What Exactly is Tower Running?


Teresa Leese; Total Motion Events; 27th Feb 2018

Yes, it is a sport

Whether you call it tower running, stair running, stair climbing or something else entirely, we are here to tell you all about this up and coming sport! Yes that's right… it is a sport. Quite simply, stair climbing involves running (or walking for many) up the internal staircases of tall man-made structures.

As an international sport, iconic buildings such as The Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower play host to some serious stair climbing events every year offering competitors the chance to climb hundreds of flights of stairs in a race to the top. Many tower runners will compete in what’s known as the Vertical World Circuit which has a high standard of competitors from various international sporting backgrounds. The Towerrunning World Association (TWA) allows tower runners across the globe to register and earn points for races, and with 129 currently scheduled for 2018 there are a lot of points on offer… The sport is growing in the UK with a full calendar of events across the year, predominantly in London (as you might expect) but with others dotted around the country. See below for a list of upcoming events. 

What's all the fuss about?

For the masses, the health benefits of stair climbing are leading the way for its increasing popularity. Stair climbing workouts are intense but very effective and are used by many to vary their training or just to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The effectiveness of climbing up actual stairs comes in the movement of having to 'defy gravity' making it a much tougher workout than most! It is therefore not surprising that stair climbing is widely reported as burning more calories per minute than running. If you're not already convinced then trust me that the fun part about stair climbing is making it to the top. Not least because your chest and lungs can stop burning but given that you are climbing some of the tallest buildings in the world in the most amazing cities, you will be in for some spectacular and unique views. 


Stair Climber Thoughts

This is what our UK stair climbing community thinks…

"I stair climb because it is an amazing way to maintain and improve fitness even when suffering from minor injuries, because even at a walking pace, which is non-impact compared to running, it is still a physical challenge!"

"I do it because it is a complete contrast to what I usually do (marathons/ultras): short, sharp, painful and a complete adrenaline rush!" 

"I love that it's hard work but only for a short time"

"To keep fit, for the social aspect and for a different kind of physical challenge"

"Ultimately, it's as hard as you want to make it, but achievable for all - anyone can add stairs into their daily lives. I've even seen a guy with one leg complete a climb up the stairs and for me that’s far more amazing than what we do."

"I stair climb because I love the fact you don't need to be a runner (I am not one) to go up the stairs"

"I love the community - there's not any money or fame in it; everyone is there because they enjoy it and they enjoy pushing themselves. I can go to events rub shoulders with the very best in the sport."


Total Motion Towerrunners at Broadgate Tower

What's not to love?

So what we have here is a low impact, cost-effective method of improving your health and fitness in a sport that is accessible for EVERYONE - what's not to love? If you are training for an event, trying to get fit or you simply want to try something new then stair climbing could be for you. Join our stair climbing communities to find out more:

Instagram | tm_towerrunners

Facebook | Total Motion Towerrunners


Upcoming events in the UK:


  • Step Up: Ellenor’s Tower Run Challenge, Broadgate Tower, 877 steps, London – Register- Sat 3 
  • GOSH Walkie Talkie Tower Climb, 828 steps, London – Register- Sat 3 March
  • Loros Tower Run, St George’s Tower, 20 floors (351 steps), Leicester – Register- Sat 10th March
  • Vertical Rush, Tower 42, 932 steps, London – Register- Thurs 15th March
  • Teeside Hospice Vertical Rush, 209 steps, Transporter Bridge, Middlesbrough – Register- Sat 17th 


  • Stairs And The City *women only event* – The Leadenhall Building, 1,258 steps, London – Register- Sat 14th


  • Conquer The Tower (Trekstock), Broadgate Tower, 877 steps, London – Register, Sat 12th
  • Mayfair Power and Tower Race, 5km run in Hyde Park straight into 28-floor stair climb at Park Lane Hilton Hotel, London – Register- Fri 25th


  • UpSlideDown, ArcelorMittal Orbit, Olympic Park, 455 steps (+ optional slide down), London – Register- Tues 5th 


  • UpSlideDown, ArcelorMittal Orbit, Olympic Park, 455 steps (+ optional slide down), London – Register- Tues 3rd
  • Orchid-Fighting Male Cancer Tower Climb, Broadgate Tower, 877 steps, London – Register– Saturday 7th


  • UpSlideDown, ArcelorMittal Orbit, Olympic Park, 455 steps (+ optional slide down), London – Register- Tues 7th


  • SAMH Stomp, Murrayfield Stadium, 4,200-step Stomp or 7,400-step Extreme Stomp, Edinburgh – Register- Sat 6th


  • The Total Motion Broadgate Tower Run Up, Broadgate Tower, 877 steps (multiple climbs available), London - Register- Sat 24th Nov


Let us know if you are giving one a go!