If you are looking for a different challenge apart from the usual marathons, vertical marathons can give you a workout with benefits that are not seen with running or walking. The 2013 Vertical World Circuit is an international series of skyscraper races held in cities worldwide. With its fifth iteration this year featuring two new events in Barcelona and China, here’s a look at the skyscrapers that vertical marathon enthusiasts must climb for the title of Vertical World Circuit Champion.

1. Swissotel the Stamford

Location: Singapore

With 1261 rooms and suites, and 16 restaurants and bars, this 226 metre-tall building is one of Southeast Asia’s tallest 5 star hotels. The Swissotel hosts the Singaporean leg of the 2013 Vertical World Circuit, as well as being the venue for the annual Swissotel Vertical Marathon, which is open to the public. This year’s Swissotel Vertical Marathon introduces a new race category; The Sunrise Team Challenge, where participants group in pairs to tackle 73 race floors and 1336 steps. Finishers are treated to a scenic sunrise over other famous Singapore landmarks, such as the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort towers, and the Esplanade.

Swissotel the Stamford, Singapore.

2. Basel Messeturm

Location: Switzerland

Standing at 105 metres, the Basel Messturm’s sleek appearance is a stark contrast to the homely cottages that make up much of the landscape in Basel, Switzerland. With 31 floors and a total of 542 steps, vertical runners who scale the Basel Messeturm (also called the Basel Trade Fair Tower) will get treated to a pleasant view of the Swiss countryside. Try and beat the blazingly fast record of 2 minutes 36 seconds!

Basel Messeturm, Switzerland. Photo by Adrian Studer.

3. Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

The Vietnamese leg of the circuit takes places in the 350-metre tall, 43 floor Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower. Located in the capital city of Hanoi, contestants will scale 72 floors and 1914 steps to reach the top for a chance to get a bird’s eye view of the city from Vietnam’s tallest building.

Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower, Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by break_away1112.

4. Torre Mapfre

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Situated in the maritime neighbourhood of Port Olympic, the 43-floor Torre Mapfre is tied with its sister building the Hotel Arts Barcelona for the tallest building in Spain. Sky runners will up 720 steps to catch the spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea from an elevation of 154 metres.

Torre Mapfre, Barcelona, Spain.

5. China World Trade Centre

Location: Beijing, China

The very first vertical marathon was held in China earlier in August this year, with Tower 3 of the China World Trade Centre as the venue. Standing at 82 floors with a height of 330 metres, the China World Summit Wing Hotel Vertical Run gives a pollution-free alternative for people to keep healthy while escaping the smog. With a total of 2041 steps, serious skyscraper racers can aim to beat the record of 9 minutes and 55 seconds.

China World Trade Centre, Beijing, China. Photo by Jon G.

6. Empire State Building

Location: New York, USA

Vertical running enthusiasts can have the chance to rub shoulders with Hollywood celebrities as they race up the Empire State Building, located in New York City. Standing at 381 metres-tall, the world-famous Empire State Building is known for its distinctive architecture, and was the first building in the world to have over 100 floors. Spanning a total of 86 race floors and 1576 steps, the Empire State Building offers a challenge to novice and veterans alike.

Empire State Building, New York, USA.

7. Taipei 101

Location: Taipei, Taiwan

Being the tallest building in the world since 2004 to 2010, the 509 metre-tall Taipei 101 tower offers a challenge to even the most serious climbing enthusiast. Along with combining traditional ‘feng shui’ elements with modern technologies, the Taipei 101 is also certified as the world’s tallest and largest green building. Topping out at 91 race floors and 2046 steps, the Taipei 101 stands out as the highest and most daunting chapter in the Vertical World Circuit.

Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan.

8. Novo Edificio Abril

Location: San Paulo, Brazil

San Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, and is known for its vibrant culture and nightlife. Vertical runners may attempt to conquer a total of 30 floors and 672 steps to beat the record of 3 minutes and 4 seconds. The city also has an impressive multitude of skyscrapers, and it is only fitting that the 2013 Vertical World Circuit will be crowned atop the 149-metre tall Novo Edificio Abril.

Novo Edificio Abril, San Paulo, Brazil. Photo by gbcbrasil.

For those who’d like a taste of vertical marathons in Singapore, registration for the Swissotel Vertical Marathon held in Singapore is open. Check their Facebook page for the latest updates.

Have you tried vertical marathons before? Comment below and share with us your experiences!

Jonathan Chou

Jonathan was a stereotypical couch potato a few years ago. He finally took the courage to take his health into his own hands, and now enjoys lengthy runs by East Coast Park.

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