Posts Tagged ‘Soh Wai Ching’

The European Tower Running Championship takes place tomorrow (21 May) at the Rondo 1 tower in Warsaw, Poland.

It’s the fourth edition of the championship and 2016 champions Christian Riedl and Anna Ficner are both returning to defend their titles.

The Championship format involves two runs up the 38 floors of Rondo 1, in a time-trial format. The athlete with the fastest combined time will win.

The who’s who of European tower running will be in attendance, but disappointingly the anticipated return of Piotr Lobodzinski will no longer happen, after the Polish athlete had to withdraw due to injury.

Men’s Elite

Görge Heimann (Germany)
Fabio Ruga (Italy)
Stefan Stefina (Slovakia)
Jakob Mayer (Austria)
Christian Riedl (Germany)
Tomáš Maceček (Czech Republic)
Tomas Celko (Slovakia)
Sebastien De Castro (France)
Daniel Koszykowski (Poland)
Krzysztof Gawlas (Poland)
Gerko Floor (Netherlands)
Pawel Ruszala (Poland)
Lukáš Mlýnek (Czech Republic)
Siegfried Flor (Germany)
David Leitheiser (Germany)
Mateusz Marunowski (Poland)
Kacper Mrowiec (Poland)
Matthias Gall (Germany)
Marlo Post (Netherlands)
Andreas Fruhmann (Germany)
Pavel Holec (Czech Republic)
Pawel Zakowicz (Poland)
Lars Migge (Germany)
Rauno Tiits (Estonia)
Božidar Deodat Krešić (Croatia)
Adrian Hebda (Poland)
Jindrich Schick (Czech Republic)
Nishad Manerikar (UK)
Roberto Toffano (Italy)
Irakli Chubinashvili (Georgia)
Wai Ching Soh (Malaysia)

Women’s Elite

Iwona Wicha (Poland)
Piret Põldsaar (Estonia)
Verena Schmitz (Germany)
Kamila Chomaničová (Slovakia)
Adéla Voráčková (Czech Republic)
Dominika Stelmach (Poland)
Anna Ficner (Poland)
Anna Żółtak (Poland)
Alessandra Valgoi (Italy)
Anzhela Fibikh (Russia)
Iwona Januszyk (Poland)
Chiara Cristoni (Italy)

Follow the live results of the European Towerrunning Championship 2022

Two-time tower running world champion Piotr Lobodzinski will return to action at the Rondo 1 Run-Up (Bieg na Szczyt Rondo 1) in Warsaw, Poland on 21 May.

The 36-year old Pole hasn’t raced on the stairs since February 2020, instead turning his attention to long-distance mountain/trail running during the pandemic-imposed restrictions on tower races.

Lobodzinski has won five of the previous nine races at the 836-step Rondo 1 tower in the Polish capital and also holds the course record of 3:27.60, which he set in the qualifying round in 2014.

The event is doubling as the fourth ‘European Towerrunning Championship’, with a strong field of runners that includes Malaysia’s Soh Wai Ching expected to be in attendance.

Athletes will each climb the 38 floors of Rondo 1 twice, in a time-trial format. The runner with the fastest combined time will win.

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Soh Wai Ching has extended his unbeaten run of tower running victories to 18, with a win at the Big Climb Houston.

The Malaysian set a time of 5:21 at the 50-storey Three Allen Center in central Houston to claim a new building record and keep his streak of victories rolling

Second place went to Nathan Marchant who reached the top of the Three Allen Center in 6:45. Douglas Schroeder was third in 7:50.

Rees lightning in women’s division

Verity Rees put in a strong run to dominate the women’s division and earn fifth place overall for the whole event.

Rees set a time of 8:19 to secure top spot, with Darlene Perdue (9:17) and Polly Warriner (10:06) filling the other places on the podium.

It will be a confidence boosting win for Rees, as she builds upon the growing list of top-three and top-five performances she’s put in since emerging onto the US tower running scene in 2019.

Full Big Climb Houston 2022 results

Soh Wai Ching continues his American tower running tour this Saturday (2 April) as he heads to the Three Allen Center in Houston for the Big Climb.

It will be the third race in seven days for the Malaysian, following his record-breaking wins last weekend at Big Climb Dallas and Big Climb Seattle.

Soh Wai Ching on his way to winning Big Climb Dallas

Saturday will be the fourth edition of the Big Climb Houston, and the action will be returning to the 50-floor Three Allen Center, after the 2019 and 2020 editions of the event were moved to 1600 Smith Street.

