Marathons have always been a test of fitness and endurance. However, they are traditionally held over horizontal terrain. But China just held a vertical marathon in its capital city Beijing’s tallest building.
The second edition of the China World Summit Wing Hotel Vertical Run took place on Sunday morning (September 7) in Beijing. Six hundred competitors, including 24 elite runners from around the world, joined the race, which is an official stop on the 2014 Vertical World Circuit (VWC) — the world’s first and only skyscraper racing circuit. This unites some of the world’s most iconic skyscraper races, including the Empire State Building Run-Up in New York City.
Runners took on the vertical marathon on the staircase of China World Trade Centre Tower 3. Starting from the ground floor lobby, runners climbed 82 floors and 2041 steps to a height of 330 meters and finish at the rooftop of the building, reported The Telegraph.
Piotr Lobodzinski from Poland appeared at the finish line first in 10 minutes 1.4 seconds to take the trophy and a $1,500 (£900) cheque. The women weren’t far behind, with defending champion Suzy Walsham from Australia winning the title again with a time of 11 minutes 50.3 seconds, reported MSN.
Vertical marathon conducted by VWC is currently the only such unique racing event that challenges the athletes to run-up stairs. Though the regular terrain that athletes usually have to face isn’t any simpler, the vertical stairs pose a challenge of their own. Needless to say, runners train in a very different manner for the vertical marathon as they have to maneuver tight corners. Unlike traditional marathons, runners can’t pace out their run. Athletes have to speed past one another and often skip a few stairs to gain a competitive edge.
Runners participating in the VWC are assigned points based on their results, and the male and female competitors with the total highest scores at the end of the year will be declared world champions. Despite being physically draining, competitors from over 20 countries train hard to win in the vertical marathon, which still hasn’t been officially recognized as an altered form of the original marathon. The reason is quite simple. Each building is built differently and distances raced vary significantly, as against the original format in which the distance that needs to be covered never changes.
Scaling imposing structures though is slightly easier as the weather remains constant, but athletes often have to jostle for space for the initial few floors.
[Image Credit | Just Run LAH, Event India]