17 May 2014

VertiGO victory for Walsham and Lobodzinski – records tumble

VertiGO winners line-up: Suzy Walsham and Piotr Lobodzinski (centre)

VertiGO winners line-up: Suzy Walsham and Piotr Lobodzinski (centre)

Records tumble at VertiGO with top Vertical World Circuit runners taking the podium in Paris.

Europe’s first stop on the 2014 Vertical World Circuit was staged yesterday evening up Paris’s tallest building, Tour First. More than 1,000 participants took part in the VertiGO, in support of Sport Sans Frontieres. They raced up 954 steps to the 48th floor and were greeted with spectacular views of Paris landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.

As predicted, the world-class field resulted in course records for both the men’s and women’s races with Poland’s Piotr Lobodinski smashing through the 5 minute barrier posting a fast 4’52” and Australia’s Suzy Walsham breaking the previous record by more than one minute clocking 5’43”. Second place in both the men’s and women’s race also went under the old records with Italy’s Fabio Ruga running 5’01” and Alessandra Valgoi 7’03” respectively.

It was Lobodzinski’s second VWC event this month and he went one better after placing second in Taipei two weeks ago. Speaking after the race, he said: “The start was very fast, but I ran a controlled race and took the lead around the eighth floor and then focused on staying ahead. I am very pleased with my win and the course record.”

Tour First, Paris, site of the VertiGO

Tour First, Paris, site of the VertiGO

For Walsham, three-time VWC Champion, it was her second win this season after racking up five consecutive wins on New York’s Empire State Building. Commenting on the race: “The start was a bit crazy as we left with the men so that made it a bit challenging. We all went a little too fast early so that made the second half of the race tough, but I am very happy with the win and my time – I was aiming to break six minutes so it was great to achieve that.”

Third place in the men’s race went to Belgium’s Omar Bekkali, who clocked exactly the same time as last year (5’09”) and, in the women’s field, Italy’s Christina Bonacina was third in 7’38″.

The Vertical World Circuit heads to Spain on June 7 for the third leg of the eight-race series. The venue will be held in Benidorm on the famous Costa Brava coast where runners will race up the 900 steps and 52 floors in the Subida Gran Bali.

The VWC ranking is based on the best results of four out of eight races. The World Champions will be crowned in Hong Kong which once again will host the grand finale at the SHKP Vertical Run: Race to Hong Kong ICC on December 7.

High altitude, whether in the mountains or the city, is the arena of the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF), which governs, promotes and sanctions skyrunning (high altitude mountain running) and skyscraper racing worldwide.

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