November 24, 2013
Australians commanded the top three podium places in Sunday’s Swissôtel Vertical Marathon, led by race winners Suzy Walsham and Mark Bourne who continue to maintain the lead of the Vertical World Circuit ranking.
2,160 runners took part in the race, now in its 26th year, climbing the 1,366 steps from the ground floor to the helipad on the 73rd floor of South East Asia’s tallest hotel building.
Walsham, 40, who lives in Singapore, scored her eighth victory at this race, overwhelming her nearest challenger in the women’s open field by almost 90 seconds. Her time of 7’57” was just shy of her course record of 7’51” set last year.
“Any win is a good win, but I have a real soft spot for this event as it was my first stair climbing race back in 2006, so it’s one that I always want to do and win,” Walsham said. “It means a lot to me and to have eight in a row is a nice record to have.”
Vanja Cnops from Belgium took second in 9’26” and Lenka Svabikova from the Czech Republic, took third in 9’43”.
In the men’s open division, Mark Bourne, 30, climbed to victory, finishing in 6’51”, beating 39 year-old compatriot Darren Wilson, last year’s race winner, by 14 seconds. Piotr Lobodzinski from Poland, placed third in 7’06”.
The win in Singapore is Bourne’s third outright victory on this year’s Vertical World Circuit, earning him another 100 points on the men’s ranking to maintain the top rung. The 30 year-old from Canberra started at his usual conservative pace and worked his way confidently through the field.
“The race for me went well. It was good to come out on top and I wasn’t sure how I’d go as I raced last week but it’s good to know that I recovered well,” Bourne said. “I felt really good from the start and I’m just in quite good form at the moment which makes it much easier.”
As winners of the event, Walsham and Bourne will receive a VWC prize of round-trip airfare to the circuit final in Hong Kong on December 1st, together with tickets and entry to the Empire State Building Run-Up awarded by the organisers.
After five straight wins, reigning champion Suzy Walsham is unbeatable. She will head to the Hong Kong final to race a new tower and to receive her 2013 VWC world title and prize money. New Zealander Melissa Moon, currently ranked 2nd, will race to maintain her ranking, while Italy’s Valentina Belotti, a strong contender and winner at Taipei, remains injured.
For Thomas Dold, who has won the VWC four times since its inception in 2009, it’s a different picture. With ana incredible seven wins at the Empire State Building Run-Up, he didn’t race this year due to illness. He counts two excellent firsts at Beijing and Hanoi, but with today’s fourth position, it’s not enough to guarantee him another title. His only chance lies in winning the Hong Kong final – and if Bourne places at least 3rd…
Poland’s Piotr Lobodzinski, with today’s third place, moves up to second place on the ranking followed by Belgian Omar Bekkali, fifth today, he now places third in the VWC ranking.
The 2013 Vertical World Circuit moves on to Hong Kong with the 7th and final stage after New York, Basel, Taipei, Beijing, Hanoi and Singapore. The grand finale will be the “Race to ICC-100 – SHKP Vertical Run for the Chest”, which will take place on December 1st and crown the 2013 world champions.
High altitude, whether in the mountains or the city, is the playground of the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF), which governs, promotes and sanctions skyrunning (high altitude mountain running) and skyscraper racing worldwide.
1. Mark Bourne – Australia: 6’51”
2. Darren Wilson – Australia: 7’05”
3. Piotr Lobodzinksi – Poland: 7’06”
1. Suzy Walsham – Australia – 7’57”
2. Vanja Cnops – Belgium – 9’26”
3. Lenka Svabikovan – Czech Republic – 9’43”
2013 Vertical World Ranking after Singapore (extract)
1. Mark Bourne – 388 points
2. Piotr Lobodzinksi – 354 points
3. Omar Bekkali- 280 points
1. Suzy Walsham – 400 points
2. Melissa Moon – 238 points
3. Lenka Svabikova – 150 points