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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.



March 28  -  Towerrunning World Championships  2015   Gallery  Pictures by AZF: 1 2 3 4

After a thrilling 2 days of competition at the Aspire Torch Staircase Run, it was Poland’s Piotr Lobodzinski and Austria’s Andrea Mayr who made history as the first ever winners of the Towerrunning World Championships, with Australia taking the team gold. After the qualification races on Friday, both Lobodzinksi and Mayr were on pole position for the F1-style mass start, and despite the strongest fields ever assembled in a stair race, maintained their positions to the top.

The women were first off the mark and after a surprisingly close qualification between Mayr and Suzy Walsham (AUS), the final produced one of the most thrilling battles ever in a women’s stair racing event, with Mayr pushed all the way before eventually winning in 7:50, with Walsham 4 seconds behind in 7:54.  After the sprint start, the top 8 women entered the building close together, but by the 10th floor, Mayr and Walsham had broken away from the pack. Walsham stuck to the heels of Mayr till the 40th floor, before the 5 times World Mountain Running champion showed her strength and pulled away to maintain her unbeaten stair racing record. “The race today was very tough” said Mayr “but I am very happy to win here.” Walsham was equally happy with her race, commenting “It was always going to be tough to win here but I am so happy with my performance – it was a great 2 days of racing for me.” Third place went to Poland’s Dominica Wisniewska-Ulfik, who was thrilled with her Championships performance “I am very happy to get a medal. I was fourth after the qualification so to go one better in the final is great.”

In the men’s race Lobodzinski also entered the building first, but was never challenged and went on to take the win by 17 seconds in 6:35. “I am very happy to be the winner of the first ever Towerrunning World Championships”, said the Polish star, “It was perfect race for me”. The minor medals proved a tougher battle with some overtaking and changing of positions from the starting grid order, but it was Australian duo Mark Bourne (6:52) and Darren Wilson (6:58) who eventually came away with the silver and bronze. “It was a tough race with a lot of strong competition, so I am really happy with the silver medal” said Bourne. After starting in 6th position, Wilson was also excited to come away with a medal “I had a crack and finished third, so it was awesome.” The team competition was based on the results from the qualification round, and the favourites, Australia, were dominant, winning by 44 points. The results were closer for the silver and bronze with the Czech Republic edging out Austria by 14 points.

“The first TWA World Championships in Doha were a great success with an incredibly exciting competition and the most star-studded international field in the Towerrunning history” says TWA President Sebastian Wurster. “We are very grateful for the excellent collaboration with Aspire Zone Foundation and appreciate the hard work of the entire event crew including dozens of volunteers who made this project possible.”



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