Posts Tagged ‘Shari Klarfeld’

The 44th Empire State Building Run-Up takes place tomorrow night. Here’s a look at the women on the start list.

Cindy Harris (USA)
Cindy Harris wins the 2021 Empire State Building Run Up

Cindy Harris won her first ESBRU title back in 1998, and has won four more titles in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2021. Incredibly, this will be her 24th appearance at the ESBRU!

Harris has only raced once since she won the ESBRU last year. In January, she maintained her annual tradition of winning Bop to the Top in her hometown of Indianapolis (she’s won the event an unbelievable 26 times), beating ESBRU challengers Jill Paha and Debbie Officer. Then she disappeared.

The 2020 US stairclimbing champion set her ESBRU personal best of 12:45 back in 2001. Her winning time last year was a far more pedestrian 14:01. Without any sense of race form, it’s anyone’s guess what sort of shape she’ll be in on Thursday night.

Her rivals weren’t far off her in 2021, and she’s going to have to put in a serious performance to secure her sixth title and prevent a brand new ESBRU champ. But count this phenom out at your peril.

Shari Klarfeld (USA)

A road runner who competes at 5km and 10km, Shari Klarfeld is the least experienced tower runner on the list – but she’s our one to watch on Thursday. She typically does just one stair race a year – the Empire State Building Run-Up – and she does it well. Klarfeld was third at the ESBRU in 2015, 2018 and again in 2021.

Back in June, Klarfeld took top spot at the 2,226-step One World Trade Center, finishing ahead of three of the women that will be joining her in the lobby later this week, including close rival Maria Elisa Lopez Pimentel.

Her personal best time at the Empire State Building is 13.43. If she runs another sub 14-minute time on Thursday night then expect to see her back on the podium.

If she gets out in front early, sets the pace and avoids any roadblocks in the stairwell then we think this could be the year she wins.

Maria Elisa Lopez Pimentel (Mexico)

Lopez Pimentel was second last year, finishing just 11 seconds behind Harris. She’s had a stellar year since that race, picking up wins and podium spots in Mexico City, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Those last two wins at US Bank Tower in LA and the Space Needle in Seattle were less than a week ago, so we know she’s in fantastic shape.

Her ESBRU PB is the 14:05 she set in 2019, which earned her fifth. A sub 14-minute finish will almost certainly win this year’s ESBRU, and we reckon Lopez Pimentel has that time in her. The only question is will Harris, Klarfeld or someone else be able to manage it too? Excited to find out.

Kamila Chomanicova (Slovakia)

Chomanicova is back for another crack at the ESBRU after travel restrictions halted her plans last year. She debuted in 2019 where she finished 11th in 15:22. So far this year she’s clocked up several sprint wins in Europe and will be heading to New York in solid shape, far more seasoned than she was three years ago.

If the ESBRU was quarter the distance, we’d put our money on Slovakian short-climb specialist Chomanicova coming out on top. But it’s not, and by her own admission she isn’t yet best suited to the longer climbs. There’s a dearth of tall tower races in Europe and many of the women on the start line will have spent the year racing at multiple 1,000+ step buildings, so taking all of that into account we think Chomanicova will be hard pushed to make it onto the podium.

A 15:22 finish at last year’s event would have earned her fifth overall. We think she might go faster than that this year and fingers crossed we’ll see her dip under the 15-minute mark to finish in the top five.

Jill Paha (USA)

With her win at Scale the Strat this year, Paha became the USA Stairclimbing champion. She followed that up with wins at Big Climb Seattle and Big Climb Minneapolis. A solid fourth place at One World Trade Center and second at Penn 1 in New York in June followed.

All that suggests there’s a strong ESBRU performance in the offing. We think the podium might be out of reach this year, but expect Paha to be challenging for a place in the top five.

