A stacked line-up of some of the world’s most competitive skyscraper racers including world champions, Mark Bourne and Suzy Walsham, head the field for the 2014 Vertical World Circuit grand finale at the Race to Hong Kong ICC on Sunday, December 7.
Hong Kong’s iconic International Commerce Centre, site of this immense challenge, is the highest skyscraper on the VWC at 484 metres and the tallest in the city, counts 2,120 steps up 82 floors to the race summit.
Australia’s Mark Bourne, last year’s race winner and 2013 VWC champion will be challenged by fellow countryman Darren Wilson, second here last year together with 17 runners in the elite field.
The women’s field is equally competitive, with five top talents including reigning world champion Suzy Walsham of Australia, as well as Gan Xue, last year’s runner-up and China’s reigning national mountain running champion.
The final VWC prize of HKD 100,000 will be awarded to the circuit’s top three ranked men and women by Marino Giacometti, ISF President. Currently leading the eight-race circuit ranking are: Piotr Lobodzinski (POL), Omar Bekkali (BEL) and Norbert Lechner (AUT) for the men and Suzy Walsham (AUS), Cristina Bonacina (ITA) and Gan Xue (CHN). Runners participating in the VWC are assigned points based on their results counting the four best results in the eight-race circuit.
The records to beat? 12’04” by Mark Bourne and 14’32” by Suzy Walsham in 2013.
The Race to Hong Kong ICC will award HKD 60,000 to the top race winners. “As we are continually looking to attract an ever growing number of world-class vertical runners, we know this year will elevate the level of competition being able to field last year’s champions Mark Bourne and Suzy Walsham,” said David Shin, Race Director. “The 2014 Race to Hong Kong ICC will be an exciting race for the elites, general runners and the spectators.”
Teams and individual local runners will also climb the tower, the proceeds of which will go to child and youth services charities.
The eight-race Vertical World Circuit stretches across the globe, zigzagging from New York to Taipei, from Paris and Benidorm in Europe, to Beijing and Brazil, before returning to the Far East in Shanghai and concluding in Hong Kong.
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.
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Race website: www.verticalrunhk.com
Sun Hung Kai Properties, a leading property developer in Hong Kong, opened a new chapter in the city’s stair-climbing history when it staged the first vertical run at their landmark International Commerce Centre, which is Hong Kong’s tallest building, in December 2012. This will be the third edition of the race, which became affiliated with the International Skyrunning Federation in 2013.