remains to be seen.

Christian Riedl is off the scene, only dipping in for the occasional race here or there.

Soh Wai Ching and Ryoji Watanabe are making great gains, but they still appear some way off being considered strong enough rivals to topple Lobodzinski.

There are four races left in the Vertical World Circuit where we might get to see Lobodzinski and Bourne go head-to-head again. Other races outside of the VWC will also likely see Lobodzinski face the best in the world.

Will they be able to rein him back in or will we all just be following the Piotr Lobodzinski Show until he calls time on his glittering career?

But let’s be clear. Despite the slightly provocative title of this post, we are massive fans of Showtime Lobodzinski. He is a brilliant ambassador for the sport and we thoroughly enjoy following his stair climbing exploits around the globe. He’s making the most of his powers to reap the rewards and accolades of years of hard work and training, and long may it continue.

We’d love to see him complete a perfect, unbeaten run in 2019, but maybe he could falter at least once in 2020…just to keep things interesting.

2019 vert winners

Piotr Lobodzinski and Suzy Walsham won La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel for the fifth time in a row last Wednesday (13th March).

Lobodzinski took victory in 7:53.97, the only sub 8-minute time on the night. In the women’s division, Australian Suzy Walsham was a clear winner in 10:16.57.

Harsh conditions in the French capital had an impact all around and finishing times were generally slower than in previous editions of the event, which was in its fifth year.

The expected close competition for Lobdodzinski from Christian Riedl didn’t materialise, as the German finished third in 8:46.98.

Riedl finish

Christian Riedl takes 3rd place at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel 2019

His time was just bettered by Austrian Jakob Mayer, who finished in 8:44.31.

Jakob Mayer finish

Second-placed finisher Jakob Mayer

Lobodzinski was the last to run. With the heavy winds in Paris affecting most runners adversely throughout the night, the Polish world champion’s time was not expected to be particularly fast, even though, as the only man to have won La Verticale since it began in 2015, he had never finished slower than 7:56. But despite his rivals nearly all running slower than usual, he maintained his perfect record of sub 8-minute finishes by reaching the top of the 1,665 steps of the Eiffel Tower in 7:53.97.

2019 Verticale mens podium

Christian Riedl, Piotr Lobodzinski, Jakob Mayer (l-r)

Unstoppable Walsham wins again

Suzy Walsham proved once again she is a practically invincible force on the stairs with an incredible fifth straight win at the Eiffel Tower.

With China’s Muhua Jian unable to make it to the start line, Walsham’s expected strongest competition was missing, but with the harsh weather and the Australian star’s preparation seriously hampered by injury, there was still the chance that Dominika Wisniewska-Ulfik might push Walsham hard.

As it happened it was Walsham’s fellow Australian, Alice McNamara, who came closest. She finished second in 11:26.36.

McNamara finish

Alice McNamara reaches the top in the second fastest time

Dominika Wisniewska-Ulfik took third for the second year in a row, with a finishing time of 11:28.74.

wisniewska-ulfik finish

Poland’s Wisniewska-Ulfik finished third for the second year in a row

 

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Tower running world champions Suzy Walsham and Piotr Lobodzinski won at the Almas Tower Vertical Run in Dubai on Saturday.

The race up the 1,600 steps of the Almas Tower, the seventh tallest building in Dubai, was the first in 2019 for both tower runners.

COPYRIGHT JORGE FERRARI

Almas Tower, Dubai (courtesy Jorge Ferrari)

In the absence of any other leading international tower runners, the pair cruised to practically uncontested victories.

Lobodzinski was fastest overall on the day with a winning time of 7:50. It was the fourth year in a row the Polish star has won the event, and his winning performance bagged him a handsome prize of around £2,000.

Lobodzinski Dubai Almas Tower 2019

Lobodzinski celebrates outside the Almas Tower, Dubai

In what was her 100th stair climb victory, in 12 years of tower running, Suzy Walsham finished an impressive second overall as she reached the top in 9:21, a split second faster than the second-fastest man, Belgium’s Christophe Huybrighs.

It was a huge course record for the Australian, too. The previous best time of 9:50 having been set in 2018 by Italy’s Valentina Belotti.

 

It’s a great start to the season for the pair. The next race they will be at again together will be La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel in Paris on 13th March, where each will be looking to win the event for the fifth straight time.

Almas Tower Vertical Run 2019 full results

Eiffel-Disco_GettyImages-534953254

The selection of the elite male and female runners for the 2019 La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel has been announced.

15 women and 25 men from around the world were picked by the organisers of the event, which is coming into its fifth year.

Since launching in 2015, the race, which takes place on Wednesday 13th March at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, has become the premier European tower running event.

Each of the four previous editions (2015-2018) have been won by Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) and Suzy Walsham (AUS), and they will both return to Paris in 2019 to try and secure a fifth straight win.

Joining Walsham will be:

  • Amandine Bertrand – France
  • Laure Chardin – France
  • Kamila Chamanicova – Slovakia
  • Vanja Cnops – Belgium
  • Cristina Bonacina – Italy
  • Sarah Frost – Great Britain
  • Muhua Jian – China
  • Anais Leroy – France
  • Maria Elisa Lopez Pimentel – Mexico
  • Alice McNamara – Australia
  • Laurie Phai – Cambodia
  • Sonja Shakespeare – Great Britain
  • Iwona Wicha – Poland
  • Dominika Wisniewska-Ulfik – Poland

 

Challenging Lobodzinski will be:

  • Christophe Anselmo – France
  • Mark Bourne – Australia
  • Michel Bowie – France
  • Nicolas Cantagrel – France
  • Roberto Delorenzi – Switzerland
  • Fabio Ruga – Italy
  • Frank Nicolas Carreno – Colombia
  • Matthieu Gandolfi – France
  • Gediminas Grinius – Lithuania
  • Christof Grossegger – Austria
  • Gorge Heimann – Germany
  • Michal Kovac – Slovakia
  • Sproule Love – USA
  • Mateusz Marunowski – Poland
  • Matjaz Miklosa – Slovenia
  • Jakob Mayer – Austria
  • Mickael Pourcelot – France
  • Stephane Ricard – France
  • Christian Riedl – Germany
  • Soh Wai Ching – Malaysia
  • Stefan Stefina – Slovakia
  • Alexis Trujillo – Mexico
  • Laurent Vicente – France
  • Simon Wuethrich – Switzerland

 

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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.

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Great way to start the 2018 @verticalworldcircuit with a win in the tallest race on the circuit, clocking a 2sec course record (improvement of 0.016sec per floor 😉 ) at Lotte World Tower Sky Run this morning. Well done to @towerrunner for his win, and to @_alice_mac and @markbournerun for ensuring 🇦🇺 took half of the podium positions! (📷VWC / Sporting Republic) 👍🏃🏻‍♀️🔝#verticalworldcircuit #vwc18 #lotteworldtowerinternationalskyrun #lotteworldtower #sportingrepublic #verticalrunning #stairrunning #towerrunning #nike #nikeracer #justdoit #chiroworkssg #chiroworksathlete #staystrong #stayfocused #lostcountofthesteps #winner #courserecord #takethestairs #seoul

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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.

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