The inaugural Big Climb Houston was held in 2018 at Three Allen Center, when US tower runner and rower Harrison Kieffer reached the building’s rooftop in the fastest time of 6:42.

Harrison Kieffer winning the Big Climb Houston 2018

Soh will be hotly tipped to outdo that time as he aims to chalk up an 18th consecutive tower run victory.

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Columbia Center Seattle venue of Big Climb Seattle

Soh Wai Ching broke the course record at the Big Climb in Seattle’s Columbia Center with a winning time of 7:00

The in-form Malaysian athlete took six seconds off the previous record of 7:06 set by Canada’s Shaun Stephens-Whale in 2015.

He had flown in straight off the back of an impressive win at Big Climb Dallas the day before, clocking 7:16 as he ran the 1,326 steps of the Bank of America Plaza there.

The Big Climb Seattle men’s podium was completed by Jeff Devlin (USA) in 8:05 and two-time former winner Tristan Roth (USA) in 8:16.

Big Climb Seattle has been running since 1987 and involves a race up 1,311 steps (69 floors).

Soh will race again next weekend, returning to Texas to compete at the Big Climb Houston in the city’s 50-floor Three Allen Center.

Paha victorious with sub 10-minute finish

Jill Paha carried forward the strong form that saw her win last month’s Scale the Strat in Las Vegas, by clocking 9:52 to finish as the only woman under the 10 minute mark.

Paha was followed by Jessica Pickett in 10:04, while third spot went to Tricia O’Hara in 11:08.

Big Climb Seattle 2022 results

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Soh Wai Ching has set a new course record of 12.57 at the 105-floor Willis Tower in Chicago.

The Malaysian star became only the second person to have run the course’s 2,109 steps in under 13 minutes, as he took a second off the previous record of 12.58 set by Colombia’s Frank Nicolas Carreno in 2017.

Mark Henderson and Ezra Mullen battled it out for the remaining podium spots with Henderson eventually edging it with his 16.22 finish enough to see off Mullen’s 16.40.

In the women’s division, Rosalyn Russell (fourth at the ESBRU last month) took the win in 18.48. Jill Paha (19.54) and Verity Rees (19.56) both clocked personal best times in their super-close battle for second spot.

The win rounds off an impressive few weeks racing in America for Soh, who also took victory at the Empire State Building Run-Up last month.

Victory in Chicago came after he secured a double event win in Detroit less than 24 hours before. At the Gift of Adoption Michigan Stair Climb at Southfield Town Center, Soh destroyed the previous course record up the 522-step building – taking it down to 2.22 from the previous best of 3.13 – before putting in a fantastic one-hour tour de force of 15 climbs to win the Power Hour event.

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Cindy Harris powered to the top of the Empire State Building last night to win the 43rd edition of the famous Run-Up.

It’s the fifth time the 52-year old from Indianapolis has won the race, with her previous wins coming in 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2003.

Harris climbed to the top of the tower’s 1,576 steps and out onto the observation deck finish line in 14.01, in what was her 23rd appearance at the ESBRU.

The American was followed by Mexico’s Maria Elisa Lopez in 14.12 and fellow American Shari Klarfeld in 14.15.

Soh takes men’s title

Malaysia’s Soh Wai Ching took victory in the men’s division with a time of 10.46, taking an impressive 28 seconds off the time he set on his ESBRU debut in 2019.

Soh was followed by 2018 winner Frank Nicolas Carreño from Colombia who clocked 11.23, while third went to Mexico’s Alexis Trujillo who finished in 11.39.

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In the build up to his Guinness World Record run last month, Malaysia’s tower running superstar Soh Wai Ching took on a unique challenge at the offices of LILA in Kuala Lumpur.

The world number two took the stairs wearing a weighted vest, while the head of sales at LILA took the elevator to see if he could beat Wai Ching to the top of the company’s office building.

Watch the fun video below to see who came out on top. Or follow this link.

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Soh Wai Ching aims to set a new world record in November when he takes on the challenge of achieving the greatest vertical height stair climbing in one hour.

The Asian No 1 from Malaysia will target the record of 1.227 km set by Spain’s David Robles Tapia in 2019.

Wai Ching, who is currently training for the rescheduled La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel in Paris (30 September), is yet to officially announce the building he will make his world record attempt in.

“I’m still looking for an iconic building. I wish to do it in Petronas Twin Towers or Four Seasons Place KL, but I need to inspect the stairs first before officially announcing the building. The barriers are that I need to convince the building owner or the management to allow me to use it as a venue for this Guinness World Record attempt.”

