Towerrunning – Masters Race in Vienna, 19th October 2012

This is an official press release.

A remarkable comeback and another Polish triumph 

The second Masters Race in Vienna was remarkable in many ways. There were rumours the day before, but still it was a great surprise when Andrea Mayr appeared at the Twin Tower. This very versatile athlete has a past in duathlon and 3000 m hurdles and she is current Austrian marathon record holder and Olympian in this discipline. At her best is Andrea when it is going up, having won many mountain runs all over the world and she is current World Mountain Running Champion. Besides all the sports she has finished medical studies and is now working full time in a hospital.

And in our sport Andrea has a 100% record – she dominated every stair race she competed in and holds the course record at all these events – among them multiple times the Empire State Building Run Up, the Taipei 101 Run Up and the Donauturm Treppenlauf to name a few.

At the Twin Tower after a four year-break Andrea Mayr was untouchable again. And with her time of 3:29,1 she even was 0.4 seconds faster than another former ESBRU winner, the event’s sports director Rudolf Reitberger (AUT), who had talked her into her first stair race in Linz ten years ago. The battle for the second rank was won by Carina Lilge Leutner (another former Austrian marathon record holder) with a two-second margin beating her own daughter Lisa Leutner.

In the finish area a quickly recovered Andrea Mayr could watch the race of the male elite climbers. There the Polish athletes again demonstrated their outstanding class. Already after 12 of 35 floors Piotr Lobodzinski and Bartosz Swiatkowski were 6.9 respectively 8.3 seconds faster than later third-place finisher Norbert Lechner (AUT). After 1:59.4 Swiatkowski completed intermediate 2 at floor 25 – 2.7 seconds faster than Lobodzinski. Also in the last section he set the best time. With an unbelievable 3:00,4 Bartosz Swiatkowski won before his compatriot Piotr Lobodzinski. The Austrian trio Norbert Lechner, Markus Zahlbruckner and Klaus Hausleitner showed an intensive fight for the bronze rank. Hausleitner started fast with the third-best time after 12 floors, but then lost time in the second and third section so he ended up fifth. After being on rank 5 at the second intermediate Markus Zahlbruckner clocked the second-best time in the last section and almost caught up Norbert Lechner, who narrowly defended the third overall rank.

The culmination was reached when the four last starters all lay on the ground together in total exhaustion! Bartosz gave everything he had and just in time got the okay from the medical crew to participate in the award ceremony where he delighted the crowd with his Usain Bolt imitation.

Bartosz Swiatkowski now is fourth in the World Cup ranking with 911.0 points. Piotr Lobodzinski again shortened the gap to Thomas Dold and consolidated his second position (1001.0 points). Norbert Lechner remains on rank 9 (755.5. points). Katarina Schwartz made it up into the women’s top 10 again (506.7 points, rank 9).

A fantastic weekend for Austria’s stair climbers was completed by Austrian Rolf Majcen as the winner of the first Towerrunning World Cup race in China. He conquered the 100 floors of the SWFC Observatory Sky Marathon in 18 minutes and 55 seconds. About 300 participants climbed 2,754 steps to arrive at the sightseeing hall of the Shanghai World Financial Centre 474 m above the city of Shanghai. The event was the longest one-tower indoor stair climb in the World Cup history.

With his third overall rank and best Austrian performance in Business Park Vienna Norbert Lechner took the lead in the national Towerrunning Austria series. With 440 points he now almost secured his first national title. Behind Lechner Rudolf Reitberger (369), sprint specialist Gabriel Strommer (350), Markus Zahlbruckner (320) and Rolf Majcen (320) fight for the medals. All members of the leading quintet are also ranked among the current World Cup top 30. With 9th-placed Lechner, Reitberger on rank 19, Majcen on rank 20, Zahlbruckner on rank 23 and Strommer on rank 30 the Austrian team is well represented in the World Cup table. Behind Germany, the United States, Italy and Poland the red-white-red flag of Austria can be found on the 5th position in the Nations Cup.

With 346 points Katarina Schwartz remains the leader of the Towerrunning Austria series after becoming 5th in Business Park Vienna, but the ranking is getting closer. Sandra Daschner (307) and Carina Lilge-Leutner (297) reduced the gap with their better scores in Vienna. Now everything is open. According to the void results rule all three athletes can take the lead at the next event in Judenburg on their own.

While the Austrian series will end with the final races next week, still great highlights wait for the World Cup athletes. In Chicago the next Masters Race will be held on November 4th (Sky Rise Chicago). Further Masters Races in November are the Eureka Climb in Melbourne and the Swissotel Vertical Marathon in Singapore. On December 8th the extraordinary Carrera Ascenso in the altitude of Bogota again holds the official Towerrunning World Cup 2012 Final. Most of the leading athletes in the actual ranking have already confirmed their attendance.





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