March 16 - Race Report: La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel - Paris
As the evening lights spectacularly lit up the Eiffel Tower, 128 selected athletes embarked on one of the world’s most spectacular tower races in the 3rd edition of La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel. Runners climb 1,665 steps over the Tower’s three stages to reach the 279 m summit, in what most agree is one of the world’s toughest stair races. Pre-race favourites Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) and Suzy Walsham (AUS) lived up to expectations, winning their third straight victories, however it was Walsham this year who achieved a new course record, running 10 seconds faster than her previous record.
The women’s elite race was up first, and racing individually in time trial format, it was Czech Zuzana Krchova who set the early pace, clocking 11:02.31. Dominika Stelmach (POL) set off at a cracking pace, going through the first stage 4 seconds faster than Krchova, and with her endurance background, continued stongly to record a swift 10:27.22. All eyes were then on Walsham, who was the last woman to set off. As in previous years, Walsham was controlled to the first stage in only third position, but by the second stage, she had moved into first position and was on track for a course record. As in previous editions, her strength over the last half of the race ensured a convincing victory, and this year, a new course record of 9:34.75, 10 seconds faster than the previous one set in 2015, and 14 seconds faster than her win in 2016. “I am so happy to have won here again and especially to get the course record” said Walsham. “My training has been going well and I knew it was possible for me to get a personal best, so it was a great feeling to execute my race plan and achieve this goal.” Stelmach, who planned to race the 30km Ecotrail event over the weekend, was also thrilled with her 2nd place, while Krchova was very happy for a podium finish on her first attempt.
In the men’s race, Lobodzinski was looking to continue his 2017 winning form and set off at a cracking pace, the fastest of the 84 male competitors. He maintained this lead over the remainder of the race, although the early fast pace took its toll with his final time of 7:54.76 slower than previous editions. The 2nd place getter was again Christian Riedl (GER) who despite being only in 7th place at the end of the second stage, stormed home to clock 8:04.29. It was a tight battle for the final podium position between Tomas Celko (SVK), Jakob Mayer (AUT) and Frank Carreno (COL), with only 7 seconds between their final results, but it was Celko who came through to take 3rd in 8:15.18, smashing his previous best by 15 seconds. “I am happy to win the race for the third time” said Lobodzinski, “But it was really really tough this year and I was very exhausted at the end. I was just happy to make it to the finish.” The race, organised by Ecotrail, has become one of the most sought after tower events. In addition to the privilege of running up one of the world’s most recognizable towers, the race poses some unique challenges for competitors – a race at night under lights, open to the weather conditions, and multiple stages with different stairwells.
March 11 - Race Report: Bieg Na Szczyt Rondo 1 - Warsaw Gallery
Ficner dominates while Łobodziński takes revenge
Despite extremely competitive group of international stair runners, it was Polish athletes who prevailed in the Rondo 1 Run Up 2017. Piotr Łobodziński avenged his last year's loss to Christian Riedl and Anna Ficner literally dominated women's competition.
Even before the race started, everyone stressed the importance of the qualifying round. Taking into account the finals were going to be organized in the pursuit race format, those who aspired to win in Rondo 1 had only one goal - to take the 'pole position' after qualifiers. Local heroes - Piotr Łobodziński and Anna Ficner - were both in this group and they got what they wanted. Łobodziński, current Towerrunning Tour leader and World Champion, made it to the 37th floor of Rondo 1 in 3:34, beating his biggest rival Christian Riedl (GER) by nearly 6 seconds. When Tomas Celko finished in 3:38, taking the 2nd place, it became clear that Riedl would need a miracle to repeat his last year's success in Warsaw.
Meanwhile, the women's competition saw an unbelievably strong performance from Anna Ficner who won the European Champion title in Rondo 1 last year. Although she was slower than in 2016, she managed to clock 4:40, setting a gap of as much as 30 seconds to the runner-up Dominika Stelmach (POL) before the final race. If Riedl needed a miracle, only some kind of a disaster could have stripped her of another win in Warsaw.
But neither a miracle, nor a disaster happened and the final races did not make any significant changes to the standings. Łobodziński and Ficner both claimed their third titles in the 7-year-long history of Rondo 1 Run Up.
A total of 600 stair runners took part in the event. Among them, there were some Polish celebrities who traditionally climbed for a charity organization - SOS Children's Villages. As a side event, a firefighter competition was also held in Rondo 1 with 61 teams on the starting list.
March 11 - Bieg Na Szczyt Rondo 1 - Warsaw Report and Gallery coming
1 Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) 3:36,69
March 5 - Race Report: Carrera Torre Latino - Mexico City Gallery coming
Torre Latino is an iconic building in downtown Mexico City. Built in 1956 it was the first skyscraper in Latin America and is a worthy venue for the yearly final of the Mexican Towerrunning series. Athletes have to climb 42 floors with 720 stairs and almost 500 took the challenge again on March 5. The race traditionally is part of the TWA Towerrunning Tour and the World Federation of Great Towers WFGT Towerrunning Challenge. There are invitations for elite athletes and price money not only for the fastest overall racers, but for Master and Veteran categories too.
Like in the past two years we experienced a great event, organized in a proven way by Pedro Fossas representing the tower and Roberto Velezquez, President of Towerrunning Mexico, with his team.
March 5 - Top 3 Carrera Torre Latino - Mexico City Report and Gallery coming
1 Rocio Carrera (MEX) 4:48
1 Frank Nicolas Carreno (COL) 3:22
February 26 - Race Report: Scale The Strat - Las Vegas - US National Championships
The 2017 US championship at the Stratosphere was another spectacular event. With a very strong field lining up the question on everyone’s mind was, would the course record of 7:05 be broken after years of assaults by the very best climbers? Race fans were not disappointed, as canadian Shaun Stephens-Whale won, setting a new record with a time of 7:03. Coming in second was US climber Justin Stewart with a 7:27, and rounding out the podium was Ralf Hascher (GER) with a 7:34. Filling out the second men’s podium was world #8 Gustavo Isaac Mendoza (MEX) in 7:39, US points champion Alex Workman in 7:45, and Florida powerhouse Thomas Scott in 8:03.
On the women’s side, the astounding Cindy Harris continued her amazing year, cruising to victory with a 8:30. In second place, fresh off her incredible debut at empire was Meg Santanna with a 9:34. In third was Julie-Rae Steinmeyer with a 10:09. In fourth place was Christine Soskins. Fresh off breaking the old men’s course record at Utah’s 6 hour climb less than a day earlier, she put down an excellent time of 10:30. Finishing off the second podium was Seattle’s Amy Brown with a 10:35 and local Jessica Pickett with a 10:35. With 617 finishers the race set new records for number of participants and funds raised for the American Lung Association.