Petronas Twin Towers where Soh Wai Ching hopes to attempt his world record

“Me and my team have met the Four Seasons Place KL General Manager. They agree but they are currently arranging another round of meetings to discuss with property owners, as the building comprises hotels, apartments and shopping malls. Also my friend is helping to connect us with a representative from Petronas Twin Towers.

“Other than that, I’m currently looking at other hotels like WKL Hotel and new residences like Star Residences KLCC and hope to be able to schedule a meet up with the person in charge and convince them to allow me to use the stairs and the lift for just an hour to achieve this GWR.”

Wai Ching hopes to clock 1.3km of vertical ascent during his one-hour climb, in order to claim the record from Robles Tapia.

David Robles Tapia set the one-hour world record in 2019

The 25-year old founding President of Malaysia Towerrunning Association

“I want to inspire sportsmen, sportswomen and youths in Malaysia to chase their dreams. “Dream Big, Believe It, Plan It, Execute It”. Even though we all are fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, there won’t be any competitive races, we can still do something that we believe we can, and do it!

“I strongly believe that one must have a strong desire to pursue their dreams no matter under what circumstances. As long as you’re willing to put in the effort and with good planning, you will be able to achieve it for sure.”

Soh Wai Ching plans to make his Guinness World Record attempt on GWR Day, 18 November 2020.

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Malaysia’s Soh Wai Ching broke the LOROS Tower Run course record by three seconds at Saturday’s event in Leicester.

Soh powered to the finish in 1:24.8 to eclipse the previous best time of 1:27.9 set by Elliot Slaughter (GBR) in 2018.

It was the second course record for Soh in the space of a week, following his new best time at the Sibu Tower Run in Malaysia the weekend before.

Poland’s Kacper Mrowiec finished second in 1:29.7, becoming only the third man to have run the 351-step course at St George’s Tower in less than 90 seconds.

Laurence Ball (GBR) was third in 1:31.4.

Soh Wai Ching and Kacper Mrowiec

Soh Wai Ching and Kacper Mrowiec

Frost makes it three in a row on return from injury

Sarah Frost was the fastest woman at the LOROS Tower Run, winning in a time of 1:52.8 to secure her third win in a row at the venue.

It was the first race of the season for Frost following an ankle injury that had her sidelined at the start of the year.

Frost had been due to race at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel on Wednesday 11 March, but with the postponement of that event she kicked off her season in Leicester.

Although Frost’s time on Saturday was the slowest of her three wins, it was still significantly faster than her rivals.

Kimberley Etherington-Bates was second in 2:28.3 and Sonja Shakespeare took third in 2:38.9.

Full LOROS Tower Run 2020 results

LOROS Tower Run race day photos

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tower-42-shelter-vertigo-challenge-2016

Update: within an hour of publishing this article, the 2020 edition of Vertical Rush was cancelled. Read more on the cancellation here.

Malaysia’s Soh Wai Ching will be back in London on Thursday to defend the Vertical Rush title he won last year.

Soh won the 932-step race at Tower 42 in March, 2019, in a time of 4:17. In doing so he became the fourth fastest person to ever race the tower, with only Thomas Dold (3:58), Piotr Lobodzinski (3:59) and Fabio Ruga (4:11) having run faster in the 11 editions of the UK’s biggest stair race.

The world number two has made massive improvements in the past 12 months and established himself as a legitimate contender to world champion Piotr Lobodzinski with a win over the Pole in Dubai in February.

Soh Wai-Ching Vertical Rush 2019

Soh Wai Ching was the winner of Vertical Rush 2019

Coming off the back of a record-breaking run at the Sibu Tower Run, Soh had been scheduled to race at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel in Paris on Wednesday. But following the postponement of that race he will now race in London on completely fresh legs.

As such, he is expected to run even faster at Vertical Rush this year and could well eclipse the time of Italy’s Fabio Ruga. The 3:58 course record certainly isn’t out of reach, either, and it would be no big surprise to see the young Malaysian get very close to it.

Soh’s closest British competition on Thursday is likely to be newcomer Laurence Ball, the rising star of UK tower running. He will be expected to take a huge amount of time off the 4:49 he clocked on his Vertical Rush debut last year, which earned him fourth spot. It’s Ball’s first stair race of the year, so it will good to see what form he is in.

Laurence Ball tower running

Laurence Ball

Unfortunately, Mark Howard (3rd last year) will not be racing, so fans will have to wait for the next installment in the ongoing Ball vs Howard rivalry.

