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: