Towerrunning – Bieg na Szczyt Rondo 1, May 19th, 2012

This is an official press release.

The third May weekend was a very bustling weekend for tower runners worldwide, since 9 climbs in 7 nations have been held within 3 days. While some of Asia’s best stair climbers competed at the legendary International Towerthon in Kuala Lumpur and the US elites gathered World Cup points at Bennington Monument, the hotspot of the European Towerrunning scene has been in Warsaw. The second edition of Bieg na Szczyt Rondo 1 was not only Poland’s most important Towerrun, but also the second European Towerrunning World Cup Masters Race in 2012. Therefore additionally to many of the leading athletes from Eastern Europe some other international elite climbers travelled to Warsaw to compete in an extraordinary race.

Similar to the modus, that will be used for Towerrunning European Championships in Frankfurt on June 3rd, the race was held in two consecutive rounds. The first climb was done by all competitors in an individual time trial format and afterwards the best 12 male and female runners competed in a mass start final with a starting grid based on the qualifying results. Each climb included 770 exhausting stairs and short, sinuous flat parts after the start and on the top floor. Especially in the narrow finish chicane easily some tenths of a second could be lost when missing the best race line.

And these tenths were decisive especially in the first climb. The three fastest climbers finished the race with almost the same time – only separated by 0.55 seconds. Viktor Novotny (CZE) was a hair’s breadth ahead of Piotr Szmyt (POL) and Fabio Ruga (ITA). Five seconds behind this trio Piotr Lobodzinski, the leading Polish elite tower runner coming back after an injury break, finished the first round fifth and thereby was not able to gain a position in the front row for the final.

In the final round the foreign athletes seemed to be able to profit by their experience in mass start races and therefore dominated the competition. After already achieving three podium ranks in the current season Fabio Ruga now celebrated his first victory in 2012 with a final climb time of 3:39,5 – more than 16 seconds faster than in the qualifying round. Last year’s World Cup bronze medallist Tomas Celko (SVK) came in second, only 3.4 seconds behind the Italian winner. The third place went to Viktor Novotny from Czech Republic. Best athlete from Poland was Piotr Lobodzinski on fourth position missing the podium by only 2.1 seconds. The new Polish Towerrunning shooting star and winner of the Rondo 1 premiere race in 2011 Bartosz Swiatkowski had to be satisfied with 6th rank.

By winning the race in Warsaw and therefore scoring another 120 World Cup points Fabio Ruga took the lead in the world ranking for the first time in his career – closely followed by Justin Stewart (USA) and Thomas Dold (GER), who will have the chance to recapture the top position next week at his home race in Berlin.

The successful Saturday for the Italian stair climbing team was completed by 2011 World Cup champion Cristina Bonacina, who after being clearly beaten by the home athletes in the first round managed to lead the final til floor 35. Then Anna Ficner from Poland was able to overtake Bonacina and to win the race before the Italian, who nevertheless was pleased with her race and rank 2. Even a bit more pleased of course was 27 year old Ficner, who celebrated her fourth victory in a World Cup race and her first Masters Race triumph after defeating the tower in a time of 5:08.6 minutes.

It was an impressive moment, when after the Towerrunning award ceremony music has faded and Anna Ficner received her trophy the national anthem of Poland sounded through the imposing lobby of ONZ Rondo 1 tower. The picture of the deeply moved Polish winner on the podium seems to symbolize the enormous rise of the stair climbing sport in Poland. It wouldn’t be surprising, if one of the Polish athletes will gather a European Championships medal in Frankfurt.

All in all more than 500 mainly Polish runners accepted the challenge to climb Rondo 1 tower at this well-organized race. Besides inviting and supporting international elite athletes and setting up a highly professional race the event organizers from Sports Evolution agency were able to rise more than 4,000 € donations for SOS children villages so the charity aspect also played an important role at “Bieg na Szczyt Rondo 1”.

After the next Masters Race in Berlin in two weeks the international elites will meet again in Frankfurt to celebrate another great stair climbing festival. Then the first Towerrunning European Championships will be held and 9,000 € prize money wait to be won by Europe’s best stair climbers. Almost all European elite athletes already registered for the event and Race-Director Michael Lederer and his team look forward to a spectacular event with three thrilling rounds, a media-friendly competition mode and technical features setting a new standard in the Towerrunning sport. Also the charity aspect then will be in the focus again, since similar to the race in Warsaw a major part of the revenues of SkyRun MesseTurm Frankfurt will be donated to ARQUE, an organization supporting children with Spina bifida and their families.

Further information:

Bieg na Szczyt Rondo 2012, Sebastian Wurster



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