30th Swissôtel Vertical Marathon 2017: The Sky’s the Limit!
You’ll use different muscles and find yourself in the midst of an experience that’s unlike any traditional marathon you’ve ever run, but if you tackle the Swissôtel Vertical Marathon, you won’t regret your effort.
If you tend to be curious about Singapore's vertical race history, the name Nureza Ahmad may sound familiar. She’s the author of a Singapore Infopedia post about the nation’s very first vertical marathon. It took place on 3 May 1987 when 50 women and 130 men sprinted to the top of the world’s tallest hotel, previously named the Westin Stamford.
Over the past 29 years, the hotel’s name was changed to the Swissôtel The Stamford, the annual event raised buckets of money for worthy causes over those three decades and a list of hometown athletes made names for themselves by earning medals and fame.
The most celebrated of all? Kenneth Keng. He wound up in the 1987 "Guinness World Book of Records" for setting the fastest stair-climbing record at this event. But perhaps the only record you care about is the one you would like to set at the 2017 Swissôtel Vertical Marathon, scheduled for 19 November morning and likely to be the liveliest of all since it's this race's 30th anniversary.
Ready, set, go!
Early bird entry fee discounts disappear on 15 October 2017, so you don’t have much time to decide on which category you’ll choose from the race menu. Worried that no category is suited to your skill level and strength? This list could surprise you. Choose from:
- Sunrise Team Challenge @ 6.15 a.m.
- Buddies and Besties Challenge @ 9.50 a.m.
- Men’s Open @ 8.00 a.m.
- Women’s Open @ 8.30 a.m.
- Men’s Veteran (over 40 years) @ 6.50 a.m.
- Women’s Veteran (over 40 years) @ 7.30 a.m.
- Men’s Local (Singapore Citizens and PRs only) @ 9.00 a.m.
- Women’s Local (Singapore Citizens and PRs only) @ 9.30 a.m.
- Half Vertical Marathon, Individual @ 11.10 a.m.
You can stay and play
But before your enthusiasm reaches fever pitch and you head for the Spacebib site to take care of your registration, ask yourself these questions to make sure you’re ready:
- Am I in top physical shape?
- Do I suffer from a debilitating condition that precludes me from running up 73 storeys?
- Am I willing to sign a statement that says I understand the risk I'll be taking?
- Am I at least 12 years of age (a parent statement is required for those under 18)?
Make this vertical marathon a grand occasion by snagging the “Exclusive Room Package” that not only includes your entry fee but a Premier room at the Swissôtel The Stamford and complementary parking so no worries about public transport either. Rack pack collection takes place on 4 November at Raffles City Convention Centre (Bras Basah Room, Level 4) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
4 Things you should know about preparation
It’s been 5 years since Singapore mom Susan wrote her blog post about how to tackle a vertical marathon as she prepared for her first Swissôtel attempt in 2012. Her tips are as relevant today as they were back then, so take her advice to heart if 2017 happens to be your first attempt, too.
- A vertical marathon is an unconventional athletic challenge that will require you to use different muscles than you do when you run a traditional 10km or 21km, says Susan. You’ll be tackling 1336 steps while beefing up your buttocks, quadriceps and legs.
- Since stair climbing has been called the ideal way to reduce body fat and burn calories, the Swissôtel Vertical Marathon can get you to your weight loss goal faster since it only takes 15-20 minutes to burn 75 calories. Your climb improves blood circulation and lowers the risk of deep vein thrombosis and heart ailments.
- Susan recommends lower-body strength training to prepare yourself for a vertical marathon, so pile on the lunges and squats when you hit the gym and bone up on your sprinting skills interspersed by short recovery times since speed determines who wins this race.
- Unlike traditional road and track races, that have a longer cut-off time, the cut off time of 45 minutes will be imposed for all participants but it is enough for you to climb your metaphorical mountain.
Advice from the experts
Dr. Roger Tian, Consultant Sports Physician and Deputy Medical Director, Singapore Sports Medicine Centre explains that "Running against gravity increases the stress on both the cardiovascular (heart and lungs) and musculo-skeletal (bones, joints, muscles) systems.”
Additionally, humidity and ventilation impact the environment within contained staircases so vertical race participants can expect their lungs to work harder than usual to power their efforts.
Adds Suzy Walsham, who has collected multiple Women’s Open category Swissôtel Vertical Marathon medals, "It is definitely not easy! Be prepared for some intense pain and go in with a strong mind as you will need it.” She adds that staying focused, relaxing as much as possible and staying alert for other competitors can be a daunting experience, but she has 5 medals to prove that it can be done.
What scares you most about the idea of participating in the Swissôtel Vertical Marathon? Is it the height? Are you claustrophobic? Or do you simply have difficulty stepping outside your comfort zone?