Posts Tagged ‘Vertical Rush 2019’

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

Soh Wai-Ching Vertical Rush 2019

If you haven’t put in the training you won’t be winning anything. But, fitness level aside, there are a few things to know that could give you an edge as you take part in Vertical Rush 2020.

The event, which is organised by the charity Shelter, takes place at London’s Tower 42 and is by far the most popular and well-established stair running race in the UK calendar.

In 2019 over 1,400 participants took part, and 2020 promises to be just as big, which leads us right into our first tip.

Get there early

To facilitate the large numbers of runners, the day is split into hourly waves with the first going at 8am. In 2018, Shelter introduced a night run so people set off as late as 8pm. This extended run of waves is expected to return again in 2020. From experience there is less hype and razmatazz in the morning waves, which will allow you to keep focused on the task at hand.

The later sessions have press, cameras, filmed warm-ups and more standing around in the early March cold. Plus the later you leave it the more hands pass along the railings and the greasier they get, which can cause your hand to slip as you pull yourself along. There also seems to be less people in the earlier waves, which leads into the second tip.

VR2013A0106

Would Boris and his horn help keep your head in the game?

Get to the front

Unlike at other races around the world, many UK races don’t have a designated ‘elite’ start. If you email in advance and express a desire to start at the front, it will be accepted, but you won’t always find there’s someone on hand to ensure you are brought to the front of your wave of runners.

This is certainly the case for Vertical Rush, where the people involved with registration are not the ones bringing you through to the start. So, the onus will be on you to get to the front of your wave.

At Vertical Rush the registration desk and bag drop are in a separate building to the stairs. You will be led a short walk outside between the two buildings and into a small basement type area with a central pillar. The entrance to the stairs is through a door on the right hand side as you walk into the ‘holding area’. Get in line at the entrance to the door immediately.

An organiser will give a brief talk and then point to the start line, after which a slight rush happens, as people queue up. If you are not in position, you will likely end up several dozen places back and be faced with the task of passing slower climbers on the way up.

Another reason to start at the front is the haphazard staggering of runners. At previous events, runners should have been spaced by a minimum of 5-10 seconds. This does not always happen, and it is not uncommon for the excitement to overcome some people and for them to just pour onto the stairs in groups.

If you are not at the very front, or at least in the first five, you will certainly lose precious seconds on the early floors as you weave past others and wait for the numbers to space out a bit.

Vertical-Rush-tower-runni-001

The madness of a mass start at one of the earlier Vertical Rush events.

Details about the stairs

Knowing a bit about the stairs in a building prior to racing can be a real help, as it allows you to visualise the event a lot clearer and keep pre-race nerves to a minimum (click through if you want more details on how to handle pre-race nerves).

The stairwell at Vertical Rush is left turning and goes up in blocks of nine steps per flight. Each floor is numbered so you can keep a check on your pacing. The hand rail running along the inside of the stairwell is flat topped, which can make gripping slightly awkward, but it does curve nicely at the landings, making turns fairly smooth.

You may also be interested in:

Like us on Facebook for updates on results and upcoming events.