Who would have guessed the Swissôtel Vertical Marathon made its debut in 1987? What started out as a modest race with 180 participants is today 2,100 (official number of registrants) strong, and that’s not it. Just this year, the race was inducted into the Vertical World Circuit, which covers the world’s most iconic skyscraper races in eight capitals across four continents. The Swissôtel Vertical Marathon is number seven on the calendar with the last and final leg held at Sao Paulo on 26 November. Prior to the Singapore leg was New York, Basel, London, Milan, Taipei and Berlin – in order from first to sixth.
There are heaps to look forward to come 20 November (Sunday). For the many runners who have signed up, it’d probably be the gruelling 73-storey (226 metres) climb, totalling 1,336 steps. That aside, the world’s most elite vertical runners will be in town as well. The 24th instalment of the race will witness the return of Melissa Moon and Suzy Walsham – two of the world’s top women stair running athletes.
Moon, a New Zealander, was the 2010 Overall Women’s World Stair Racing Champion and is herself a 2-time World Mountain Running Champion. She has 21 New Zealand athletics titles under her belt, and was named New Zealand’s Sportswoman of the Year in 2001.
Walsham, meanwhile, will defend her crown as the undisputed queen of the Swissôtel Vertical Marathon’s Women’s Open category. She is a 3-time Empire State Run Up winner too.
Among others is Pavel Holec (Czech Republic), ranked top 10 in the world; Pedro Pinto Ribeiro (Portugal), a former Swissôtel Vertical Marathon champion; Bekkali Omar (Germany), ranked amongst the world’s best; Valentina Belotti and Manzi Emanuele (Italy), an Italian force to be reckoned with; and Matthias Jahn (Germany), a 2010 Stair Run World Champion at the World Firefighters in Daegu, South Korea.
These are the categories featuring at the 2011 race:
- Men’s/Women’s Under 20
- Men’s/Women’s 20 – 29
- Men’s/Women’s 30 – 39
- Men’s/Women’s 40 – 49
- Men’s/Women’s Above 50
- Men’s/Women’s Open
- Nation’s Fighter’s
- Lover’s Challenge
- Corporate Challenge
What’s at stake for the Men’s and Women’s Open category are not one, but two international race slots. This year’s champions will fly to New York for the prestigious, by-invitation only Empire State Building Run Up 2012 and represent Singapore at the Nestlé Tower Run Up in Sao Paulo (the last leg of the world circuit).
RunSociety wishes all participants a pleasant run up! And if the going gets tough, visualise the rewarding views at the helipad atop one of the tallest hotels in the world. It’ll provide the much needed boost for you to make it all the way to floor 73. Till Sunday then!