Towerrunning – action in Ostrava, Los Angeles and Hanoi

This is an official press release.

As is has been good tradition in previous seasons the last September weekend again was a highly attractive international Towerrunning weekend. Six thrilling races in five countries on three continents provided a lot of possibilities for position changes in the World Cup ranking.
On Thursday it began with the final of Czech Run Up Series in Ostrava. 465 stairs had to be mastered twice in the New Town Hall of Czech Republic’s third-largest city in the North-East of Moravia. Pavel Holec won the final round with a time of 1:52.9 minutes and therefore was crowned as Czech Champion 2012. Tomas Celko (SVK) finished second in 1:54.4 minutes, followed by Bartosz Swiatkowski (POL) in 1:56.6 minutes. Vit Vrbka became fourth overall and Czech vice-champion (1:58.9). The national Towerrunning title for female athletes went to Suzanna Krchova, who after her second rank in Prague and third rank in Olomouc now won her first event in 2012. She needed 2:26.4 minutes, before she crossed the finish line and thereby was 1.6 seconds faster than compatriot Pavla Zahalkova. The podium was completed by Lenka Svabikova celebrating her fourth top 3 rank this season. The six again wellorganized races of Czech Run Up Series 2012 saw 11 different winners. Only Sandra Schützova (CZE) managed to win twice in Zlin and Olomouc.

While the Czech finalists recovered from their strains, the US Bank Tower in Los Angeles hosted one of the most important American Towerruns. The meanwhile 19th “Stair Climb for Los Angeles” attracted more than 3,000 Towerrunning athletes conquering exactly 1,500 stairs in the 310 m high skyscraper. 2011 World Cup silver-medallist Jesse Berg (USA) celebrated a clear and undisputed victory in 9:35 minutes. 52 seconds behind him Wesley Reutimann (USA) became second. Third-placed Jeffrey Dinkin (USA) was another 35 seconds slower. Erika Aklufi (USA), who won all editions of the race since the introduction of Towerrunning World Cup in 2009 defended her title with an incredible time of 10:15 minutes. She continuously improved her time throughout the last three years and now beat the record from 2011 again by 20 seconds. Jesse Berg was the only male athlete, who reached the top of Los Angeles’ highest building faster than Aklufi. The second-placed female climber – Karen Geninatti (USA) – needed almost three minutes (!) more for the 75 stories. Weni Lee (USA) became third, whereas joint favourite Veronica Stocker (CAN) had to be pleased with rank 5.

Landmark 72 – Vietnam’s tallest building – was the venue for another international Towerrunning event being a member of Vertical World Circuit and a factor 1.5 World Cup race as well. It became a big day for Omar Bekkali (BEL), who crossed the finish line after 10:06.0 minutes and for the first time in his career won a World Cup race. Fabio Ruga (ITA) placed 2nd, narrow 3.5 seconds behind. The third rank went to Clement Dumont (FRA), who needed 10:58.2 minutes for 72 stories and 350 meters vertical distance in two different stairwells, connected by a flat  part after half of the race. With Keny Luke (IRE), Van Dau Tran (VIE) and Pedro Ribeiro (POR) on the ranks behind the podium the top 6 represented six different nationalities. Rolf Majcen (AUT) clocked 13:03.5 minutes and missed the top 10. The fastest female athlete mastering the 1,914 painful stairs was Suzanne Walsham (AUS, 11:20.9), who already celebrated her seventh victory in 2012. As a reward she not only enjoyed a fantastic view over the capital of Vietnam, but also received 1500 $ prize money and 120 valuable World Cup points. 2011 World Cup champion Cristina Bonacina (ITA) became second, although she lost more than 2 minutes against Walsham. Loan Thi Dung (VIE) completed the top 3.

By winning Vietnam Landmark 72 Hanoi Vertical Run the second Towerrunning World Cup title after 2009 is almost certain for Suzanne Walsham. With 1340.0 points she is clearly ahead of Kristin Frey (USA, 1120.0) and Cristina Bonacina (ITA, 884.0). Due to the void results rules Kristin Frey and Cristina Bonacina are not able to catch up Walsham in the ranking even by winning all remaining season races. Only Valentina Belotti (ITA, 5th with 670.0 points) still has a small theoretical chance to win the title.

Although not competing on the stairs since Taipei Run Up on June 10th Thomas Dold (GER, 1158.0) still has a comfortable lead in men’s ranking. Behind him the battle for the medals is becoming closer and closer. Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) remains on second place with 959.0 points. Tomas Celko (SVK) is third with 948.0 points, followed by Christian Riedl (GER, 901.2), Fabio Ruga (ITA, 883.0) and Omar Bekkali (BEL, 862.0). Also Bartosz Światkowski (POL, 771.0) and Jesse Berg (761.6) keep contact to the medal ranks.

