Towerrunning World Cup 2013 – things you need to know

This is an official press release. 

Towerrunning appears to be a sport of the 21st century as it fits perfectly to the age of urbanization and the big city way of life. It provides a unique opportunity to make your workout in the office building during the 30-minute lunch break and you don’t even need to care about the weather conditions. These features as well as the growing need for healthy activities and new challenges have made Towerrunning increasingly popular, finishing with more than 105,000 athletes climbing the stairs all over the world in 2012. While most of the participants are amateur runners, who climb for the fitness reason – very often combined with a charity aspect, there is a growing group of elite runners. For them the race itself is becoming increasingly important – the idea of championships and titles lies in the very nature of sport. Since 2009 the Towerrunning World Cup, an international ranking system for the stair climbing sport, provides a possibility for stair runners to measure with other athletes throughout the entire season. A mathematically balanced scoring system, the consideration of many different distances from sprint races over the classics in the international skyscrapers to the stairs marathons, and the differentiated evaluation of all event modes (individual time trial, mass start, tournament systems, multi climbs, etc.) provide a fair and reasonable recognition of varied facets of the Towerrunning sport. In 2013 an revolving ranking system has been introduced, which allows a reliable comparison at every time point in the season.

At almost all stair climbing races valuable World Cup points can be collected. Central pillar of the ranking is a selection of the most spectacular and prestigious events – such as the legendary Empire State Building Run Up, the races in the metropolises of the Far East in Taipei and Singapore or the European highlights in Frankfurt or Basel – chosen because of world class participants fields, the internationality of the athletes and for their organizational quality. These so-called Masters Races get a higher weight for the ranking. The World Cup final traditionally is staged in Bogota, where year after year the best stair climbers join an extraordinary and challenging Towerrunning event.

In 2012 more than 150 races in 25 countries counted towards the World Cup rankings. German elite stair climber Thomas Dold won his fourth consecutive Towerrunning World Cup title. Piotr Łobodzinski (POL) and Christian Riedl (GER) completed the podium. Defending women’s World Cup champion is Suzanne Walsham (AUS), who clearly defeated Kristin Frey (USA) and Cristina Bonacina (ITA). The World Cup system also includes a Nations Cup ranking, which was again won by the German team.

From 2013 the World Cup ranking is organized by the newly founded Towerrunning World Association, which unites the Towerrunning Company (Towerrunning e.U.), national stair climbing associations, athletes networks as well as organizers of national and international stair climbing events and series. The World Association provides a framework for the regulation, promotion and furtherance of the Towerrunning sport and cares about the sports jurisdiction, the optimization of media coverage and media relations work and the global sports marketing.

About 200 races are expected worldwide and new countries are going to join the Towerrunning family. Besides the World Cup ranking in many countries national Towerrunning series and championships are organized by national Towerrunning associations to create an attractive surrounding for competitive stair climbing as well as for hobby runners. Everything is in place for a thrilling and spectacular season, when the battle for the coveted World Cup trophy will be opened again and ten of thousands of runners around the world will accept the unique challenge Towerrunning.

2013 Masters Races – downloadable calendar of Towerrunning events

Masters Race 2013

Masters Race 2013


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 – Himmelsleiterlauf, 08.07.2012

This is an official press release.

Today David Hoffman wrote Towerrunning history. He ran the fastest ever World Cup stair climb and needed only 22.70 seconds for 157.5 steep stairs on the 28m-high Himmelsleiter in Keltern-Ellmendingen. With a time of 0.144 seconds for each stair he was faster than any other athlete in an official Towerrunning competition and thereby climbed a new World Record. Just 0.49 seconds slower Kai-Niklas Nittel finished second. Jörg Schatz from event organizer PhysioAktiv became third in 24.95 seconds.

Women’s competition was dominated by Kathrin Süsser (GER) with a time of 35.61 seconds, followed by Ulrike Mettler (GER, 36.02) and Martina Szaboova (SVK, 40.53). Besides the about 50 adult athletes many children used the short race to experience the challenge of a stair climb. With Tom Bayer one of them even managed to climb a sub-30 time (29.09).

With his excellent performance stair climbing newcomer David Hoffmann, who is a handball player in the local Oberliga, also set the basis for an undisputed victory of his team TGS Pforzheim in the Himmelsleiter team competition (1:43,61 minutes). The podium was completed by the experienced athletics team Silvercastle Pforzheim (2:03,00 minutes) and the team (2:09,01 minutes). The Towerrunning quartet was led by World Cup Sports Director Sebastian Wurster (10th overall, 28.60 seconds), who celebrated a successful stair climbing premiere in his former home village.

