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May 3 - Taipei 101 Run Up             Gallery

The TWA Grand Prix and WFGT Towerrunning Challenge race took place on Sunday 3 May at the popular Taipei 101 Run Up. As more than 4,500 competitors from 38 countries were lining up to conquer one of the world’s tallest buildings, the elites were already scaling the 2,046 steps and 91 floors to the Taipei 101 Observation deck, and it was World Cup leaders Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) and Suzy Walsham (AUS) who claimed victory. Despite being the only two elite athletes to fail the “medical test” (a balancing test with closed eyes), the two recorded strong victories with Lobodzinski reaching the top in 11min08sec and Walsham in 13min16sec.

It was Lobodzinski’s first win in the Tower after twice finishing runner-up, and he was pleased with the result. “I am very happy to finally win in Taipei” he smiled, “I have not done so much specific stair training since the World Championships so I was really pleased with my result and the time”. Second place went to Italian Emanuele Manzi in 11min52sec, claiming his first podium result in his fourth attempt, and much to the delight of the local crowd Kuo Chun-ku took third place in 12min53sec.

In the women’s elite race, Walsham returned to Taipei after a six year hiatus and ran almost 30 seconds faster than her previous best. “I am pleased with the win” said Walsham “but a little disappointed with the time as I really wanted to go sub-13 minutes. With the height of the stars, it was difficult to use my normal technique so I did not feel as strong as I hoped.” Second place went to rising star Dominika Wiszniewska-Ulfik (POL) in 14mins29sec, “This was the tallest building I have ever run up” she commented “but it was a good race and I enjoyed the challenge.” Experienced Italian stair climber Christina Bonacina came in third in 16mins.

This is the eleventh edition of the race and it is a key sporting event on the Taipei running scene. The race comprised four different categories of competition: elite runners, corporate teams, fundraising relays and individual amateurs; and in an effort to set an example and promote a  healthy fitness regime, even the Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je competed, finishing in a time of 45min54sec.

 



April 18 -  Climb for Wilderness Calgary              Gallery

A trumpet fanfare by local musician Chris Morrison kicked off the 24th annual Climb and Run for Wilderness on a bright, crisp spring day in Calgary. For the first time in the event’s history, the exciting “Power Hour” climb was added to the day’s schedule, and the race joined the WFGT Towerrunning Challenge and Towerrunning World Cup with Premium status. Despite their unfamiliarity with such a format, international Goerge Heimann (GER) and US-living Canadian Veronica Stocker triumphed.

The “Power Hour” challenged competitors to see how many full circuits (both up and back down) of the 802 stairs and 160 m high Calgary Tower they could complete in one hour, with the event being so tough even champion Heimann commented “I haven’t taken part in such a hard race before!” An interesting aspect for competitors was the 2 separate stairwells used for the race – one for going up and one for going down; with the stairwells wrapped around each other heading in different directions. This enabled the athletes to see how far ahead or behind they were, but also enabled encouragement between them.

The race began with a mass start, and last year’s endurance winner and local favourite Jonathan Heinz was first into the stairwell. However by the 10th floor Heimann, 7th in the 2014 Towerrunning World Cup, took the lead and remained in front until the end, completing five full circuits in 49:54. The fight for bronze and silver was much closer. Alexander Workman (USA) passed Heinz on the second lap, however struggled running down the stairs, with Heinz revealing his unique technique: taking seven steps individually and then jumping the entire last seven steps, landing loudly with both feet on the stamped steel. Gaining ground on the descents, Heinz finally passed Workman and held on for second, also completing 5 circuits (58:39), with Workman third, his last minute burst securing him 5 circuits with just 3 seconds to spare.

In the women’s elite category, the beginning of the race was similar to the men’s, with last year’s endurance winner Shannon Magee starting fast in the first lap. However Stocker, the number one ranked USSCA climber, passed her shortly after and was never threatened, completing 4 full circuits in 55:12. Magee came in second, completing her 4 circuits in 58:26. American Madeleine Fontillas Ronk took the bronze, completing 3 laps. “It’s surprisingly hard to run down stairs” said Stocker “but it was a great race and I will be back next year.”

More than 1,200 participants took part across the day’s 5 athletic events: a race including a 1 km road section, a family-friendly “fun climb”, a four-hour endurance climb, a team challenge, and the Power Hour. “The 24th Climb and Run for Wilderness has been without a doubt the most exciting and rewarding Earth Day Celebration we have had the honour to present. Our newest element, the power hour, was an outstanding success and we continue to spread this event’s reach around the world,” said AWA Executive Director Christyann Olson.



April 18 - Valtellina Vertical Tube Race             Gallery         Video

 The small number of distance outdoor races is richer by a major attraction.. The premiere edition of the Valtellina Vertical tube race was a glorious success. It is one of longest towerrunning races in Europe held on a 1km long track with 2700 stairs and 500m of elevation. No rails. 250 runners finished this tough race cheered by a large crowd of enthusiastic spectators.

Very famous names from mountainrunning and a number of towerrunning specialists took the challenge on a sunny saturday in Valltelina in the north of Italy. In beautiful weather with hot  25 C Bernard Dematteis, recently 2nd at Eiffel Tower, won in an  incredible time of 14:02.  Runner up and under 15 minutes too was towerrunner Emanuele Manzi (14:52). The third podium rank in this outdoor race went to mountain runner Alex Baldaccini in 15:02. On seventh position overall Emmie Collinge  from England was the fastest woman with a time of 16:25. Second was Samantha Galassi from Italy in 18:41 before compatriote mountain runner Ivonne Martinucci in 18.54.