Rosalyn Russell (USA)
Rosalyn Russell (far left)

After finishing fourth at last year’s ESBRU in a time of 15:18, Russell followed up with a second place finish at the USA Stairclimbing championship race at Scale the Strat in February this year. She was just four seconds slower than champion Jill Paha. Russell was then third at One World Trade Center in June, finishing behind ESBRU rivals Shari Klarfeld and Maria Elisa Lopez Pimentel.

Russell is perennially in good shape, so expect another strong performance from her this year. A sub 15-minute run could well be on the cards, so she’ll will be looking to lock in that fourth place again, while having one eye on the podium.

Verity Rees (UK)

Rees has been living in the US for years now, but she grew up in St. Albans, UK so we’re reclaiming her as our own.

She’s been super active on the scene this year, taking podium spots and a win in the UK, Germany and across the States.

This will be her third ESBRU outing and she’ll be looking to chop some time off her 15:28 PB.

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

Santanna was third at the ESBRU in 2017 with a 13.51 finishing time. But her times at the following three events were considerably slower (14.50, 14.22 and 15:29 respectively), so who knows which Santanna will show up. With Santanna absent from the tower running scene this year, it’s impossible to say how she might fare on Thursday night.

That 15:29 last year was good enough for fifth, but we don’t think that sort of time will see her into the top five this year. If she pulls out another sub 14-minute finish like she did in 2017, she could win the thing. Santanna’s an unknown entity this year and it’s all the more exciting for it.

Tricia O’Hara (USA)

A well-known stair climber in the USA, O’Hara has been racing the ESBRU for a number of years and clocked her personal best 15.36 at the event in 2019. She came close to it last year, too, with a 15:39 finish that earned her sixth.

O’Hara was third at the USA Stairclimbing Championship back in February, and third a month later at Big Climb Seattle. A strong athlete, but unlikely to feature among the top finishers this time around.

Debbie Officer (USA)

Officer already has a tower run victory under her belt this year. She took a commanding win at the 1,197-step 555 California St. building in San Francisco back in April. She also finished second at Big Climb Atlanta and has been in the top five at some stacked US races in 2022.

She was eighth at last year’s ESBRU, finishing in 17:03. She’ll need a massive improvement on the PB 16.04 she clocked at the event in 2019 if she’s to be in among the top finishers.

Shari Klarfeld recorded her first major stair climb victory with a win at One World Trade Center in New York on Sunday.

The Long Island runner clocked 15:53 as she scaled the 2,226 steps of America’s tallest building.

Mexico’s Maria Elisa Lopez was second in 16:02, with Florida-based Filipino athlete Rosalyn Russell taking third spot some way back in 17:27.

It was a long overdue win for Klarfeld, who has finished in second or third place at every edition of the Tunnel to Towers Tower Climb since the inaugural event [on a shorter course] in 2015.

The tight race for top spot was a continuation of the battle Klarfeld and Lopez had for second place at last year’s Empire State Building Run-Up.

There, just three seconds separated the pair, with the Mexican managing to hold off the challenge of her American rival in a closely fought battle the whole way up 1,576 steps.

The two are likely to meet again at the ESBRU, which is expected to take place in October.

In the men’s division, Malaysia’s Soh Wai Ching picked up another straightforward win in the USA. His rapid 12:46 placed him way out in front of Roberto Velazquez (MEX) who finished in 16:52, while New York veteran Stephen ‘The Beast from the East’ Marsalese rounded out the podium in 17:07.

Tunnel to Tower One World Trade Center Climb results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shari Klarfeld (USA)

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

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

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

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

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

Maria Elisa Lopez Pimentel (Mexico)

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

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

Anna Carlson (USA)

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

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

Debbie Officer (USA)

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

Tricia O’Hara (USA)

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

Verity Rees (USA)

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

Olga Starikova (USA)

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

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

Unable to attend

Valentina Belotti (ITA) – unable to travel

Cristina Bonacina (ITA) – injured

Kamila Chomanicova (SVK) – unable to travel

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