With the well organized Himmelsleiterlauf another typical German stairs sprint race joined the World Cup calendar. From Kassel to Augsburg several climbs with less than 300 stairs are held. During the last 10 months 7 of the 10 shortest Towerrunning World Cup races were organized in Germany, where the broadest spectrum of Towerrunning events is provided. Races from 117 to 39.700 stairs ensure a suitable event for every type of stair climbers – sprinters, skyscraper runners and stairs ultras.

1. Hoffmann, David 22.70
2. Nittel, Kai-Niklas 23.19
3. Schatz, Jörg 24.95

1. Süsser, Kathrin 35.61
2. Mettler, Ulrike 36.02
3. Szaboova, Martina 40.53

1. Bayer, Tom 29.09
2. Süsser, Lukas 34.99
3. Nittel, Thibaut 36.90

1. Rottenhofer, Lara 46.78
2. Hampl, Sophia 46.95
3. Kreuß, Emma-Li 55.62

1. TGS Pforzheim 1:43.61
2 Silvercastle Pforzheim 2:03.00 2:09.01

Further information, complete rankings and World Cup standings will be published soon at

Towerrunning – Towerrunning European Champions are now crowned

This is an official press release.

When in the evening of a rainy Sunday Beethoven’s Ode to Joy sounded through the 18 meters high lobby of MesseTurm Frankfurt it was time to celebrateEurope’s best stair climbers. A challenging tournament with almost 3000 stairs in three rounds lay behind them. After the 1202 stairs in the final have been climbed and the chequered flag was waved at the finish line in 61st floor of the famous landmark building, the new European Towerrunning Champions were certain and a black-red-golden double home triumph was perfect.

Men’s title went to Thomas Dold (Germany) with a start-finish victory and a final climb time of 6:30 clearly defeating silver medallist Christian Riedl (Germany, 6:53). Third place went to Piotr Lobodzinski  (Poland, 7:00) showing a brilliant performance only two weeks after his comeback after a long injury break. Three climbers from international Towerrunning team “Horedole” completed a great result for the Eastern European athletes. Milan Wurst (CzechRepublic) became fourth in 7:07, followed by Viktor Novotny (CzechRepublic, 7:08) and Tomas Celko (Slovakia, 7:50).

While the men’s competition was dominated by the World Cup leaders and sonorous names of the Towerrunning sport, the results of the female’s competition were quite surprising. The 16-year old German mountain runner, cross-country runner and Towerrunning newcomer Melanie Albrecht won the first European Champion title in Frankfurt after mastering the final race in 8:05 min – 6 seconds faster than silver medallist Marie-Fee Breyer (Germany, 8:11). Valentina Belotti (Italy, 8:15) completed the podium. Also ranks 4, 5 and 6 went to Italian runners. Antonella Confortola, Alessandra Valgoi and Cristina Bonacina again underlined the exceptional strength and closeness of the Italian stair climbing team.

When lining up for the Formula 1-like start, the 12 finalists already had climbed 1784 stairs in the SkyRun and semi-final races. By combining different race formats and distances in a one-day tournament the all-round qualities of the athletes were decisive, but also tactical aspects became more important compared to other Towerrunning events.

In the morning the sixth edition of SkyRun MesseTurm Frankfurt was held as an individual time trial race with more than 300 national and international participants including almost all leading European stair climbers. Due to technical problems with the time keeping system no live timing was available for more than one hour so nobody knew the official results. When after the last climber reached the finish Towerrunning Sports Director Sebastian Wurster stood in the middle of a nervous crowd of athletes and spectators in the lobby of the MesseTurm and announced rankings and times, the first upset of the day became apparent. After ten consecutive victories including the 2011 edition of SkyRun MesseTurm Frankfurt Thomas Dold has lost his first stair climb since he had to retire at World Cup final 2010 inBogota. It was Christian Riedl who won his fourth season race in 6:42 and secured the prize money and 80 World Cup points. Instead Dold saved his power for the final rounds in the afternoon and set a time of 6:49. Third placed runner was Piotr Lobodzinski in 7:00.

Although being part of the European Championships tournament also non-European elite athletes climbed the 1202 stairs to the 61st floor of MesseTurm in the SkyRun individual time trials. Sproule Love one week after finishing 16th inBerlinclocked the fourth-best time (7:02) and thereby defeated many of the leading European athletes. Suzanne Walsham (Australia) won the women’s race in 7:49 narrowly missing the track record of Anna Hahner (7:48 in 2010). Second place went to Marie-Fee Breyer (8:14) one second ahead of Valentina Belotti (8:15). The later European Champion Melanie Albrecht came in fourth just another second behind (8:16). With the 160 World Cup points for her already fourth victory in 2012 Suzanne Walsham overtook Kristin Frey (USA) in the World Cup ranking and therefore is the new world’s number one.