April 15 - Announcement Subida Gran Hotel Bali on May 30 

On May 30 the Towerrunning World Cup Premium series will celebrate its premiere on the Iberian Peninsula. The race venue, Gran Hotel Bali, is one of the most emblematic hotels in Benidorm and has picturesque views of the beautiful Poniente Beach. Until the 1960’s, Benidorm was a small fishing village but today it is known for its tourism, beaches and surprisingly, skyscrapers.

The Gran Hotel Bali Tower Run is one of the oldest stair races in Europe, and this year will be the 13th edition of the race. The race will see competitors running up 936 steps over 52 floors to the 190 m-high finish. Last year saw a surprising result in the men’s race, with the race record, held by the legendary Paul Crake, finally falling to Spanish runner Angel Llorens. No doubt this year’s competitors will be eyeing to go even faster.

The TWA is pleased to announce travel packages for 6 athletes comprising 150 € travel reimbursement and 1 night’s accommodation with breakfast. Four of these travel packages will be awarded to top-ranked TWA registered athletes using the official TWA elite application system. Two packages are raffled off among applicants ranked in the top 30 in the latest TWA World Cup ranking update. Interested athletes can apply from today until 22nd April, 2015 at 10 pm Central European Summer Time by emailing presidium@towerrunning.com.



April 5 - Tallinn TV Tower Run      Rudi Reitberger’s view as a participant and TWA official   Gallery    Video

The Premium race in Estonia’s capitol Tallinn is a really special one. The public area of the tower is full of modern electronics and information systems, but entering the staircase is like travelling back in time to the former Soviet Union. Not only are there missing or fallen pieces of concrete (making me a little fearful!), but the staircase has only 7 steps between turns, making the runner quite dizzy after even just a few floors – in the 170m ascent, there are 130 turns.Although the race was only one week after the World Championships, the international field quality was still high. World Champion Piotr Lobodzinkski continued his winning form, although 20 sec slower than last year. In the fight for 2nd place, Tomas Macecek (CZE) wanted revenge against Klaus Hausleitner (AUT) for Doha, where he lost 10th place in the final floors, however a faster second half gave Hausleitner a small gap and he claimed his first ever silver medal in a Premium race. Very strong masters climber Rolf Majcen (AUT) finished in 4th, followed by the best Estonians.

After a disappointing World Championship final and a less than perfect race in Tallinn last year, Lenka Svabikoba (CZE) wanted to prove she could do better, and she did, running 5:52 and easily breaking last year’s record. Strong local distance runner Kaisa Kukk again claimed second place, with Polish Iwona Wicha completing the podium. Together with the beautiful old city of Tallinn and the professional organization led by TWA World Council member Valdo Jahilo, I highly recommend all experienced stair runners to do this race at least once in their life time.



April 5 - Tallinn TV Tower Run         Gallery    Video

The fourth edition of the Tallinn TV Tower Run saw 170 stair running enthusiasts climb the challenging 21 floors and 870 steps to the Observation Deck of the Tallinn TV Tower, with defending champions Piot Lobodzinski (POL) and Lenka Svabikova (CZE) triumphing again. While all eyes were focused on how fast recently crowned men’s Towerrunning World Champion Lobodzinski would go, it was Svabikova who ran the race of the day, smashing her previous record by 20 seconds.

The women’s elite were first off the mark at the Towerrunning World Cup Premium and WFGT Towerrunning Challenge event, and Svabikova set out to make up for her disappointing 9th place at last weekend’s Towerrunning World Championships. The 2014 World Cup silver medallist broke through the 6 minute mark, running an impressive 5:52.2, beating local favourite Kaisa Kukk whose 6:12.1 was also under the previous record, while third place went to Iwona Wicha (POL) in 6:20.6. “I am extremely pleased with my performance today and big appraisal to the race organisers” said Svabikova “I want to come back again next year to try for a third title.”

Meanwhile in the men’s elite race, Lobodzinski was aiming for his fourth straight stair race win in four weeks, and while he successfully achieved this goal, his 4:29.6 winning time was slower than his 4:10.7 course record from last year. “I am not happy with the time, but it is positive that I still won” remarked Lobodzinski. Only one second separated the minor medallists at the half way mark, but a strong second half race by Austrian Klaus Hausleitner saw him take the silver in 4:44.7, with Tomas Macecek (CZE) a close third in 4:47.0. The fastest Estonian was Hardo Reinart who placed 5th overall in 5:18.5.

The precision category, requiring runners to run the second half of the race as close in time to the first half, was extremely close with the 5 most consistent runners completing the second half of the race within only 2 seconds of their first half, a remarkable feat in a building of this size. Janika Nano was the most precise; her time difference just 1.2 seconds, while there was a tie for second with Mihhail Botskov and Raul Koster both recording a time difference of 1.6 seconds.

The next leg of the Towerrunning World Cup Premium series and WFGT Towerrunning Challenge will be held on April 18 at the Climb for Wilderness event up Calgary Tower in Canada.



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