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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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