Upcoming highlights in the Towerrunning World Cup calendar include the Schlossberg Stiegenlauf in Graz (October 6th) as the strongest-occupied outdoor stair climb of the world, the Stiegenlauf Business Park Vienna (next Masters Race on October 19th) and the World Cup premiere in China (October 20th), where the longest one-tower indoor climb in the history of Towerrunning will be staged in the Shanghai World Financial Center. On December 8th the grand final will be staged in Colombian capital Bogota, where the decisive points will be distributed after one of the most challenging stair climbs worldwide.


Towerrunning – 500 Towerrunning World Cup Races – A review

This is an official press release.


500 Towerrunning World Cup Races – A review

On January 11th, 2009 the stair climbing sport started in a new era. After the 465 stairs of the Towerrun TuS Neukökn in Berlin (GER) had been climbed on that Sunday morning points for the Towerr

unning World Cup ranking were awarded for the first time. The winners of this inaugural World Cup race were Jan Wilker and Sylvia Jacobs (both GER). Interestingly at this time point the World Cup ranking was still a secret project of the later Sports Director Sebastian Wurster so nobody knew about the points. One week later Towerrunning President Michael Reichetzeder was informed about the idea and the possibility of a cooperation. This was the moment, when the Towerrunning World Cup definitely was born. The project was officially launched with the publication of the initial rankings after Empire State Building Run Up 2009 as the first “Masters Race”. The leaders were the same as the current ones: Thomas Dold (GER) and Suzanne Walsham (AUS). Due to the delay between the first race in Berlin and the start of the online rankings Jan Wilker and Sylvia Jacobs never were able to enjoy the feeling to see their names being published as World Cup leaders.

Why do we write these lines about the World Cup history now? The “Fight for Air Climb Tallahassee” on last Sunday was the 620th race since the introduction of the rankings in January 2009. Nothing special you may now think – just another factor 0.4 race as dozens of others. Two features made the event quite special. On one hand Troy Alston won the race with the largest margin of victory (by percentage) in the World Cup era. Second placed Steve Wilkens needed more than 63% more time than Alston for the 398 stairs. On the other hand the race was the 500th race, which counted towards the World Cup rankings (the 120 other ones were either for special professions only, had a stairs percentage of less than 50% or did not provide adequate results sheets within seven days after the race). Troy Alston and female winner Brittany Stallings therefore were the winners of an anniversary race. 500 World Cup events in 45 months – from sprint races with as few as 100 to 200 stairs over the classics in the international skyscrapers to the stairs marathons. All of them belong to the Towerrunning World Cup family. More than 100,000 athletes accepted the vertical challenge in each of the three past years by taking part in at least one of the World Cup events. Today we want to look back on the first 500 World Cup races and mention some of these 100,000 athletes, who shaped the international Towerrunning sport throughout the last four years. Who was the most successful of them? Who was able to celebrate the most victories and scored more points than all others? To answer these questions a statistic adding the World Cup points, all medal ranks and victories from January 2009 till now has been prepared by the World Cup organization on the occasion of the World Cup 500th race.

For sure it does not surprise, that Thomas Dold (GER), winner of all World Cup titles and also leader of the 2012 rankings is heading these overall statistics. He is the only one, who cracked the 4,000 points-mark so far. With 4634.0 World Cup points he is clearly ahead of Tomas Celko (SVK, 3219.0 pts) and Jesse Berg (USA, 2919.6 pts). Berg is the only US-athlete, who made it up into the top 10. Ranks 4 to 6 are occupied by Fabio Ruga (ITA), Christian Riedl (GER) and Pavel Holec (CZE). Eleven of the thirteen point-best male stair climbers in the ranking come from Europe. Thus the eternal World Cup ranking looks like a reflection of the current standings in the 2012 season.

In the women’s stair climbing scene things are completely different. Two of three World Cup titles have been won by athletes from Oceania. Only 3 of 9 possible medals went to European athletes. Also in 2012 the perspectives for the European athletes are quite gloomy. Suzanne Walsham (AUS) is clearly ahead and rank 2 is firmly under control of Kristin Frey (USA). Cristina Bonacina will definitely not be able to defend the cup in 2012. Even if she wins all remaining races, she can not score enough points to close the gap between her and Walsham. Maybe a look on the eternal World Cup rankings could bring a smile on her face in this situation. There she is still in the lead. With only 3 race victories, but 17 podium ranks and 34 top 30 positions she collected 2963,0 points and won the overall silver medal in 2009 and the title in 2011. Only the two leading male athletes Dold and Celko scored more World Cup points than Bonacina. Although currently dominating the scene due to her weak 2010 season with a long break Suzanne Walsham only is ranked 2nd in the eternal statistics (2652.0 pts). She is closely followed by the US duo Kristin Frey (2474.0 pts) and Cindy Harris (2367.0 points).

