Posts Tagged ‘Towerrunning World Championship’

It’s less than two weeks until the tower running season kicks off. 2019 was a standout year with close battles and course records aplenty, and with 2020 being a world championship year, the upcoming season promises to be just as exciting. Here are some of the tower running events we’re already getting hyped for.

World Championship at Taipei 101

f15f7b57ab31c217f471c6712a2654e0-taipei-101

The third edition of the TWA world championship takes place on May 9th at Taipei 101 in Taiwan.

In the men’s event, Piotr Lobodzinski will be looking to defend the title he won in 2015 and 2018. He dominated the race at Taipei 101 in 2019, finishing in 10:46 – the third-fastest time ever at the tower. The Pole also won both rounds of the world championship in 2018, so will likely be the favourite heading into the event.

But expect to see stiff competition from different names than pushed Lobodzinski two years ago. Soh Wai Ching, Mark Bourne and Alexis Trujillo are just some of the athletes who had very solid 2019 seasons and will be in close contention for the podium come May.

Suzy Walsham will be looking to retain her world title, too. She was under a bit of pressure at the 2018 championship, with Valentina Belotti and Zuzana Krchova pushing her hard in the long and shorter rounds at Taipei 101.

Krchova has disappeared from the scene since then, but Belotti is on the rise and will likely be Walsham’s strongest competition. Will the 2015 world champion, Andrea Mayr, make a comeback this year? She had a massive mountain running and ski mountaineering season in 2019, but will she be tempted back onto the stairs?

Full race details for the championships are yet to be released, so we don’t know whether the same two-run format used in 2018 will be repeated or not. Could the TWA throw up something completely new?

There are lots of questions surrounding this event. The first four months of the year will give a good indication of what we might expect in May. It will be an exciting time.

The 43rd Empire State Building Run-Up

EmpireStateBuildingAdmission

Just three days after the world championship, the longest-running stair climb event returns for its 43rd edition.

The Empire State Building Run-Up always generates a lot of buzz, but it will be interesting to see who among the world’s best travels straight back to New York from Taiwan in order to make it onto the start line. If some of the big international names stay away, could we potentially see an American male take top spot for the first time since 1994?

Sproule Love has been on the podium twice in the past five years, in addition to 4th, 5th and 6th place finishes. Could he do even better this year?

In 2019, Piotr Lobodzinski became the second fastest man to ever run the building when he won in 10:05. Will he head back to Manhattan to try and dip under the 10-minute mark?

There are loads of unknowns surrounding this event, mostly related to the start list and who comes out unscathed and fully recovered from the world champs at Taipei 101. Regardless of who’s in attendance, the rich history of the ESBRU makes this event one to get hyped up for.

Vertical World Circuit

VWC-LOGO-700-2

Last year’s Vertical World Circuit (VWC) saw some fantastic battles on the stairs, particularly between eventual men’s winner Piotr Lobodzinski and his closest rival, Mark Bourne.

The men’s competitions has been fairly limited in recent years to Lobodzinski, Bourne and Japan’s Ryoji Watanabe. Hopefully this year some of the other big names in tower running will be able to venture out to Asia to complete more of the big races on the circuit.

Suzy Walsham secured her eighth VWC crown in 2019, and although the Australian absolutely romped to the title, winning all but one of the races she took part in, there was plenty to get excited about a little lower down the rankings.

From the UK perspective, the emergence of Sarah Frost on the international scene was a real high point of 2019.

The top UK tower runner took a record-breaking win in London, plus podium places and top-five finishes around the world to take fourth overall in the final VWC 2019 rankings. Hopefully Frost will be back on the circuit this year to fly the flag for UK stair climbing.

The 2020 races are yet to be announced, so it will be interesting to see if there are any new additions to the selection from last year.

22-climb event at the Broadgate Tower Run Up

The Broadgate Tower Run Up

The Broadgate Tower Run-Up has quickly emerged as the best stair running event in the UK. As part of the Vertical World Circuit in 2018 and 2019 it has attracted some big names to London, allowing the pick of the UK’s tower runners to go head-to-head with top international competition. It will hopefully be part of the VWC in 2020 too.

Last year, Sarah Frost and Ryoji Watanabe smashed the course records at Broadgate Tower, in what was one of the most competitive events seen in the UK for years. Could those records fall again?

The event truly offers something for everyone, from the elite race, to quarter, half and full vertical mile options. Although these categories aren’t unique, the inclusion this year of the 22-climb ‘Ultimate‘ is.

22 climbs up the 877-step tower for a total of 19,294 steps is a game changer and such a welcome challenge for those who lean toward ultra events. There are Everest stair climbs and genuine vertical marathon events around the world, but this is brand new to the UK.

It’s a hugely exciting development and testament to the forward-thinking approach of race organiser Matt Hudson of Total Motion Events.

You might also be interested in:

The 2015 world tower running champion Andrea Mayr has been forced to withdraw from this weekend’s World Championship event at Tapei 101 due to injury.

The Austrian sustained an ankle injury back in February, and has now confirmed her withdrawal from the biggest event of the season.

The Olympic marathoner has been largely absent from the tower running circuit since she took victory at the inaugural World Championship in 2015, but was primed to return to defend her title at Taipei 101 on 5 May.

Mayr, who set the Taipei 101 course record of 12.38 back in 2005, was hotly anticipated to provide current world number one Suzy Walsham with her toughest challenge.

1st-winner-womens-category-2

Andrea Mayr winning the inaugural tower running World Championship in 2015

Of the remaining women set to line out in Taiwan, only Czech athlete Zuzana Krchova has recently beaten Walsham. Krchova took victory over her at the Towerrunning Tour 2017 Final in January, which was at the 1,210-step Beichen Plaza in Changsha, China. She also won the Rondo 1 event in Poland, back in March, among a highly-competitive field of European athletes.

Krchova is obviously an accomplished and formidable tower runner, but how she will fair at the considerably taller 2,046-step Taipei 101 is to be seen.

The highly-experienced Walsham has raced and won at the tower multiple times and, with obvious disappointment at Mayr’s injury aside, will surely now be brimming with confidence. The absence of Japan’s Yuri Yoshizumi, another of the few women to have ever beaten Walsham, will be a further boost to the race favourite.

The second tower running World Championship will take place at Taipei 101 on Saturday 5 May 2018. Keep an eye out next week for our in-depth guide to the event.

Like us on Facebook for updates on upcoming events and tower running news from the UK and around the world.

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.