World class runners are converging on Paris tomorrow for the third leg of the Vertical World Circuit, the international skyscraper racing series.
More than 1,000 runners are expected to take part in the VertiGO, which climbs 52 floors and counts 954 steps to the summit of the 225-metre-high Tour First office skyrscraper in the La Défense financial district in Paris.
Heading the line-up is three-time VWC Champion, Suzy Walsham from Australia. Walsham is five-times winner of the prestigious Empire-State Building Run-Up in New York City, the first event on the Vertical World Circuit, which was followed by the Taipei 101 Run Up earlier this month, the world’s fifth tallest building.
The men’s field is headed by Poland’s Piotr Lobodzinksi, who placed second in Taipei earlier this month. He will battle with race record holder Omar Bekkali from Belgium. Bekkali set the record here last year in 5’09”. The women’s record stands at 7’13, by Fanny Cospain – no doubt with the strong competition tomorrow, both records will fall.
Other élite competitors are Italians, Fabio Ruga, Cristina Bonacina, Dario Fracassi, Alessandra Valgoi and Sara De Maria; Ignacio Cardona from Spain; Norbert Lechner from Austria. All the way from Brasil, 71-year-old, Orival Martins will join the race.
The eight-race Vertical World Circuit stretches across the globe, zigzagging from New York to Taipei, from Paris and Benidorm in Europe, to Beijing and Brazil, before returning to the Far East in Shanghai and concluding in Hong Kong where the VWC Champion titles and cash prizes will be awarded.
High altitude, whether in the mountains or the city, is the arena of the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF), which governs, promotes and sanctions skyrunning (high altitude mountain running) and skyscraper racing worldwide.
VertiGO aims to raise funds for the charity, Sport Sans Frontiers, which operates in five countries to assist underprivileged children. The event, in its second year, is targeting € 240,000 to help 30,000 children.
Race website: www.course-vertigo.org