The highest skyscraper race ever attempted was held in the LOTTE WORLD TOWER, the world’s fifth tallest building, Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, April 23.
The 123 floors and 2,917 steps of the LOTTE WORLD TOWER INTERNATIONAL SKYRUN were eaten up in just a matter of minutes by two Australians, Mark Bourne in 15’44” and Suzy Walsham in 18’47”.
Some 1,000 participants took part in the race which launched as a Vertical World Circuit Exhibition Race, sanctioned by the International Skyrunning Federation.
Already the tower is setting records. The 555m-tall LOTTE WORLD TOWER opened just 20 days ago to the public and is the tallest in South Korea and the first and only stairclimbing race in the country. It also boasts the world’s highest and fastest elevator which ascends at a speed of 10 metres per second.
But today, the human element came into play. Mark Bourne was the first to reach the 123rd floor, scaling the stairs at a speed of 1,900 metres per second… faster than the 16’30” prediction made by International Skyrunning President, Marino Giacometti, who also took on the challenge to the top. Second man was reigning VWC World Champion, Piotr Lobodzinski, in 15’58” and third, Italian Emanuele Manzi in 16’43”.
Bourne commented, “I’m very happy to have completed it and made the challenge to come out number one. It was a strong race. I felt quite good so on the middle stages I focussed on getting into a rhythm and just waiting till we got close to the end.
“With Piotr and Emanuele here, they really pushed me. Towards the 100th floor, I had a bit of a gap so a bit more confident, but you never know. It’s great to come here to Seoul, it’s my first visit here and I look forward to maybe coming back in the future to try it again. I’m really looking forward to racking up some more events to score some points on the Vertical World Circuit. I’d like to challenge the number one this year!” he said.
Suzy Walsham added a crowning accomplishment to her long and highly successful career, first to the 123rd floor in an extraordinary 18’47”. Second lady was Japan’s Yuri Yoshizumi in 19’30” and Australian Alice McNamara, placed third in 20’20”.
Walsham stated, “Super happy. I tried not to look up all morning. I got into a really good rhythm and so just stuck with that. I felt pretty strong all the way up so I feel really, really happy.”
“So far I’ve had a good year. I’m in a good frame of mind. My training’s been going well so I really came just to continue with that and hopefully maintain that for the rest of the year. There’s a lot of races so there’s still a lot to do. Looking around at the countryside from up top, it’s so beautiful. This is a stunning building so it’s lovely to be here and hope to be back,” she added.
David Shin, VWC representative for Asia-Pacific and race director commented, “As the highest tower race in the world, we are proud to have the inaugural LOTTE WORLD TOWER INTERNATIONAL SKYRUN as an Exhibition Race on the Vertical World Circuit and to have brought the world’s best stair climbers to compete here. They exceeded all expectations by finishing below the predicted times – a great inspiration!”
Hyun-chul Park, CEO of Lotte Corporation, stated, “The entire participation fee will be donated to the ‘Green Umbrella Children’s Foundation’ to support children in need of financial, physical and emotional support. I hope that many people can participate and share meaningful effort and enjoy a sense of accomplishment.”
LOTTE WORLD TOWER INTERNATIONAL SKYRUN results
- Mark Bourne (AUS) – 15’44”
- Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) – 15’58”
- Emanuele Manzi (ITA) – 16’43”
- Byung Kwon Park (KOR) – 18’32”
- Soo Young Kim (KOR) – 19’20”
- Suzy Walsham (AUS) – 18’47”
- Yuri Yoshizumi (JAP) – 19’30”
- Alice McNamara (AUS) – 20’20”
- Yong Suk Lee (KOR) – 21’30”
- Cindy Reid (AUS) – 24’21”
A total of US$ 10,000 prize money was awarded to the top three male and female finishers, one of the largest prize purses on the Vertical World Circuit.
The hugely successful event represented a first not just in South Korea, but on a global level. In creating awareness of the health benefits of stair climbing, it’s an example to building owners everywhere to open their doors – and the stairs – to the pounding hearts of thousands of passionate runners.
Next stop on the 2017 Vertical World Circuit is in Paris, on May 18 with the VertiGo on the city’s Tour First Tower.