Posts Tagged ‘Soh Wai Ching’

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.

More:

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?

Eureka Tower stair climb 2019

Mark Bourne remains undefeated at the Eureka Tower in Melbourne after picking up his eighth win yesterday.

The Canberra man clocked his second fastest time at the tower since his debut in 2011, reaching the top of the 1,958-step building in 7:45.

Eureka Tower has played host to some great battles between the best Australian tower runners of the past decade. Between 2011 and 2017, Bourne went head-to-head with Darren Wilson and Scott McTaggart.

Bourne came out on top in each of those contests, setting the course record of 7:34 back in 2013.

With Wilson and McTaggart absent from the race in 2016 and 2017, Bourne had fairly straightforward, and slower, wins those years, failing to run under eight minutes for the first time since his first race at the building in 2011. He then skipped the 2018 edition.

Yesterday, with world ranked number two, Soh Wai Ching (MYS) behind Bourne on the start line, there was hopeful anticipation for a return to tight and competitive racing in Melbourne.

But Bourne was on another level as he pulled away from the Malaysian, who finished second in 8:58.

bourne and wai ching

Mark Bourne and Soh Wai Ching

It’s the third win in less than a month for the magisterial Bourne, after recently beating world number one Piotr Lobodzinski in Shanghai (Oct. 20) and Osaka (Nov. 10).

After taking more than a four-month break from tower running over the summer months, his return to the stairs in the past four weeks has been nothing short of astounding.

Next weekend he heads back to Shanghai for the TWA Tour Final, where you can expect to see him on the podium. If he wins, whatever the final rankings say, it will be hard to argue that he isn’t the top stair climber in the world right now.

Eureka Tower stair climb 2019 results

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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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Penang Top Komtar Towerrun 2019

Soh Wai Ching clocked 7:39 to take the win at the Penang Top International Tower Run on Sunday.

The world number two was the only athlete to go under eight minutes, taking victory ahead of Kenya’s Lel Kipchirchir who climbed the Komtar Tower’s 1,377 stairs in 8:17.

Mohd Saddam bin Mohd Pittli, winner of the R U Tough Enough? Southeast Asia competition in 2018, was third in 8:32.

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Great Day this morning at Penang Komtar Tower. Strong field on the first @mastowerrunning (Malaysia Towerrunning Association) sanctioned event. We have participants from 🇭🇰🇸🇬🇰🇪 and others who took part in the Tower Run. Overall the event was good but definitely more rooms to improve it. Glad to have a 3 days 2 nights short trip with family to Penang Island. Happy to have 4/8 committee from Malaysia Towerrunning Association to be here today taking part in the race. Well done to my training partner who did well in the race! Congratulations on everyone who completed the race, come back stronger in the next tower run! Keep going and see you all again! Next Sanctioned event will be at Yayasan TM Tower Run on 10th Nov 2019. #TheTopInternationalTowerRun #PenangKomtar #TowerRun #MalaysiaTowerrunningAssociation #MasTowerRunner

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The win caps a great few weeks for Wai Ching. Last month the Malaysian runner secured second place at the fiercely contested 200-point Ostankino Tower Run in Moscow.

In the women’s division on Sunday it was Michele Tan who came out on top. Tan finished in 10:58, a long way ahead of Stephanie Chong (12:15) in second place.

Soh Wai-Ching Vertical Rush 2019

Soh Wai Ching took an impressive win on his Vertical Rush debut in London last Thursday.

The Malaysian athlete was first up the 932 steps of Tower 42 in a time of 4:17.

His impressive finish makes him 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 for the charity Shelter.

Tower 42 London

London’s Tower 42, home to Shelter’s Vertical Rush since 2009

Wai Ching was an unexpected entry, having journeyed in from Paris, where he had finished fourth the night before at La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel.

The UK’s Mark Howard, also making his Vertical Rush debut, laid down the early marker in the 10am wave, where he finished in 4:48.

He was followed at 11am by fellow Briton, Mark Sims, who was coming into the race off the back of recent wins at the Christie Tower Run in Manchester and the LOROS Tower Run in Leicester.

Sims managed to beat the 5:00 that earned him second place at last year’s event, but his 4:58 finish was a little way off the faster Howard.

At 3pm, Wai Ching and Slovakian athlete Michal Kovac turned up. Kovac had also been in Paris the evening before, where he had finished in an impressive seventh position.

Wai Ching held off the challenge of his rival, crossing the line in 4:17, with Kovac just nine seconds behind him in 4:28.

At 6pm, Laurence Ball-King, who won the GOSH Walkie Talkie Tower Climb on his tower running debut at the start of the month, put in another impressive performance to finish in 4:49 and earn fourth overall.

Drinkwater defends her title

Susie Drinkwater

In the women’s division, the 2018 champion Susie Drinkwater returned to defend her title.

Drinkwater had been a surprise winner last year on her stair racing debut, but had picked up a decent amount of race experience in the intervening 12 months and was expected to do well.

She exceeded expectations, taking a massive 30 seconds off her time from last year to take first place in 5:41. That time makes her the fourth fastest woman to have run the tower since it opened up for racing in 2009. Only Suzy Walsham (5:01), Anna Frost (5:30) and Lenka Svabikova (5:36) have finished faster.

Sophie Gladwell was second in 6:20 and Krissy Hartigan was third in 6:27.

Full Vertical Rush 2019 results