For the fourth consecutive year, on December 4, the Vertical World Circuit will hold the finals of the nine-race tour on Hong Kong’s tallest building, the iconic International Commerce Centre topping out at 484 metres.
No less than twelve of the world’s top ranked athletes in a record field of 1,800 participants will be racing up the building’s 2,120 steps and 82 floors in the “SHKP Vertical Run for Charity: Race to Hong Kong ICC”. The VWC Grand Finale will award the Champion Titles and HKD 100,000 end of season prize purse to the top-ranked VWC competitors.
Heading the ranking is reigning World Champion Piotr Lobodzinski from Poland. “I’m very excited for the Vertical World Circuit Grand Finale in Hong Kong. It’s the longest and the hardest race in the year. After two years as VWC champion I want to defend my title. It will not be so easy because Mark Bourne is very close to me on the ranking but I’m in good shape and hope to run below 12 minutes to win or take no less than second place. I’m ready to fight!” he commented.
With four straight wins and one second place, his position is solid, but not certain. Australian Mark Bourne (ranked 2nd) stands a chance at the title if he wins the race and Lobodzinski places third or further down the line.
“It’s great to be in Hong Kong for my fourth race up the ICC building and the final race of the VWC for 2016,” said Bourne. “It’s quite a challenging and long race, but I look forward to lining up on Sunday to get the race started!”
The men’s elite field includes Hong Kong’s Hoi Chun Eric Yeung (ranked 3rd), Emanuele Manzi from Italy (4th), Ignacio Cardona from Spain (5th) and Martin Pederson from Denmark (13th).
Australian Suzy Walsham, reigning World Champion, has already clinched five of the necessary nine races to secure the title. Aiming for the rest of the podium are Italy’s Cristina Bonacina, ranked 2nd, Cynthia Reid from Australia (3rd), Lenka Svabikova from the Czech Republic (4th), Alice McNamara from Australia (5th) and China’s Meng Gao (6th).
Walsham commented: “I’m looking forward to returning to Hong Kong for the Vertical World Circuit final. It’s been a good year for me, but ICC-100 is a big building and it’s a really tough and long race, so it’s important for me to stay focused and race the best I can.”
Race Director David Shin had this to say: “It speaks volumes about the quality of the elite field at the Race to Hong Kong ICC that so many of the world’s best vertical runners will toe the line in this year’s men’s elite field. Lobodzinski, Bourne and Manzi are all hungry to add to their trophy cases and it should make for an exciting race. The women’s field will be equally competitive,” he added.
The records to beat are by Australians Darren Wilson in 11’52” (2015) and Suzy Walsham in 13’48” (2014).
The standing records were set in 2014 by Australians Darren Wilson 11’57” and Suzy Walsham in 13’48”, who were also race winners here last year.
The nine-race circuit has crossed the world, touching on some of the tallest towers in four continents – New York, London, Paris and Dubai, Sydney, Manila and Beijing, Shanghai and now, it’s the turn of Hong Kong celebrating the VWC Grand Finale on Sunday, December 4 with the SHKP Vertical Run for Charity: Race to Hong Kong ICC.
Representing the International Skyrunning Federation which sanctions the Vertical World Circuit and the event, will be Marino Giacometti, ISF President, who will present the VWC trophies to the winners.
SHKP Vertical Run for Charity: Race to Hong Kong ICC became affiliated with the ISF in 2013. After climbing the 2,120 steps himself last year, Marino Giacometti commented, “It’s a really tough race. The ICC counts the most steps on the circuit.” He added, “I was impressed by the excellent organization and attention to detail on all levels – we’re very proud to have this race represent the VWC final!”
Race website: www.shkpverticalrun.com