Nishad Manerikar, Total Motion Towerrunners, May 2018
There have been some big stair races happening around the world – all eyes were on the Towerrunning World Championships last weekend in Taiwan at the Taipei 101, while today saw the first race in the Vertical World Circuit at the Lotte World Tower in Seoul. Away from these two monstrous towers (91 floors in Taipei and 123 floors in Seoul), there was a stair run in London this Saturday – at the Broadgate Tower, a comparatively benign outing over 35 floors. No stair run is easy though. In any case, the Broadgate race would have been of interest to many international athletes, as this building has recently been announced as the venue for the London leg of the Vertical World Circuit; this is scheduled for the 24th of November and will carry 25% bonus points towards the VWC rankings.
Back to the race then, this was organised by Total Motion Events for the charity Trekstock. Trekstock does amazing work supporting young adults diagnosed with cancer. This is their second year holding a stair run at Broadgate, and we were happy to see their friendly team again.
Broadgate Tower has hosted quite a few races recently, and here are some quick facts – it has 35 floors and 877 steps. The male record was set quite a while back by David Robles Tapia of Spain and stands at 3:58. The female record is very recent, set last November by Sarah Frost and stands at 5:19.
There was a good turn out from the UK regulars, although the globe-trotting pair of David Harris and Sonja Shakespeare were away enjoying some holiday time after their run at the World Championships. This meant that on the men’s side we had a clear battle of the two Marks – Sims against Howard. And Frost was here to fend off any surprise competition, but mainly to see if she could beat her own previous pace and set a new course record.
The elite wave went off at 10 am. It was a smash and grab job from Mark Howard – clocking a blistering 4:10. It gave him a clear and comprehensive victory over Sims, who came in second in 4:31. Will Obeney added to his impressive times from the last few races and came in at 4:48.3. There is a reason we quote the three tenths in Obeney’s time – it was required to separate him from fourth place finisher Jack Grey who clocked 4:48.4 and was thus robbed of third place by a mere tenth of a second. We haven’t seen Grey in stair races prior to this, and as with other newcomers over the past few months, he is a welcome addition to the UK towerrunning scene.
In the women’s race, it was Frost who won it as expected, and to her (and our) delight she managed to beat her record by a comfortable margin – she finished in 5:07, a full 12 seconds clear of her previous record. Chiara Cristoni put in a steady time (5:56) to claim second place, and Deirdre O’Neill bagged third with 6:09. O’Neill is another new name here, and that is a fast time if it is indeed her first run.
Congratulations to all participants and especially both winners. They definitely gave it their all and were quite breathless and speechless at the top for a while!
This was another competitive race on the men’s side, with all of the top five dipping under the five-minute mark. It is very good to see the competition spreading and the stair-running bug catching on. Matt Wellock from Manchester was here to run his third stair race. He started with the Christie Tower Run in Manchester, ran in the Cheesegrater in April, and finished fifth today. He’s one of the new runners who have gotten hooked into the sport through Total Motion Towerrunners, and had this to say in the evening after the race:
“I'm double stepping and hand railing every sh*tty stair rail I can find. Just been for a p*ss in the basement of a standard London boozer and found myself working on my footwork on the way back to the bar. Almost went down for a second run. I can't look at a building over 10 stories anymore without wondering if it's got a left or right turning stairwell. WHAT have you guys done to me?”
Full results can be found here.
If the charity stair climbers and Total Motion Towerrunners have inspired you to try stair climbing then join our online communities to find out more or sign up for our November Run Up event:
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The Broadgate Tower Run Up – 35 floors / 877 steps. And if you really want a challenge enter the ‘vertical mile’ consisting of 12 bottom to top climbs! *20% off entry until end May*