June 20 - Towerrunning European Championships - Mayr and Lobodzinski Donauturm winners
Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) and Andrea Mayr (AUT) proved to be the hot favourites to claim the Towerrunning European Championships titles. Both of them won the first race in Vienna's Danube Tower and took the lead in the three-day tournament.
The first benchmarks were set by Jan Wilker (GER) in 3:44.1 and a few minutes later by Fabio Ruga (ITA) with 3:38.3. Finally these times brought them ranks 5 and 6. The race was decided among the last four athletes representing the current leaders of the Towerrunning World Cup. Bartosz Swiatkowski from Poland has put in everything and stumbled over the finish line in 3:34.6. Some seconds later Slovak Tomas Celko was the first one in the long history of the race to be faster than 3:30. His 3:29.4 withstood the attack of German Christian Riedl (3:29.9). All contestants and spectators now waited for Piotr Lobodszinski, and the Polish World Cup leader fulfilled the expectations. He took another 2,5 seconds off – 3:26.9 is the new course record and Piotr Lobodszinski the new champion at Vienna´s classic Towerrunning event. With his 5th season victory in a Grand Prix or Premium Race World Cup Lobodzinski secured an excellent outset position for the European Championships, but Celko - the defending champion and favourite for the final in Bratislava - could keep the gap as small as possible.
Everyone expected a thrilling duel of Australian World Cup champion Suzy Walsham, being on a winning streak for 15 consecutive races, and the still undefeated Austrian Towerrunning legend Andrea Mayr. The Donauturm Treppenlauf was their first direct encounter and four-times World Mountain Running Champion Andrea Mayr was able to take advantage from her previous Danube Tower experience. Though Mayr had to overtake five competitors, she crossed the finish line after 3:57.3 minutes and emerged as the clear champion. With this fabulous time she broke her own record and became the first woman racing the Danube Tower in less than 4 minutes. Walsham finished second (4:31.1), while third-placed Lenka Svabikova (CZE, 4:43.3) sits on the silver rank in the Towerrunning European Championships standings. Fourth overall and third in the ECH division became Dominika Wisniewska-Ulfik (POL, 4:47.1).
The first race in the new era of the Donauturm Treppenlauf saw the strongest international elite field ever in a Towerrunning competition. Youth champions and thus leaders in the ECH standings became Tomas Krivohlavek (CZE, 4:22.8) and Tereza Krivohlavkova (CZE, 6:11.3).
Now the athletes will move to Brno where the second race will be held on Saturday, June 21. The competitors are going to conquer the AZ Tower with its 700 steps. The AZ Tower is the currently tallest building in the Czech Republic and virgin soil for the Towerrunning World Cup. The European Champions will be crowned on Sunday in Bratislava, where the final race will take place.
June 20 - Towerrunning European Championships 1st Race - Donauturm Treppenlauf
The first race of the 2014 Towerrunning European Championships will be the Donauturm Treppenlauf in Vienna. The desired revival after 6 long years marks the 18th edition of this classic event and it is time to look back on an exciting history. The race is one of few traditional events in Europe and from the very beginning it enjoyed a high reputation not only by local Viennese competitors, but attracted people from other parts of Austria as well as international elite athletes. The important role of Austria in the Towerrunning sport is directly connected to this event. Due to organizational skills it was an “event” in a time when this term was not commonly used for stair races, since most races were pure meetings of runners.
The Donauturm Treppenlauf leads over a distance of 779 stairs, interrupted by 60 landings and 9 short flat sections. Participants enter the stairwell from the lobby of the tower and climb up 160 m to the observation deck. The stairs of the anti-clockwise track are made of steel and are 20 cm high and 26 cm deep. The first step of every flight has a height of 24 cm. Only the last 14 steps leading to the observation deck are made of concrete. The default length of a flight is 13 stairs. At every turn a sign informs about the remaining amount of pedestals. In the final 15 flights the track becomes a bit narrower and many athletes switch to a two-hand rail technique.
The first race was held on October 3, 1992 with 28 female and 231 male finishers. Both winners, Irene Hausladen and Michael Korner, were triathletes. The hall of fame of the Donauturm Treppenlauf includes two athletes having finished all the 17 editions until 2008 – Helga Balvin and Walter Kocmata.
Record champion is Austrian Andrea Mayr who has won the last six races between 2003 and 2008. In the most recent edition in 2008 she clocked the course record of 4:04.7 minutes. Carina Lilge-Leutner follows with three victories between 1993 and 1998. Both ladies will return to the Donauturm for the revival on June 20. Two male Austrian athletes have triumphed five times at the Donauturm: Matthias Schreiner and Markus Zahlbruckner. Between 1998 and 2003 Rudolf Reitberger, member of the TWA World Cup Organization Board, celebrated three wins. Germany is the only foreign country accounting for Donauturm victories. Kerstin Harbich and Thomas Dold stood on top of the podium twice and the 2008 race was won by Matthias Jahn. Many of the Donauturm Treppenlauf champions won the following edition of the prestigious Empire State Building Run Up in New York.
On November 22, 1997 a certain Michael Reichetzeder became infected with the Towerrunning virus when racing the Donauturm. Later he launched the website towerrunning.com which has developed into the centre of competence for the Towerrunning sport and today serves as the central platform for promoting the activities of the TWA.
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