Tired of that local 5K race? Bored with yet another 10K? How about a Marathon? No, been there, done that! Well, then maybe you can join me for a race up some stairs! That’s what I will be doing March 23rd in Philadelphia. Not inspired enough? Well what if you heard that TV host Kelly Rippa just competed the Empire State Building Run-up!
Got your attention now? Good. Look, as a runner you’re more likely to eschew elevators for a jaunt up the stairs anyway, so why not get serious about it? Stair climbs are races up flights of stairs within tall buildings all over the world. In the U.S., these “vertical road races” are contested in cities from Seattle to San Antonio and Hartford to Honolulu. Chicago, generally considered the home of the world’s first skyscraper, has stair climbs in as many as five separate buildings throughout the windy city, such as Presidential Towers, the John Hancock Center, and the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower.
Stair climbs are supposedly excellent forms of cross-training since they require
competitors to move their body weight vertically, working against gravity. Not
only does this type of racing build mass in the quadriceps and calf muscles, it
also gives the arms a good workout since participants use hand rails and
banisters to pull themselves up each flight -- a tactic that is allowed and
A Web site that promotes the sport of stair climbing is
stairclimbingsport.com. They claim that 15 minutes of climbing stairs is
equivalent to 30 minutes of running. This group is particularly focused on
including stair climbing as an Olympic event, believing that the first word in
the “Higher, Faster, Stronger” Olympic motto applies more to their sport than
to any other.
I am running in one of the many Fight for Air stair climbs in support of the American Lung Association. You can go to their website and click on your state for the stair climb nearest you. So, how am I going to train for my stair climb? Well, I’m going to go out, find some stairs . . . and climb them!