This is an official press release.
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 ofwww.towerrunning.com.