Is This the Ultimate Test of Fitness?


On Wednesday, February 3, 2016, over 200 elite runners from around the globe—including mountaineer and Marmot Ambassador Athlete Sean Swarner and ultra-marathoner Joe Polwrek—tackled the leg-numbing 39th Annual Empire State Building Run-Up. Presented by Marmot, this fitness feat had athletes stepping foot on quite literally every step of one of the world’s most iconic buildings. 

To traverse the 86 floors of the Empire State Building, athletes climbed 1,576 steps. Now, while the rest of us can reach the building’s Observatory in under a minute via elevator; the fastest runners can get from bottom to top in about 10 minutes. Only a select few had the opportunity to race after they entered the invitational lottery. 

The first place finisher, Darren Wilson, a 41-year-old firefighter from Adelaide, Australia told NY Daily News: “It was fantastic. When I got to the top I could see all of New York.” Wilson finished in 10 minutes, 36 seconds. 

The top female finisher was 42-year-old Singapore resident Suzy Walsham, who set a record with her 12 minute, 19 second climb, NY Daily News reported. 

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The race was broken up by heat:
Invitational Women’s Race: 8:00 p.m.
Invitational Men’s Race: 8:04 p.m.
Brokers’ Challenge: 8:08 p.m.
Media Race: 8:12 p.m.
CAF Race: 8:16 p.m.
Marmot Race: 8:40 p.m.
MMRF Race: 8:50 p.m.
Time Trials (Lottery Heat): 8:55 p.m. (one participant released every five seconds) 

More Quick Facts:
– Distance climbed in the race (approximately one-fifth of a mile vertically): 1,050 feet
– Men’s course record, set by Paul Crake of Australia in 2003: 9:33
– Women’s course record, set by Andrea Mayr of Austria in 2006: 11:23
– Most race victories in Men’s Invitational, held by Thomas Dold of Germany (2006–11): 7
– Most race victories in Women’s Invitational, held by Suzy Walsham of Australia (2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015): 6

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Check out our inspiring interview with Sean Swarner, a two-time cancer survivor who has climed Everest (and the rest of the Seven Summits) with only one functioning lung. 

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