It is the race. Some elites love and hate it. It has a long history from 15 people lining up in 1978 to 666 this year. This oldest organized stair race celebrated its 35th edition with some modifications. It turned into a night race and for most of the participants the start was in time trial mode. In the so called invitational main heats only 12 females and 18 males 5 minutes later fought to reach the small stairwell entry …
One important thing has not changed. ESBRU still is an invitational race and the selection policy is opaque and intransparent. It is possible now to buy entry on the charity line and this year there also was a lottery system like that for the New York City Marathon which is organized by New York Road Runners Club too. For the marathon you can qualify by performance – this sportive aspect unfortunately at ESBRU is not guaranteed. This year policy victims included Italian Valentina Belotti who would have played an important role in the female race and on the male side Mark Trahanovsky.
Fastest lady by a big margin was Melissa Moon of Wellington (NZL) in 12:39. At her second ESBRU win after 2010 she beat three time winner Suzy Walsham (AUS) by nearly half a minute. On third came in a great champion of another sport where races are very much longer in time – reigning Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington of Great Britain on a sidestep to the stairs. Next on top the best home climbers, another triathlete Erika Aklufi and Kristin Frey. Not their best days had four time winner Cindy Harris and last year runner up Crisitina Bonacina (ITA).
The situation before the men’s race was clear. German Thomas Dold after a record six consecutive wins was the top favourite under enormous pressure and all the others were on the hunt. The start at ESBRU is predecisive and a nearly negative reaction time together with widely extended arms a big advantage. First to go was a climbing newcomer, the reigning European Mountain Running Champion since 2007 Ahmet Arslan from Turkey, closely followed by Dold – these two left all the others behind. But whereas the man from Turkey could not hold on and finally finished 8th in the heat, Thomas Dold did it again. After 10 minutes and 28 seconds he crossed the finish line in a cold New York night looking at an impressive illuminated skyline. Despite climbing the slowest time in his ESB career Dold extended his record to seven victories.
Next to come was yet another German, Christian Riedl, already third last year. He was only 8 seconds behind and nearly a minute faster than last year. Afterwards he meant, that more would be possible in the future if he had not to write on his dissertation and could train more properly. German Matthias Jahn, runner up to Dold in 2010, had to give up soon for the first time in his stair climbing career due to Asthma problems.
Contrary to the females time trial athletes especially Australians Mark Bourne and Darren Wilson left their mark by climbing to 3rd and 4th place despite lots of overtaking in the crowded stairwell. Both stayed under 11 minutes on the legendary 1576 stairs. The next two places in a sprint decision went to last year´s runner up Omar Bekkali (BEL) and Fabio Ruga (ITA). It was narrow too between the next ones, Macao living Portuguese Pedro Pinto Ribeiro beating the fastest American Jesse Berg.
After already 14 Trial Races the event in New York served as the first Masters Race of the 2012 Towerrunning World Cup, the official world ranking for the stair climbing elite by Towerrunning Office Vienna. After his triumph in Sao Paulo by winning the climb in New York Thomas Dold (GER, 520.0 pts.) expanded his lead in the ranking. He is now followed by Omar Bekkali (BEL, 342.0 pts.) and Christian Riedl (GER, 340.0 pts.). Although missing the ESBRU podium US athlete Kristin Frey was able to defend her lead (454.0) before Melissa Moon (NZL, 400.0 pts.) and Cindy Harris (USA, 351.2 pts.).
The focus of the Towerrunning scene remains in the United States: There February and March are traditional Towerrunning months and we look forward to a lot of interesting events in several cities. Also the next Masters Races will be staged in American skyscrapers:
-> Hustle Up the Hancock (Chicago), February 26th
-> Scale The Strat (Las Vegas), March 3rd – 4th March
-> Fight for Air Climb (Chicago), March 11th
Complete World Cup rankings and further information:
Pictures: New York Road Runners Club
- Towerrunning – World Cup News, 30.01.2012 (biegizagraniczne.wordpress.com)
- Towerrunning European Championships: June 3rd, 2012 (biegizagraniczne.wordpress.com)
- Towerrunning World Cup 2012 (biegizagraniczne.wordpress.com)
- The Empire State Building Run-Up: A Wrap-Up (news.runnersworld.com)
- German runner wins race to top of Empire State Building for 7th time – San Jose Mercury News (mercurynews.com)
- German man wins Empire State Building race again (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Serial stair-climber braves 86 flights to win Empire State Building race… for the seventh year running (dailymail.co.uk)