Posts Tagged ‘Vertical World Circuit’

VWC2020

The nine races of the 2020 Vertical World Circuit have been announced today.

The series will kick off at the Allianz Tower in Milan on April 19th and finish at the International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong on December 6th.

Vertical World Circuit 2020:

April 19 – Milan: Allianz Vertical Run (Allianz Tower, 1,027 steps)
May 14 – Paris: VertiGO (Tour First, 954 steps)
June 14 – New York: T2T Tower Climb (One World Trade Center, 2,226 steps)
July 5 – London: The Broadgate Tower Run Up (Broadgate Tower, 877 steps)
August 29 – Beijing: Beijing Vertical Run (China World Summit Wing, 2,041 steps)
October 18 – Shanghai: SHKP Vertical Run for Charity (Two Shanghai IFC, 1,460 steps)
November 6 – Dubai: Dubai Holding Skyrun (Jumeirah Emirates, 1,334 steps)
November 15 – Osaka: Harukas Skyrun (Abeno Harukas, 1,610 steps)
December 6 – Hong Kong: SHKP Vertical Run for Charity Race to Hong Kong (International Commerce Centre, 2,120 steps)

Defending champion Suzy Walsham (AUS) will be back in action, looking to win a ninth straight VWC title.

In the men’s division, six-time champion Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) will be aiming to keep Mark Bourne (AUS) at bay as he hopes to add a seventh VWC title to his record.

For more details on the 2020 series head to the Vertical World Circuit website.

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

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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

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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.

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walsham VWC 2019

Suzy Walsham and Piotr Lobodzinski retained their Vertical World Circuit (VWC) titles yesterday at the grand finale in Osaka, Japan.

It was the eighth straight title for Australia’s Walsham, who first won the series back in 2012, and a sixth title for Piotr Lobodzinski.

The ten-event series has seen close races around the world throughout 2019. Starting in Seoul back in April, runners have since done battle in Milan, Ho Chi Minh City, Paris, New York, London, Beijing, Shanghai and Dubai before the final race on Sunday (Nov. 10) in Osaka.

The 1,610-step Abeno Harukas was the venue for the final event.

Heading into the race, Lobodzinski needed to place at least second to be certain of retaining his title. With a resurgent Mark Bourne (AUS) in the mix, and Ryoji Watanabe (JPN) seeking his first VWC title it was not an easy situation for the Polish world champion.

But in the end he did enough. Mark Bourne took the win with a new course record of 8:29 and Lobodzinski followed in 8:43. His second-place finish enough to earn him the overall Vertical World Circuit 2019 crown.

Harukas Skyrun men’s results:

  1. Mark Bourne (AUS) – 8:29
  2. Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) – 8:43
  3. Ryoji Watanabe (JPN) – 9:02
  4. Kato Satoshi (JPN) – 9:19
  5. Liang Liang He (CHN) – 9:41

‘Of course, I wanted to win today, but my shape is not as good as in spring. Mark was better and I had no chance to win the race but the points I collected in the first part of the season were enough to secure my sixth title in a row so I’m very happy and glad to be on top for so long,’ Lobodzinski told reporters after the race.

Eight straight for Walsham

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And then there were 8! 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 When I was first crowned Vertical World Circuit champion at the end of the 2012 season, it was my first full successful year after pregnancy and I was excited to see where this newish sport would take me. While I try not to put limits on myself, I still never really expected to still be competing and doing well 8 years later! Despite my advancing years and the body not quite holding up like it used to, I still aim for improvement and I’m still as motivated and determined as ever in my training and racing. It’s not possible to have this kind of success year in, year out without an amazing team behind me. So a big thank you to: – @david_freer for your love, support, guidance, encouragement and for holding the fort at home when I am frequently away racing. – my family, friends and fellow athletes from all over the world who also encourage, support and motivate me. – the companies who help me be the best athlete I can be: @nike @drgarytho @alpnutrition_official @simplyactiveasia – the @verticalworldcircuit for organising the Circuit and supporting the athletes. A special shout out to @sportingrepublic and @dshinhk for managing/directing so many of the races. I’m already excited for 2020! #worldchampion #8times #verticalworldcircuit #vwc19 #nolimits #consistency #motivation #determination #beyourbest #neverstoptrying #nevergiveup #goals #dreams #fitnessmotivation #towerrunning #verticalrunning #justdoit #seeyouinthestairs #theonlywayisup

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In the final of the women’s event, Suzy Walsham only needed to finish in fifth place to be sure of winning an incredible eighth VWC title.

Giving her the title, then, was in part mere formality, as you probably have to go back to 2011 to find the last time the Australian star didn’t finish on the podium at a tower run.