After SkyRun MesseTurm Frankfurt the top 12 male and female European athletes had been distributed to the different semi final runs using a group draw with a seeding system comparable to the major soccer championships. The semi finals led to the 30th floor of MesseTurm Frankfurt and included 582 stairs. Unfortunately during the races there has been heavy rain so only few spectators watched the novel start modus on the outdoor part of the track, but they mainly crowded in the tent where the video broadcast from the stairwell was shown.

The women’s first semi final race was dominated by Melanie Albrecht (3:28). Behind her with Antonella Confortola and Alessandra Valgoi two Italian climbers entered the final, whereas the tournament was over for Xinxin Xia (Germany, shared 7th rank), Helen Hemmling (Germany, 10th rank) and Margit Rensch (Germany, 12th rank). The second semi final also saw a clear German winner Marie-Fee Breyer (3:56) in front of two Italians. Vertical World Circuit Champion Valentina Belotti and World Cup Champion Cristina Bonacina completed the finals. 51-year old German Dr. Gabi Hirsemann finished the tournament on a shared 7th rank in front of Sara de Maria (Italy, 9th rank) and Carmen Fuhrmann (Germany, 11th rank).

In men’s first semi-final there has been a tight race and the first four athletes came in within six seconds. Thomas Dold won the race in 2:59, followed by Piotr Lobodzinski and Viktor Novotny. Second Polish athlete Bartosz Swiatkowski narrowly missed the final and was ranked 7th. Also the tournament was over after this race for Ignacio Cardona Torres (Spain, 9th rank) and surprising semi-finalist Rudolf Reitberger (Austria, 11th rank). At the start for the second semi-final the athletes seemed to be quite nervous, since three attempts were necessary to launch the race without anyone false-starting or moving before the green light turned on. Then at second floor Damian Ziemianin received a yellow card and a ten seconds time penalty for hard use of elbows against an opponent. Similar to the first semi final only few second separated the first four athletes at finish. While Christian Riedl, Milan Wurst and Tomas Celko proceeded to the finals, Fabio Ruga (Italy, 8th rank), Damian Ziemianin (Poland, 10th rank) and Omar Bekkali (Belgium, 12th rank) retired after the second round.

Now the participants for the two finals were determined and after a short break during the Kid’s Cup event the big finals took place. Happily the rain now had almost stopped. The rest is history and few minutes later the German fans could celebrate their champions Thomas Dold and Melanie Albrecht, who won the first national Towerrunning titles too. Also the Polish team had a lot of reasons to celebrate. Besides bronze medallist Piotr Lobodzinski and the other top 10 climbers Swiatkowski and Ziemianin two further athletes achieved a rank within Europe’s top 30 – Tomasz Klisz on rank 23 and his brother Pawel on rank 30. BehindGermany(562 points) andItaly(376 points)Polandachieved the third best nation’s score inFrankfurt(247 points).

The Towerrunning European Championships 2012 were organized as a joint project of MesseTurm Frankfurt, Turngemeinde Unterliederbach 1887, the Association for People with Spina bifida / Rhein-Main-Nahe e.V. (ARQUE) and Towerrunning Office Vienna as the international governing body of the stair climbing sport. In eight different age groups German and European Champions were crowned. With prize money of € 9,000, the tournament was the most highly endowed stair climbing event inEurope. Besides the professional sporting performance at SkyRun MesseTurm Frankfurt, there was also an eminent charity-aspect. About 11.000 € have been raised for ARQUE, which offers counselling, sports and leisure activities for children with Spina bifida and their families. Therefore the event was a perfect symbiosis between charity and elite stair climbing sport.

Race-Director Michael Lederer from ARQUE was highly pleased with the event and the participants field: „The response to the SkyRun rises year after year. The participant record was broken again. Each runner helps to make this event even more attractive.” Co-organizer and Towerrunning Sports Director Sebastian Wurster emphasizes the new format and the fair-play issue: “We are very satisfied about the outstanding field quality and the highly attractive competition we were able to experience inFrankfurt. The great response from almost all European athletes and the media underlined, that the new Championships modus is challenging, spectacular and attractive. Although there was a high prize money fund, we saw a very fair competition.” Fair-play throughout the entire tournament and especially during the races has been ensured by voluntary referees strictly enforcing the Towerrunning fair-play-regulations. In this respect the 2012 edition of SkyRun MesseTurm Frankfurt and first European Championships set new standards in the Towerrunning sport.

After three European Masters Races inWarsaw,BerlinandFrankfurtwithin 15 days, also next weekend there will be major international Towerrunning events. Some of the world’s leading stair climbers will climb the Masters Race inTaipei101, whereas others prefer the second edition of Avaz Towerrunning inSarajevo. Besides invitations for elite athletes, prize money and a spectacular mass start competition there is another feature making the event particular attractive: For the first time in European Towerrunning history there will be live TV coverage of the event. Besides the world rankings and the introduction of new attractive tournament formats and championships this is another important step on the long journey to a professional Towerrunning sport.


World Cup Trophy for Thomas Dold: