Posts Tagged ‘piotr lobodzinski’

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.


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.


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: 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.

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

You might also want to check out this three-part documentary on tower runners from VICE & adidas.

Piotr “Showtime” Lobodzinski added another victory and an event record to his outstanding 2015 season at the Millennium Tower in Vienna last weekend.


Showtime Lobodzinski laughing all the way to victory

The popular event, which involves three climbs up 843 stairs, regularly draws the cream of the European stair running elite and this year was no exception, with Christian Riedl, Tomas Celko, Matjaz Miklosa and Klaus Hausleitner among those in attendance.

“Showtime” was the fastest in each of the three legs, with even his slowest time of 3:45.0 (clocked on his second run) still faster than anything any of his competitors could muster in any of their climbs. Joining the Pole on the podium, in line with the current World Cup rankings, were reigning ESBRU champion Christian “The Eclipse” Riedl in second place and Slovakia’s Tomas “The Zilina Avalanche” Celko in third. The three demonstrated their supremacy on the day, being the only ones to manage sub-4 minute times in all their climbs.


The Triumvirate: Riedl, Lobodzinski and Celko

Rounding out the top five were “The Slovenian Multi-Tool” Matjaz Miklosa and another strong Slovakian, Stefan “The Fist of Jánošík” Stefina.

In the single climb race it was Austrian Rolf “The Wanderer” Majcen who took victory on home turf in a time of 4:09.

In the ladies division it was another Pole who raced to victory as Dominika “The Rising Sun” Wisniewska-Ulfik finished her three climbs in a total time of 14:40. She was followed by Lenka “Czech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself” Svabikova aka “Shredder” aka “Operation Abs” in 15:23, while up-and-coming Polish athlete Iwona “Pole Position” Wicha aka “The Gun Show” finished third in 15:48.


Six of the best: Riedl, Lobodzinski, Celko, Svabikova, Wisniewska-Ulfik and Wicha (front)

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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 -

Piotr Lobodzinski in full flight at the Intercontinental Tower Run (©Andrzej Chomczyk –

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.

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There have been some big races lately, with the world’s elite competing at events in Europe and Asia. We want to quickly jump back a couple of weeks to April 23rd, to a race we didn’t get chance to write about at the time, but which involved some of Europe’s top stair runners.

Held in Vienna, the first Haus des Meeres stair race was a very closely run affair, with Austria’s best climbers battling for homeland bragging rights. In a sprint race up just 271 outdoor steps, the top five were separated by a mere five seconds. Taking a well earned victory was the perennially competitive Norbert “Hannibal” Lechner. This guy regularly takes podium places and top-ten finishes at events with the strongest fields around the world. After a disappointing final run at the World Championship in Doha, Lechner had remarked that he had lost a bit of motivation and as a result his training hadn’t been as intense as usual. It seems the slight layoff proved just what he needed as he sprinted to victory in a time of 00: 59.45. He just managed to hold off “The Mauerbach Tornado” Klaus Hausleitner, who finished in 00: 59.75.

Lechner prepares for the challenge of Taipei 101

Lechner prepares for the challenge of Taipei 101

On May 3rd Lechner’s attention turned to the gargantuan challenge of the steeply stepped Taipei 101, currently the fifth tallest buidling in the world. Also taking on the 2,046 steps were world number one Showtime Lobodzinski, Italy’s Emanuele “Il Guerriero” Manzi, “The Meat Cleaver” Petr Novotny from the Czech Republic and a number of talented local climbers. Reigning champion and multi-time winner Mark “The Assassin” Bourne was absent, so it was the perfect opportunity for Showtime to finally take victory at a race in which his previous best finish had been second. And he did just that. The 2014 Towerrunning Champion has been in incredible form recently and it shows no sign of stopping. Second place went to Manzi, also having a brilliant season, with local climber Jun Gu “Pyroclastic Flow” Guo taking a well-earned third. As usual, “Hannibal” was in the mix, finishing a strong 7th.