But the race still had to be run and Walsham put in a blistering performance to take the win and finish in 10:18, just four seconds off the course record set by Japan’s Yuri Yoshizumi in 2017.

Harukas Skyrun women’s results:

  1. Suzy Walsham (AUS) – 10:18:
  2. Laura Manninen (FIN) – 11:07
  3. Yuko Tateishi (JPN) – 11:30
  4. Kumi Kinoshita (JPN) – 11:59
  5. Mie Takahashi (JPN) – 12:02

‘I’m thrilled to win here in Osaka at the 2019 Vertical World Circuit final and achieve my eighth straight world title,’ said Walsham. ‘I had a strong run, although I was a little disappointed to just miss the record, but it’s hard to be at your absolute peak for every race. It’s been a great year of racing and I’m already looking forward to VWC 2020!’

2019 Vertical World Circuit final standings:
Men

  1. Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) – 567 points
  2. Mark Bourne (AUS) – 561 points
  3. Ryoji Watanabe (JPN) – 539.5 points
  4. Emanuele Manzi (ITA) – 454 points
  5. Omar Bekkali (BEL) – 420 points

Women

  1. Suzy Walsham (AUS) – 600 points
  2. Laura Manninen (FIN) – 533 points
  3. Yuko Tateishi (JPN) – 461.5 points
  4. Sarah Frost (GBR) – 449.5 points
  5. Cristina Bonacina (ITA) – 359 points

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Mark Bourne won the Race to Shanghai IFC this morning to become the first person to beat world champion Piotr Lobodzinski in 2019.

The Australian mountain running star reached the top of the 1,460-step tower in 7:58, ahead of Lobodzinski, who finished in 8:05.

Bourne, who set the course record of 7:42 in 2016, was back on the tower running circuit for the first time since May. But the five month break from the stairs (albeit filled with mountain running) seems to have done the Canberra man no harm at all.

‘I’m very happy to come here and win up this building again. It’s the sixth time I’ve been here and I always enjoy coming back. I’ve won it four times now. I’m looking forward to Osaka in three weeks’ time. I’ve done some very good times there in the past so looking forward to finishing off the season strongly,’ said Bourne.

The race on Sunday morning was the fifth occasion the long-time rivals had met this season, with Lobodzinski having won each of those races.

Heading into the event, Lobodzinski was on an 11-race win streak and was hoping to maintain his unbeaten run to the end of the season.

But on this particular course, the world number one has often struggled to beat Bourne, and once again he found himself undone.

It was the first time since 2014 that Lobodzinski failed to finish in under eight minutes.

Third place on the day went to Japan’s Ryoji Watanabe who finished in 8:17.

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Piotr Lobodzinski and Mark Bourne renew their rivalry this coming Sunday (20 October) in the eighth round of the Vertical World Circuit series in Shanghai, China.

The pair have faced off three times in the Vertical World Circuit this year, with Lobodzinski coming out on top on each occasion.

At the 2,917-step Lotte World Tower International Sky Run in Seoul, back at the start of April, Lobodzinski set a new course record of 15:37 – a huge 16 second improvement on his previous fastest time. Bourne himself ran a magnificent race to finish just two seconds behind in 15:39.

A week later the pair went head-to-head again in Milan, at the 1,027-step Allianz Tower.

At the finish, less than a second separated them. But once again it was Lobodzinski who came out on top, setting a new course record of 5:16 in the process.

Two weeks later the Australian had another chance to attempt to beat his Polish rival. The action returned to Asia for the inaugural Vinpearl Luxury Landmark 81 – Race to the Summit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 2,383 steps stood between the bottom and the top of the world’s 14th tallest tower.

Once again Lobodzinski took the win. His finishing time of 11:35 was a massive 50 seconds faster than Bourne’s.

VWC 2018 winner Lobodzinski

Piotr Lobodzinski won the Vertical World Circuit title in 2018

Now the action heads to Shanghai, where the pair have been swapping wins over the past few seasons.

Bourne vs Lobodzinski: Race to Shanghai IFC

2014
Winner: Mark Bourne (7:55)
Runner-up: Piotr Lobodzinski (8:10)

2015
Winner: Piotr Lobodzinski (7:54)
Runner-up: Mark Bourne (8:22)

2016
Winner: Mark Bourne (7:42 – course record)
Runner-up: Piotr Lobodzinski (7:47)

2017
Winner: Mark Bourne (7:44)
Runner-up: Piotr Lobodzinski (7:53)

2018
Winner: Piotr Lobodzinski (7:43)
Runner-up: Mark Bourne (7:59)

Heading into Sunday’s clash, Lobodzinski is confident he can maintain his unbeaten run in 2019.