In another statistic uniting the point-best athletes of both genders, 16 of the top 50 (34 male and 16 female athletes) represent the USA, seven are from Germany and Italy each. 29 of the best 50 athletes come from European countries. Altogether the top 50 (both genders) were responsible for 280 of the 1000 victories, 187 second and 142 third places. They together scored as much as 81042.2 World Cup points.

The athletes, who celebrated the most of these 280 victories are Thomas Dold (23) and Jesse Berg (20). Cindy Harris and Kourtney Dexter won 13 races each. Jesse Berg achieved 41 podium ranks in 49 races, whereas Dold only stood on 26 award ceremony podiums. He obtained 23 first, 2 second and 1 third rank from 27 race participations. Only once he missed the top 3, when he had to retire the World Cup final race in Bogota 2010. The most award ceremony participations among the female athletes had Kristin Frey (27). Tomas Celko (15), Thomas Dold (14), Suzanne Walsham (11) and Marie-Fee Breyer (9) – the youngest stair climber among the eternal World Cup top 50 – are the athletes with the most victories abroad.

Omar Bekkali (BEL) and Valentina Belotti (ITA) are the only top 10 athletes in the eternal ranking with less than 10 podium ranks (7 each). The best placed athlete without a World Cup race victory is Daniel Ackermann (21st male, 29th overall, 1259.0 points). The most points without any podium rank were scored by Dario Fracassi (29th male, 43rd overall, 865.0 pts.).

To complete the statistics we want to move on to the Nations Cup: Which one was the most successful Towerrunning nation throughout the past 45 months? After the duels between Germany and the US team in 2009 and 2010 with one victory each the Italian team caught up the others in 2011, when the top 3 were separated by just a few points – with the better end again for Germany. Also in the eternal ranking Germany (14554.3 pts) leads with a razor-thin margin. The US team is on second rank (14520.2 pts) clearly ahead of Italy (10654.5 pts) due to the weaker results in the first two seasons. Czech Republic (7428.5 pts), Australia (7185.0 pts) and Austria (6696.2 pts) follow on ranks 4, 5 and 6.

Besides that scores, victories and medals there are other, maybe even more important figures underlining the enormous development of the Towerrunning scene during the last four years: Between 2008 and 2011 the number of stairs races worldwide increased from 109 to 170. The number of nations being represented among the top 30 of at least one race was 22 in 2008 and 55 (+150%) in 2011. While in 2008 only 2 male and no female athlete took part in more than 5 races, there were 34 male and 9 female stair climbers with at least 6 race participations in 2011. Front runners in this regard are Rolf Majcen, Pavel Holec and Jesse Berg with 53, 51 and 49 World Cup races since 2009.

Despite there are many other records and achievements not mentioned in this article the final lines of this jubilee press release shall be rather dedicated to all the other 100,000 stair climbers, who are not listed among the eternal ranking leaders or record holders. Their great passion, spirit and sportsmanship were the basis for the success of the first 500 World Cup races and hopefully also for the next 500 ones.

The eternal World Cup rankings are published on the News page

Towerrunning – Piotr Łobodziński & Suzanne Walsham: A double Masters triumph

This is an official press release.

Five stair climbs with a total of 3,569 stairs at two events in two countires within 24 hours – that are the remarkable figures describing the last weekend of some brave Towerrunning athletes. Two of them did not even accept this special challenge to climb as well the Masters Race in Prague (Praha Run Up) as the one in Vienna (Millennium Tower Run Up), but also won both races: Singapore living Australian Suzanne Walsham and Piotr Lobodzinski from Poland. Also Lobodzinskis compatriot Bartosz Swiatkowski managed to achieve two podium ranks with his second place in Prague and the Bronze rank in Millennium Tower Extreme (Triple) Climb. He later on called this experience “a new dimension of pain”.

For several years the Run-Up Series in Czech Republic organized by Chris Delattre is an established name in the international Towerrunning scene. The events of this series offer several race options with varying degrees of difficulty. The elite race in which after a flat prerun of about 100 meters participants had to climb the stairwell to the very top of City Empiria Tower consists of a qualifying round for all runners followed by a final where the fastest 8 women and 22 men ran the 520 stairs a second time.

Despite rainy weather there was a great atmosphere at the event place between a shopping center and the tower. Athletes and spectators enjoyed a varied side program and saw high-class Towerrunning competition. In the qualifying heat the top favorites held back and saved their valuable energy for the finals. Later on when the top 30 lined up at the start again, they mercilessly showed their class. Suzy Walsham won clearly ahead of Suzana Krchova (CZE) and Lenka Svabikova (CZE). Also in men’s final there was nothing to win for Czech athletes – the Polish team apparently was too strong for the local climbers. The only question was, who of them will take the victory and the 120 World Cup points.

