Soaring to a height of 226 metres, the Swissôtel Vertical Marathon is a part of the Vertical World Circuit® which is a series of stair races in some of the world’s most iconic skyscrapers. The stair racing calendar starts in New York, followed by Basel, London, Milan, Taipei, Berlin, Hanoi, Singapore and will be capped off in Saõ Paolo, Brazil in December. Since 2010, vertical running, or skyscraper racing, is governed by the International Skyrunning Federation.
2,100 race climbers joined in this unconventional marathon, to celebrate Swissôtel’s 25th anniversary. With many different spans of categories, it was an event for everyone, regardless of age. For those who were around, there were chances for them to do their part for the less fortunate as well. Small cow plush toys, also known as Niu Niu, were put up for adoption. The entire proceeds of the sale go to the Spastic Children’s Association of Singapore (SCAS) and MILK (Mainly I Love Kids) Fund.
This is the first ever Swissôtel Vertical Marathon title for Darren Wilson while Suzanne Walsham remains as the undisputed and seemingly uncontested queen of Swissôtel Vertical Marathon. Bridget Robertson from New Zealand meanwhile took the 2nd spot in the Women’s Open category. Both Darren and Suzanne will not only represent Singapore and Swissôtel Vertical Marathon in the prestigious Empire State Building Run Up in New York in February 2013, but will also be sent to compete at the Nestlé Corrida Vertical Race in Saõ Paolo, Brazil in December, which is the last leg of the World Vertical Circuit.
Pre-race nerves however seemed to have subdued the crowd as people were gathered near the start point of the race. The gruelling 1336 steps that awaited them appeared to be on the minds of many as most spent their time quietly stretching or fuelling up with their breakfast at the nearby eateries. Despite the slow start, as race time approached, the crowd slowly warmed up, thanks to the emcee who was trying his best to rouse them up.
The race kicked off with the Men’s Under 20 category. The men were to be dispatched 6 at time, at 30 second intervals. It was not the best of starts however as the instructions were not sent out clearly and a group of about 12 men raced off upon the starting whistle. The problem though, was quickly rectified and soon after, it was smooth sailing.
Ushers and cheerleaders were deployed along almost every level. The cheerful and upbeat staff made the mundane climb much more bearable. It also made you feel safe as you know that help is never far away. The narrow staircase however was a problem. It made overtaking much trickier. Thankfully, with participants released at intervals, it did not cause much of a jam. Ample amount of sportsmanship was also shown as the slower climbers allowed the faster ones to climb.
As one approached the finishing point, they would be greeted with a magnificent sight of Singapore’s skyline. It was truly a sight to behold. It made the 73 storey climb a very worthwhile price to pay. While soaking up the achievement of reaching the peak of the building, coupled with the amazing scenery, drink and medical stations were strategically placed all around.
The trip down in the lift marked the end of marathon. Upon reaching the ground floor, opportunities for recovery were still aplenty as many drink stations were around.
I am looking forward to the next edition of the Vertical Marathon. With such a stunning view to greet you at the end, it makes the journey up all so worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and would recommend it to anyone.