The fourth stage of the 2017 Vertical World Circuit will take place in New York on June 4th with the T2T Tower Climb in One World Trade Center commemorating 9/11.
After Dubai, London and Paris, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and sixth tallest in the world, will host the third edition of the race dedicated to the heroes of that fateful day.
Five-times VWC World Champion, Australian Suzy Walsham will head the elite line-up together with former World Champion, German Thomas Dold, in a field of approximately 1,000 athletes. The elite field counts 20 athletes from across the globe pumping energy into a sleepy New York at the 5 am start.
One World Observatory at One World Trade Center marks the finish line on the 102nd floor of the building which tops out at 546m at the tip of the spire. The race climbs 104 floors and a lung-busting 2,226 steps.
Formidable? Walsham comments, “I am super excited to be taking part in this year’s Tunnel to Towers Tower Climb. It’s an amazing building and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’ve done a good block of training and after racing several tall buildings already this year, I feel I ‘m in shape for a good climb and hopefully a sub 15-minute finish.”
The standing records of 14’26” by Americans, Alexander Workman and 16’20” by Stephanie Hucko are expected to fall, given the strong international competition which includes Australian Darren Wilson.
Thomas Dold, a former VWC World Champion, has returned to the sport after a two-year absence and is currently ranked second after placing second in the London and Paris behind Piotr Lobodzinski, reigning VWC champion. He has won the New York Empire State Building Run-Up seven times, so, like Walsham who has won the event eight times, is no stranger here.
“To go to New York to a tower run is like coming home. I’ve been so often there and now running the first time the One World Trade Center feels like a brand new experience.” He stated. “I don’t know the staircase so that makes it really interesting and exciting. As the highest building in the USA it will be a great challenge for me.
Will I be able to win? I don’t know, because there will be other great runners but for sure, it will be a great race and the winner will set the course record.”
Mary Siller-Scullin, sister of 9/11 hero Stephen Siller and Treasurer of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, stated, “The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is inspired by the rousing support of climbers from around the world. The Tower Climb celebrates the selfless sacrifice of first responders on 9/11, New York’s rebuild of the iconic World Trade Center and the tremendous inner challenge faced by each individual climber. It is wonderful that people from all parts of the world come together, in unity, to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit and to pay tribute to all that is good in us.”
Among the elite is 75-year-old Brazilian, Orival Martins, who started running in the Vertical World Circuit in 2012. In his short career, he has raced up nearly 4 million steps (3,922,788)! “I never won a vertical race, but whenever I get to the top, I feel like a winner!” A true sports-man and example to all.