In the end the duel culminated in a split-second decision. Piotr Lobodzinski virtually overtook his compatriot with a stronger finish on the last flight of stairs. Probably with the last step he was able to beat the time of Bartosz Swiatkowski and celebrated his second 2012 Towerrunning victory with a paper-thin margin of 0.05 seconds. Pavel Ondrasek secured the third podium rank for Czech Republic.

One day later at Millennium Tower Run Up Vienna, the climbers had the choice of climbing the 843 stairs once (Light Climb) or three times (Extreme Climb). Both Prague winners decided to go the extreme way and both celebrated another undisputed victory. After the second climb even another Polish one-two-finish was in the air, but then in the third round Tomas Celko from Slovakia overtook Swiatkowski and secured the silver rank. Another competitor with five climbs in Prague and Vienna, Enrico Gäbe from Germany, was very pleased with 6th position after finishing 7th in Prague.

Having clocked the third best time in the first round, Omar Bekkali (BEL) retired from the race. Due to a controversial interpretation of the local event rules his time was not considered for the Light Climb so local hero Norbert Lechner won this competition, although he narrowly failed to achieve his target time of four minutes for the 843 stairs in his training stairwell.

In women’s race behind Suzanne Walsham US climber Kristin Frey and Carina Lilge-Leutner from Austria completed the medal ranks. In her blog runner-up Kristin Frey, who has been in the lead after the first round and then was overtaken by Walsham with a 19 seconds faster second climb, describes her
experience in Vienna and found impressive words for her third climb in the highest skyscraper in the Danube metropolis: “Anyways, I could feel the fatigue on the 3rd climb. My arms were finally starting to pick up the slack when my legs were starting to give out, glad all my hard work to get rid of the chicken wings seemed to be beneficial! I was elated with finishing second and my increasingly faster times. I really did all that I could, I probably could’ve pushed harder but I think mentally I was torn because I knew there was nothing I could do to catch her and just pushed myself to that comfortably hard spot. I didn’t go over the edge; I was teetering somewhat close to it though.”

World Cup champion Cristina Bonacina preferred the Light Climb and won the race with the fourth-best overall climb time. Among the ten fastest women athletes from seven nations were represented. While the women’s competition still was in its final throes, Piotr Lobodzinski already celebrated his victory on the outlook terrace of the Millennium Tower high above the Danube and enjoyed the fantastic view over the Danube City and the Danube Tower, where a revival of the legendary Donauturm-Treppenlauf is scheduled for November 17th.

As the icing on the cake besides the two Towerrunning Masters victories Lobodzinski two weeks ago also triumphed at Red Bull 400, a challenging race on the ski jumping hill in Bad Mitterndorf. After more than 100 skyscrapers, towers and outdoor stairs have been climbed despite his long injury lay-off in spring Lobodzinski now is ranked fourth in the World Cup rankings behind the German leaders Thomas Dold (1158.0 points) and Christian Riedl (901.2) and the three times World Cup bronze medalist Tomas Celko (856.0) from Slovakia. Bartosz Swiatkowski (711.0) is on 8th place, but with just six of eight considerable results he also has close contact to the podium ranks.

In the women’s ranking the lead changed again: Suzanne Walsham with 1220.0 points now is 100 points ahead of Kristin Frey. Cristina Bonacina was able to consolidate her third rank (Italy, 833.8). The Nations Cup is still led by Germany, followed by the USA stair climbing team and Italy.

With the wins of Lobodzinski, the podium ranks of Swiatkowski and another second place by Emilia Lany in the Millennium Tower Light Climb the Polish team massively improved its score and is now ranked fourth.

The next Towerrunning highlights are already coming closer: In Austria the national series Towerrunning
Austria stays in Vienna for the IZD Stiegenhauslauf in September 12th. The Czech Run Up series has its
next stops in Olomouc on September 14th and Ostrava on September 27th. Further international races will
be held in Hanoi on September 30th, in Twin Tower Vienna on October 19th and in Chicago (SkyRise
Chicago) on November 4th. Thus the hunt for World Cup points becomes intense. The great goal is to be
among the top three in the ranking after the race in Chicago – these athletes will be invited to the World
Cup Final at Ascenso Torre Colpatria in Bogota on December 8th where the World Cup champions will be
crowned after one of the most difficult and exhausting events worldwide.

Further information, results and gallery:

Complete Race report of Kristin Frey:

Event websites Prague and Vienna:

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