This is the official press release.
December 8th is a public holiday in Colombia (Inmaculada Concepción). And this day also is a holiday for the Towerrunning sport. It is the traditional date of Carrera Ascenso Torre Colpatria, which hosts the Towerrunning World Cup final since 2010. As in the previous year many of the leading international stair climbers had been invited to the race in the heart of Colombian capital Bogota and joined the event to fight for the decisive World Cup points. Year after year the main challenge for the international athletes is to beat the Colombian runners being used to the 2600m altitude.
The venue is Torre Colpatria, a 50-story skyscraper, which is a landmark of the 8 million metropolis Bogota, illuminated every night by thirty-six color changing Xenon lights. In fact the event started the night before with fireworks and a special light show attracting thousands of people in the surrounding downtown streets.
On race morning action on stairs began as early as 8:00 am and within 3 hours about 5,000 athletes climbed up more than 900 stairs to the 48th floor after a short prerun. The elites had the privilege to ascend to the very top – the heliport of Colombia’s tallest building.
In respect to the women’s World Cup only one medal-decision was open. Behind Suzanne Walsham (AUS), who dominated the season and managed to secure her second World Cup title weeks before the final, Kristin Frey (USA) was the definite silver medallist. Cindy Harris (USA) had to finish 3rd at least in Bogota to overtake Cristina Bonacina in the fight for the bronze medal. The defending World Cup champion from Italy missed the race due to undergoing a surgery. Nevertheless it was clear, that for Harris the medal race would become a very difficult task in view of the strong Colombian field. 10 female elite athletes lined up at the start to climb Torre Colpatria in groups of two.
Surprise race winner became Blanca Liliana Moreno (COL) with a new track record for female athletes (6:14.0) beating two times previous champion Maria Eugenia Rodriguez (COL, 6:27.0) starting together with Cindy Harris in the penultimate pair and four time winner Angela Figueroa (6:38.8), who climbed with Suzanne Walsham in the last pair. Walsham narrowly missed the podium (6:47.0) and finished 6th – 28 seconds before Cindy Harris (7th, 7:15.4) so Cristina Bonacina remained on the World Cup Bronze medal rank. Although Suzanne Walsham wasn’t able to celebrate the 10th podium rank in her 10th season race, she achieved a total of 1380.0 World Cup points, which means a new points record in the Towerrunning history.
Even more exciting was the pre-race situation for the males. As World Cup leader Thomas Dold (GER) was not in Bogota Piotr Łobodzinski (POL) had the small chance to win the World Cup by winning the race in Torre Colpatria. Behind Dold and Łobodzinski not less than five further athletes were in the medal race too. Four of them participated in Bogota. Only Omar Bekkali (BEL), who was third in the ranking after his second place in Singapore two weeks before, did not join the World Cup final and therefore had to fear for his medal rank.
Finally on this sunny day track record holder Juan Pablo Rangel (COL) clocked his 4th win in a time of 4:44.1. Frank Nicolas Carreno became runner-up for the 3rd time in a row (4:58.5) and Nicolas Herrera finished third (5:11.7) so in the end again all six podium places went to the Colombian hosts and the international elite athletes must wait another year for the first top 3 result on the maybe hardest 980 stairs in the world.
Best foreign athlete became Bartosz Świątkowski (POL) on the 9th position (5:33.4). Although giving everything and being completely exhausted after the race this place did not bring him enough points to secure a World Cup medal. In the end he missed the required 5th rank by just 6 seconds so once more a few seconds in the last one of 157 races counting towards the World Cup ranking made the difference between the chance on a medal and the 6th position, which finally remained for Świątkowski – another bitter decision for the Polish Towerrunner, who already had the misfortune to lose the victory at this year’s Masters Race in Prague by 0.05 seconds (against compatriot Łobodzinski). The situation of Świątkowski strikingly reminds us of Łobodzinski’s Bogota race in 2011, where he missed the World Cup bronze medal by 6.8 seconds. This year things went better for him. Despite again being without a chance and finishing 17th in Torre Colpatria Łobodzinski could celebrate his first silver medal (1001.0 points) behind defending and new Towerrunning World Cup champion Thomas Dold.
Not only Dold, another German had a reason to celebrate too: Christian Riedl (GER) became 12th in Bogota (5:42.7). With a total of 961.2 World Cup points he finished the season on the bronze medal rank – with a razor-thin edge over Omar Bekkali (954.0) and Tomas Celko (948.0), who was not able to improve his score in Bogota with his 22nd rank. Fabio Ruga became 16th in Bogota and 7th in the World Cup ranking.
Besides the World Cup athletes and Colombian elite runners thousands of children and amateur runners accepted the challenge to climb Torre Colpatria and thereby raised funds for Operacion Sónrisa, the leading global foundation to provide surgery to children with cleft lip and palate, facial tumors or burns. It was a logistical masterpiece of the race organizers to manage an event with so many climbers and to provide fair and safe conditions for everyone. Additionally there was a lot of supporting programme for athletes, visitors and the press.
The exciting race day in Bogota was terminated in the spotlight of the media, when the coveted trophies and medals of the Towerrunning World Cup 2012 were handed out to the champions. In the end everyone agreed, that Carrera Ascenso Torre Colpatria once more was a worthy final for a great Towerrunning season – a season with almost 200 events in 27 countries attracting about 105,000 participants from 54 nations.
- Towerrunning World Cup final – Bogota 2012 (biegizagraniczne.wordpress.com)
- Towerrunning – World Cup Final 2012 in Bogota (biegizagraniczne.wordpress.com)