Newly crowned Vertical World Circuit champion, Thomas Dold, wins the race up New York’s Empire State building for the 7th time – an extraordinary record by an extraordinary athlete, in the first race of the VWC season.
There’s no stopping German Dold who reconfirms his supremacy as the world’s number one skyscraper racer, winning Wednesday’s late night race up the New York City landmark in 10’28”. New Zealander Melissa Moon, 2010 VWC champion and past winner here, summited in 12’39”.
The men’s field was dominated by foreigners, headed by Germany’s Thomas Dold, German Christian Riedl, 2nd , Australians Mark Bourne and Darren Wilson 3rd and 4th respectively, Belgian Omar Bekkali 5th and Itialian Fabio Ruga, 6th.
In the women’s category, after Melissa Moon, Australian Suzy Walsham was 2nd, Briton Chrissie Wellington, 3rd followed by Americans Erika Aklufi and Kristin Frey. Winner Melissa Moon, Fabio Ruga and Cristina Bonacina (8th) are members of the “barefoot” sports shoes Vibram FiveFingers® team.
A record number of runners – 441 men and 225 women – raced up the 1,576 steps and 86 floors. For the first time in 34 years, the world’s first and most famous skyscraper race abandoned the traditional mass start with timed, five-second intervals – except for the élite, who raced in a waves of 12 (women) and 17 (men), still jostling for the front line and the narrow stairwell entrance.
Another major novelty which effectively changed day to night was the 8 o’clock evening start – representing a 2 am race for the Europeans – no doubt reflected in their later finishing times with respect to previous years. The NYRR definition of élite runners is also questionable as the 2011 VWC women’s champion, Valentina Belotti, the 2011 winner in Brazil’s Corrida Vertical, the Taipei 101 Tower Run Up, Milan’s Vertical Sprint, Vietnam’s Bitexco Vertical Run and second in Singapore’s Swissôtel Vertical Marathon, was not admitted…
Following on from New York, it will be the turn of Shelter’s Vertical Rush in London on March 1st, 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 in the pipeline.
High altitude, whether in the mountains or the city, is the exclusive arena of the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF), which governs, promotes and sanctions skyrunning (high altitude mountain running) 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.
See: www.verticalrunning.org for final ranking