‘After my win last year here, I know I can break the course record now,’ said the world number one. ‘We will see, but it should be a fast and interesting battle like always. I can’t wait!’

After recently competing at the OCR World Championships – where his Team OCRA finished 5th – Lobodzinski is refocusing on the stairs.

Although Mark Bourne has been out of the stairwells since the Taipei 101 Run-Up in May (where he also finished as runner-up to Lobodzinski), he has competed in mountain running events since then. What sort of form he’ll be in on Sunday remains to be seen.

Check back on Sunday/Monday, as we’ll have all the news from the race as results come in.

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Italy has produced a set of fantastic tower runners and Fabio Ruga is one of the very best.

Italian tower runners have been topping podiums around the world for close to 15 years. Bellotti, Bonacina, De Gasperi and Manzi have all won big races against top rivals.

With a background in mountain running, Fabio Ruga made his tower running debut in Milan in 2008.

Over the past 10 years, he’s raced against, and often beat, some of the top tower runners of this generation, including stars such as Thomas Dold and Christian Riedl.

Fabio Ruga

Fabio Ruga finishes one step behind Marco De Gasperi at the Pirelli Tower in 2009

UK tower running fans should be well familiar with the Italian. The course record of 4:07 he set at the Gherkin in 2010 still stands. A year later he won Vertical Rush. Since then he’s been on the podium at Tower 42 a number of times, clocking a brilliant personal best of 4:11 in 2012.

Ruga Gherkin winner 2010

Ruga celebrates at the top of the Gherkin, after setting the course record in 2010

The indomitable Ruga is still winning races. His victories this year include the fourth leg of the Vertical World Circuit at Tour First in Paris, where he beat Omar Bekkali and Emanuele Manzi, and the Thyssenkrupp Tower Run in Rottweil, Germany last month, where he finished ahead of top Germans, Christian Riedl and Görge Heimann.

Fabio Ruga 2019

Fabio Ruga celebrates winning the Thyssenkrupp Tower Run, September 2019

Other notable performances this year include third-place finishes at the Empire State Building Run-Up and the Allianz Vertical Run in Milan.

The Italian star recently caught up with publication La Repubblica to discuss his win in Rottweil, plus how he got into stair running and what his real passion is. Click the link below for the full article.

La Repubblica interview with Fabio Ruga

He also gave another interesting interview to Atletica Pidaggia 15●28 earlier in the year, in which he explains why he came back to tower running after some time away.

Atletica Pidaggia 15●28 interview with Fabio Ruga

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China Wing HOtel

Suzy Walsham took victory at the China World Summit Wing Beijing for a seventh straight time on Saturday.

Walsham, the course record holder at the 2,041-step tower, reached the top in 11:59 to secure maximum points in the Beijing leg of the 2019 Vertical World Circuit.

The reigning world champion led from the claxon, eventually pulling away from Linming Chen (12:49) and Finland’s Laura Manninen (13:04) in the second half of the race.

‘I wasn’t feeling great in the warm up’, said Walsham. ‘But [I] focused and pushed hard and got the result I wanted. I focused on my own race and did not get distracted by the other runners. I was able to win by not going out too fast early on, and maintained a pretty good rhythm pulling away around the 30th floor, and it was head down to keep on going.’

The finishing time was 13 seconds off the course record she set back in 2013, but it was a very welcome return to top spot on the podium for the Australian.

The previous weekend (24th August), Walsham had to settle for second spot as former World Mountain Running Champion (2009) Valentina Belotti took victory at the Ostankino Tower in Moscow.

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Super happy to win my 7th straight title at the China World Summit Wing Beijing Vertical Run, and achieve my goals of maximising my #verticalworldcircuit points and running a sub 12min time. Wasn’t feeling great in the warm up but focused and pushed hard and got the result I wanted. Another awesome event by @sportingrepublic and a great competition. Let’s go for lucky #8 next year! 🥇🏃🏻‍♀️🔝😃 #vwc19 #cwswverticalrun2019 #国贸大酒店 #chinaworldsummitwing #sportingrepublic #winner #7wins #happy #tired #raceday #toughrace #focused #determination #motivated #neverstoptrying #nike #nikesg #alpnutrition #alpnutritionsport #chiroworkssg #chiroworksathlete #jarrahhoney #justdoit #theonlywayisup (📷 @verticalworldcircuit )

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The race was the seventh in the 11-race Vertical World Circuit. It was a third win for Walsham (Milan, Ho Chi Minh City, Beijing) alongside the second place she secured in Seoul, but Laura Manninen remains on top of the overall rankings.

The next race will take place at Two Shanghai IFC on 20th October. Walsham is also course record holder at that 1,460-step tower, and she will be expected to repeat her 2018 win.