February 7, 2013
Australians Mark Bourne and Suzy Walsham won the first stage of the 2013 Vertical World Circuit at New York’s 36th Empire State Building Run-Up yesterday. Race favourite, VWC champion and seven-time winner Thomas Dold, dropped from the race with flu.
Walsham, who shares the 2012 Vertical World Circuit Champion title with Dold, won the race for the fourth time in 12’05”, comfortably outstripping another Australian, Brooke Logan, by 43 seconds. Third was American Erika Aklufi.
Mark Bourne, who already beat Dold in 2012 on the world’s third tallest building, The Taipei 101, elbowed his way through the throng to finish in 10’12”. Again from Australia, Darren Wilson was second in 10.45 and third, American mountain runner Rickey Gates, in 11.01 despite fighting off the effects of a cold.
600 runners raced up the 1,576 steps and 86 flights to the famous observation deck where the race records, set back in 2003 by yet another Australian, Paul Crake, in 9’33” and Austrian Andrea Mayr in 2006 in 11’23” look like staying for a long time.
The 2013 Vertical World Circuit is composed of nine races, featuring three new entries and two brand new races: in Madrid, Barcelona and, for the first time on Chinese mainland, Beijing’s tallest tower, the China World Trade Center.
Apart from the super-strong Australian and American runners, look out for world-class specialists participating in the 2013 VWC from Europe, headed by Thomas Dold from Germany of course. Aiming to score points in the circuit will be Italians Fabio Ruga and Cristina Bonacina, both ranked 2nd in 2012, absent yesterday, and contenders from Belgium, Spain, Slovakia, Poland and Czech Republic who feature in the top ranking.
After New York, the circuit heads for Basel, Madrid and Barcelona in the heart of Europe and on to Taipei, Beijing, Hanoi and Singapore in the Far East, closing in Saõ Paolo in Brazil where the 2013 VWC champions will be crowned.