5 April 2016

Vertical World Circuit – flying high in Dubai

Jumeirah Emirates Towers site of Dubai Holding Skyrun

Jumeirah Emirates Towers site of Dubai Holding Skyrun


A joint venture between the International Skyrunning Federation and Dubai Holding bring the Vertical World Circuit for the first time to the Middle East and Dubai. The world’s top skyscraper racers, including the reigning VWC champions, will be toeing the start line of the the third highest tower on the circuit, the Dubai Holding Skyrun, Friday, April 8.

They face a colossal climb up 1,334 steps for a total of 52 floors. Celebrating 14 editions, the Dubai Holding Skyrun will see 300 runners racing in aid of obesity research by Al Jalila Foundation, supported by Dubai Sports Council.

Third highest race on the circuit, The Dubai Holding Skyrun represents the second leg of the Vertical World Circuit which kicked off in London on March 8. After Dubai, the circuit heads for Paris and on to Manila, Sydney, Beijing and Shanghai, to conclude with the Grand Finale in Hong Kong on December 4 where the World Champions will be crowned and awarded cash prizes. A new race completing the nine-race circuit, will be announced shortly.

Reigning VWC champions Piotr Lobodzinski, 30, from Poland and Suzy Walsham, 42, an Australian resident in Singapore, are the favourites in the elite field which includes Ignacio Cardona, 42, from Spain, ranked 2nd and Emanuele Manzi, 46, from Italy, 5th.

Piotr Lobodzinski VWC Champion and ranking leader. (c)

Piotr Lobodzinski VWC Champion and ranking leader. (c)


In the women’s field, the competition will come from Lenka Svabikova from Czech Republic, ranked 2nd, Cristina Bonacina, 40, from Italy, 3rd and Dominika Wiśniewska-Ulfik, 30, from Poland, 2nd after Walsham in the recent Eiffel Tower race in Paris.

The records to beat? 7’56” by Paul Faulkner and 11’50” by Emily Rentsch. Both Lobodzinski and Svabikova, who raced here in 2013, are confident of breaking the standing record.

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.

Marino Giacometti, ISF President, comments, “The health benefits of stair climbing are well proven, in particular as a weight-loss instrument for non-runners. In fact, walking uphill, compared to the same exercise on level ground, consumes up to 10 times more calories!”

Since 2007, the ISF has carried out medical research in this field. Heart rate, vertical speed and lactic acid accumulation were among the parameters monitored. Comparing these with record times established in skyscraper races, health risks associated with stair climbing were ruled out.

Suzy Walsham, 4-time VWC Champion. (c)

Suzy Walsham, 4-time VWC Champion. (c)


Among the most interesting data to emerge was that of calorie consumption: 80% per cent of energy consumed is directed towards transporting the mass upwards. In studies carried out in collaboration with Geneva University, stair climbing represents an ideal weight loss instrument for non-runners.

The health benefits are perfectly in line with the Dubai Holding Corporate Wellness Programme, an award-winning multi-disciplinary programme that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of employees and impact the wider community through balanced nutrition, physical activity, stress management and general health. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, part of Dubai Holding’s hospitality arm Jumeirah Group, has been organising the race annually for over a decade, in partnership with Talise Fitness.

All funds raised through participation fees will contribute to Obesity Research in the UAE by Al Jalila Foundation, a global philanthropic organisation dedicated to transforming lives through medical education and research.

For race information visit:
Vertical World Circuit current ranking

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