Another relative newcomer to the sport who’s also anticipated to be in the mix for the podium is Poland’s Kacper Mrowiec.

He already has a 2020 win under his belt, having taken victory at 29-floor Ideal-Hochhaus in Berlin back in January.

Mrowiec is not long back from a winter training camp in Spain, and since his return to Poland he’s been training on the stairs alongside world number one tower runner Piotr Lobodzinski.

Like Ball, Mrowiec is a little over a year into his tower running career and beating the more experienced Soh might be just out of reach right now. But expect a very close battle for the remaining spots on the podium.

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Soh Wai Ching Sibu Tower Run 2020

Malaysia’s Soh Wai Ching set a new record at the Sibu Tower Run (627 steps) today with a time of 2:56.

It was the third win in a row at the event for Soh, who took a second off the unofficial record he set during a practice run at Wisma Sanyan last month.

Michele Tan (above, right) took the narrowest of wins in the women’s race, finishing ahead of Cheong Yan Wei by less than half a second.

Wisma Sanyan

The 627-step Wisma Sanyan, venue for the Sibu Tower Run

There was no 5km pre-run this time around, which had been a key feature of the event since its inaugural edition in 2017. This allowed world number two Soh to go all out in the stair run.

His victory is the perfect end to his preparations for one of the biggest races of the year at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, next week.

“I am happy with my performance today and I am totally ready for La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel on Wednesday”, said Soh.

View this post on Instagram

3rd Consecutive Wins at @sibutower 2020 edition us different from the previous edition as there's no 5km pre run. We all ran up 28 Floors, 627 steps, with a 95m Elevation Climb and individual start format! I clocked a total time of 2:56 minutes. With a rest of about 40 minutes, I went up for my second run up, and clocked a 3:04 min (got blocked by some female runners throughout the run). With about 15 min rest time, I decided to went up for my third run up. It took me 3:07 min to complete the race (got blocked by some fire marshal throughout the run). . I am happy with my performance today and I am totally ready for @laverticaledelatoureiffel on the coming Wednesday where all of us have to do 2 run up + a final run (665 steps) . I would like to thanks @sibutower Mike and Willie from MPI Alumni Association and Sibu Municipal Council on inviting me to be the Ambassador again for 3rd year in a row! . It was a well organized race and it's livestream throughout the race with 4 cameras (one at the start, one at 10th floors, one at 20th floors, one at the finishing floors). Thanks to all the volunteers and to sponsors as well for the event. . I would like to personally thank all my sponsors especially @malaysiaairlines on flying me here to Sibu for the race. Thanks to all the other sponsors! #SibuTowerRun #STR2020 #SMC #MasTowerRunner #TenagaNasionalBerhad #GreenAcreCapital #MMTF #MasterSY #JayBirdVista #JayBird #BeetItSport #BeetItSportMy #RudyProject #RudyProjectMy #BauerfeindMalaysia #BlackrollMalaysia #MalaysiaTowerRunningAssociation

A post shared by Soh Wai Ching (@mastowerrunner) on

Soh’s team mate HZ Chin took second place in 3:11.

Sibu Tower Run 2020 results:

Women top five:

1. Michele Tan – 4:12.053
2. Cheong Yan Wei – 4:12.392
3. Mercy Teh Mu Min – 4:25
4. Lee Leh Ha – 4:39
5. Liezel Lumindas G – 4:45

Men top five:

1. Soh Wai Ching – 2:56
2. HZ Chin – 3:11
3. Mr Kent – 3:28
4. Alex Tiong King Hee – 3:41.062
5. Tan Song Hua – 3:41.793

More:

A guide to the elite men at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel

Wisma Sanyan

Soh Wai Ching will race at the Sibu Tower Run tomorrow as he aims to win the event for a third straight time.

For the first time since the event began in 2017 there will be no 5km pre-run and runners will simply take on the 627 steps of Wisma Sanyan, giving Soh the perfect opportunity to go all out on the stairs.

Soh visited the tower last month to meet with race organisers and did a record-breaking practice run of 2:57 while there. He’ll be expecting to better that time tomorrow morning.

Soh Wai Ching Sibu Tower Run

Soh Wai Ching (r) receives his winner’s trophy at the Sibu Tower Run 2019

It’s a perfect final tune-up for the Malaysian before he heads to Paris to compete at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel on Wednesday, March. 11.

The 627 steps at Wisma Sanyan closely matches the step count for the new format for La Verticale, which involves two qualifying rounds of 665 steps and a final run for the top 20 fastest men.

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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.

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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