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Stair-climbing races in the NYT

February 1st, 2011

My rational mind knows that racing up the stairs of a skyscraper would be nothing but a world of hurt. But for some reason, the idea really attracts me — maybe because there’s some logic to the race, as opposed to simply running around in circles or loops. I’ll definitely have to find one to try one of these days…

Anyway, the New York Times has a nice article by Aimee Berg on the growing world of stair-climbing races, to mark tomorrow’s 34th running of the Empire State Building Run-Up:

Melissa Moon, 41, a schoolteacher from New Zealand who won the Empire State Building Run-Up last year on her first try, said, “I’ve done marathons, track, mountain running, half marathons and I’ve got to say this is the hardest thing mentally and physically when you’re racing all out.”

I’ve blogged about the physiology of stair-climbing races previously, and also wrote a Jockology column about it. Here’s Trish McAlaster’s graphic from that column, to give a sense of scale:

  1. February 1st, 2011 at 15:43 | #1

    I almost did one of these in Boston in early 2007, but missed it, and it’s been on the backburner ever since. I’ll read the rest of your posts on this, it will be good “training” for whenever I do enter one :)

  2. Brian
    February 1st, 2011 at 23:48 | #2

    I’d far rather do the Grouse Grind (with 800 meters vertical, it’s more than double the CN Tower climb) and not be stuck inside a concrete shaft constantly going in circles. Ugghh — just thinking about the constant rotations makes me dizzy..

  3. stephen marsalese
    February 7th, 2011 at 17:16 | #3

    Hello, i have done the Empire State Building Run-Up for the 16 years now, it’s a blast, i wish they had that race every week.

  4. Maaleh Bekodesh
    February 13th, 2011 at 12:23 | #4

    I am doing Top Of The Rock in 2 weeks in NYC
    Any advice
    First race
    I am 53

  5. alex
    February 13th, 2011 at 20:42 | #5

    @Maaleh Bekodesh
    Sounds like fun! From what I’ve read (and experienced in mountain races), the most common mistake is going out too fast. The top stair-climbers manage to maintain a surprisingly even pace and effort. So make sure it feels quite easy and relaxed for the first 20-30 flights, because it sure won’t feel easy after the 50th flight!

  1. February 1st, 2011 at 01:27 | #1