The top finishers at Taipei 101 celebrate their success

Some of the top finishers at Taipei 101 celebrate their success

In the women’s section there was a good spread of talent on show. Again the reigning champ, Valentina “Atalanta” Belotti, was missing, which denied us the chance to see what would have undoubtedly been a great race between her and 2014 Towerrunning Champion Suzy “The Title Magnate” Walsham. In the end, Walsham took a fairly handy win, with “The Rising Sun” Dominika Wisniweska-Ulfik finishing in second. It was great to see “The Gatekeeper” Cristina Bonacina taking third. “Need For Speed” Cindy Reid, winner in Vietnam a few weeks back, managed a solid fifth.

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The Towerrunning World Championships took place last weekend in Doha, Qatar. In the most competitive stair running field ever assembled, athletes took on three climbs, over two days of racing, to determine who would be crowned world champion.

The Torch in Doha, venue for the World Championships

The Torch in Doha, venue for the World Championships

Action began on Friday morning with an open race up the building’s 1,304 to determine the 30 competitors that would advance to the second round later in the day, and Saturday’s final. This race threw up no surprises and the list of finalists contained all the elite runners. In the men’s section it was reigning Towerrunning champion Piotr “Showtime” Lobodzinski who took an early lead, with Australians Mark “The Canberra Assassin” Bourne and “Optimus Climb” Darren Wilson close behind him. Also in the mix were “Fearless” Frank Carreño, “The Zilina Avalanche” Tomas Celko and Matjaz “The Slovenian Multi-Tool” Miklosa. To give you some perspective on how strong a field it was, British athlete “The Manchester Myth” Andi Jones (albeit not a stair climb specialist) who has a sub-30min PB for 10k and a 2:15 marathon PB was no way near being in contention for the top spots. Neither were Olympian Will “The Dark” Clarke and his colleague Romain “Centurian” Guillaume, pro-triathletes from the Uplace-BMC team. The caliber of athletes in this race was astounding. These guys are fast!!

This gentleman was so fast he out ran his own shoes as he powered away from the start line!

This gentleman was so fast he out ran his own shoes as he powered away from the start line!

The first race of the day (51 floors) was followed by a shorter race (30 floors) in the afternoon to determine the starting order for Saturday’s final. The shorter course seemed to favour the European athletes who narrowed the gap slightly and closed in on the top three. “Showtime” made no mistake about assuring pole position for the final and took another win. He was followed by Carreno, Celko, Miklosa and Macecek. Positions were now set for the final, which would begin in an F1 style grid format. Lobodzinski was pole, Carreño 2nd, Bourne 3rd, Celko 4th, Miklosa 5th and, having finished 3rd in the first round, “Optimus Climb” 6th.

The inaugural Towerrunning World Championships final gets underway

“And they’re off!!” The inaugural Towerrunning World Championships final gets underway

The final began with a 150m run into the stairwell, with positions throughout the field changing drastically before the athletes even hit the stairs. As expected Lobodzinski maintained his position at the front the whole way up and reached the top to be crowned the very first Towerrunning World Champion, while Bourne managed to leapfrog Carreño. and regain second place. The most impressive turnaround of the day was the work put in by “Optimus Climb” who went from being 6th on the grid, behind the likes of Celko and Miklosa, to finishing in third. Brilliant effort from the Adelaide man.

The top three celebrating after the race. Check out the vascularity and the delts on Darren Wilson!!

The top three celebrating after the race. Does “Optimus Climb” have a licence for those guns!??!

With the first fully televised stair race happening the weekend before at the Eiffel Tower in Paris and now the fully stacked World Championships in Doha successfully completed, our sport is really coming into its own. It is clearly gaining in popularity and the top athletes are proving they are as fit and dedicated as those from any sporting discipline you care to mention. In the likes of Bourne, Wilson and Lobodzinski we have some fine ambassadors for stair climbing and the future looks very bright. Congratulations to all who took part in Doha.

