The Broadgate Tower Run Up – What's it all about?

Broadgate Skyline.jpg

Matt Hudson, Total Motion Events, June 2017

On Saturday 25th November 2017 Broadgate Tower in The City of London plays host to the second annual Broadgate Tower Run Up. In 2017 this event promises to be a real celebration of towerrunning, so much more than just climbing a stairwell. For the first time at a UK stair climb event we are offering multiple climb options alongside the Towerrunning UK Championship final with the opportunity to raise money for a variety of good causes.

So, let’s start at the beginning, what exactly is towerrunning? Towerrunning/stair climbing/vertical running – the sport comes under many pseudonyms, but they all refer to the discipline of racing up the stairwells of the world’s tallest buildings. Races have been held regularly for the past 40 years at venues of world renown such as The Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower and Canton Tower. The chances are you wouldn’t have heard too much about these events in the UK until recently. If you live in London you may have caught sight of some of the annual events hosted by the larger charities. Shelter’s Vertical Rush is the undisputed king in this arena, NSPCC’s Gherkin Challenge is the solid number 2, but after those heavyweight events there aren’t too many that would have likely made it on to your radar.

Globally tower running events are huge in every way. Races in the US and Asia can top out at over 100 floors of climbing, over 500 vertical metres. Participants often number thousands, and the money raised for good causes is mind boggling with some single events raising millions of Dollars. That’s some event that can achieve these figures.

The UK doesn’t often lag the RoW in adopting new and interesting sports, but perhaps the perceived shortage of suitable venues and the red tape preventing new events from finding a home has restricted the growth here. Total Motion Events is continually looking for ways to bring more of these events to fruition, designing them to the benefit of charities, participants and the venues themselves.

OK, so London doesn’t have any 100 floor buildings, but then it doesn’t need to. Anything above 30 floors provides a good test on the stairs and London and the UK has plenty of those. So why shouldn’t these events attract thousands? Vertical Rush is the only one currently that gets anywhere near, at 1,100 competitors, but even a charity of that size can’t do all the heavy lifting in bringing a sport to the nation’s attention. As for the sums raised for good causes that’s a function of numbers participating, fundraising incentives and corporate partnerships. The UK can certainly compete there, but at the moment events are some way behind their international cousins.

An argument that I hear put forward for the lack of growth is based on the length of time the events take to complete. I agree here, For the real athletes events can be over in just a few minutes. Not everybody can raise money for an event measured in seconds. This is why the challenge needs to be relevant to the competitor in order for sponsorship to be maximised.

Additionally not everybody wants to compete on behalf of the particular charity hosting the event. I agree there too, charities are a personal choice.  

So I think we have established that to maximise the charitable potential of a stair climb event the challenge needs to be relative to the fitness of the participant, and they need to be able to fundraise for a charity that resonates with them, so that they are driven to fundraise and supporters feel that the event will present a stern test to the individual. This is not new news across mass participation events, however it is in the stair climb world.

So, how does The Broadgate Tower Run Up align itself with these needs? This event strives to make the challenge appropriate, offering a choice of climb options. The single climb event presents a challenge for everybody – you are competing against yourself (and the clock). Take it at your own pace, be it a walk or a sprint, but importantly it is an achievable goal for almost all.

For those looking for something a little bit extra we certainly have you covered, why not try 3 climbs, a quarter of a vertical mile. Still sounds easy? Go for the full vertical mile…that’s 12 climbs of Broadgate Tower, 420 floors! Believe me, that is a huge challenge, but if you still think you’ve got it, well try beating the time set in Dallas earlier this year at 1 hour 1 minute and 22 seconds, quite incredible. We are expecting these multiple climb options to be popular, but note entries are limited.

So we’ve established that there is a challenge in there for you, and one that you could persuade your friends and family to part with a few quid to sponsor you to do, but the charity also needs to fit, right?   We’ve thought of that too, which is why we give you the option of who you raise money for. You set your challenge and you choose your charity – what better entry into the world of stair climbing, an event tailored to you.

What are you waiting for? Head over to our event page for further information, and see which charities are already on board. If your chosen charity doesn’t appear, then we’ll be happy to add them for you. If you are a charity or a corporate, then please contact us to find out about becoming an event partner.