In announcing the nine-race 2012 Vertical World Circuit, skyscraper racing continues its upward climb after the resounding success of the final held on January 25 in Saõ Paolo, Brazil.
New York’s Empire State Building Run-Up heads the calendar, just a few days before the January 8 event where newly crowned Vertical World Circuit Champion Thomas Dold will attempt his 7th victory on this historic tower. Dold is unquestionably the world’s top specialist in this fast growing sport but a number of contenders are aiming to challenge his prowess Wednesday evening: Italy’s Fabio Ruga and Belgian Omar Bekkali, ranked second and third respectively.
The women’s field looks more uncertain. Among the top contenders in the Vertical World Circuit, Italian Cristina Bonacina, currently ranked second, was second here last year. New Zealander Melissa Moon, ranked third, also knows the score as a past Run-Up winner. “Down Under” figures high on the New York skyline. 2011 winner was Alice McNamara and fellow Australian Suzy Walsham, a past winner, will also be up for the challenge. Look out for American newcomer Kirstin Frey, second in the Brazil VWC final, at her second attempt in New York.
Fabio Ruga, Cristina Bonacina and Melissa Moon, all members of the Vibram FiveFingers® Team, will be racing in the “barefoot” sports shoes, perfect for ascending the 1,576 steps and 86 flights of the Empire State Building Run-Up. Held annually since 1978, this iconic race represents a real challenge with long standing records hard to beat: 9’33” by Australian Paul Crake in 2003 and 11’23” by Austrian Andrea Mayr in 2006.
Following on from New York, it will be the turn of London’s Vertical Rush on March 1, where the world’s top runners will converge.
Nine races stretch across the globe from New York, London and Milan to Basel and Berlin in the heart of Europe and on to Taipei, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore in the Far East. Saõ Paolo will again host the VWC final in November, the ideal venue to celebrate this exciting new sport in a city boasting 150 skyscrapers. The sports-loving Brazilians have been so taken with vertical running, that a national circuit is already taking shape.
High altitude, whether in the mountains or the city, is the exclusive arena of the International Skyrunning Federation, which governs, promotes and sanctions skyrunning and skyscraper racing worldwide.
The vertical running trend is taking off around the world so look out for news of the winners and the next stages of the exciting 2012 Vertical World Circuit calendar.