Tower 42, formerly The Natwest Tower, is a tough old building. Just short of 22 years ago it had almost every window blown out of it as the result of a large bomb planted in the area by the IRA. A few years later a fire swept through some of its upper floors. However, the sixth tallest building in the UK stands strong and remains a well known landmark in the City of London. It is also home to Vertical Rush, which is perhaps the most well-known and popular of the UK’s stair running events.

Vertical Rush is organised by the charity Shelter, which offers support to those experiencing housing problems and also campaigns for and raises awareness about this issue. It first took place in 2009, and in 2012 it was one of the key races on the calendar. As a result, that year it attracted lots of the top athletes and its course records for the men’s and women’s divisions were made that day by Thomas Dold (3:58) and Suzy Walsham (5:01).

This year it is one of the eight races on the Vertical World Circuit, so we expected it to attract some of the strongest climbers from Europe and beyond. We were not to be disappointed. It was a bright sunny day down on Bishopsgate and with close to 800 runners set to hit the steps it was pretty busy. Vertical Rush always attracts a lot of press and celebrity backing, and this year TV-presenter/architect George Clarke was taking part. Alongside him was former X Factor winner and now theatre showman Shayne Ward.

The real celebrities, however, those veterans of the unforgiving stairwells, no doubt blended in with the crowd. Their anonymity somehow remaining unmolested despite headbands, compression socks, special gloves, extensive warmups, steely gazes, ridiculously defined quads and calves and vests emblazoned with sponsors logos.

Piotr “Showtime” Lobodzinski, the current Towerrunning champion, was an obvious favourite heading into the race and he maintained his rep taking the win in 4:12. In a brief interview with the Vertical World Circuit (which you can read here) he said he was ‘a little disappointed’ as he had hoped to get closer to the course record. “Showtime” also commented, “The staircase was not comfortable for me, it was quite wide and therefore it was only possible to use the inside rail. I prefer a right-handed rail, so the left is a little disadvantage.” It certainly didn’t seem to have that much of a hinderance on his performance. Lobodzinski signed off by saying he would “now go for a 20 km run and do some sight seeing.” Come on mate, don’t take the piss. I need medical assistance to squat on the toilet after some of my races; don’t dupe the non-stair climbing public into thinking it’s easy or anything 😉

winner- lobodzinski

“Showtime” Lobodzinski tackling the 920 steps of London’s Tower 42

Hot on his tail was Fabio “Stair Charmer” Ruga, from Italy, whose PB at the event is 4:11. Unfortunately for him he couldn’t replicate that awesome time and had to settle for second place in 4:28. Taking third spot was another well known name in the stair running world, Spain’s David “El Conquistador” Robles Tapia.

Fourth place was grabbed by Ralf “The Natural” Hascher (winner at the Broadgate Tower Run Up, also in London, three days earlier) in a time of 4:44, while Britain’s pride Mark “The Marauder” Sims took an incredible 12 seconds off his PB, reaching the top in 4:49 while representing his employers Pershing. This is his second PB of the season (his first was set in Vienna in January) so Mark is showing incredible form already this year. Amazing stuff!!

In the women’s division only two elites came over for the race so it seemed all set up to be a battle between Lenka “Czech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself” Zvabikova and the ever-present Italian, and last year’s female winner, Cristina “The Gatekeeper” Bonacina.

Svabikova took the victory in a time of 5:39. Having finished second in the final standings of last year’s Towerrunning championships this was to be expected. She is quite a force. Bonacina was to be denied second place by Anna “The Flying Consultant” McKinven who topped out in 6:18, running for the Accenture corporate team, with the Italian coming in third with a time of 6:35.


Czech Republic’s Lenka Svabikova making it look easy at Vertical Rush


The day’s winners out on the roof of Tower 42

Well done to all who took part and congratulations to the winners.

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