At 75 floors (1,018 feet high), the US Bank tower in downtown Los Angeles is the tallest building west of Chicago. For 11 years, this building held the title of being the tallest building in the world built on a major seismic zone, until it was surpassed by Tapei 101 in Taiwan in 2004. It’s appeared in many Hollywood blockbusters, but most notably in the 1996 film “Independence Day”, where it is the first building to be destroyed, as ravers partied on it’s lofty heliport.
Tower racing, or Stair Climbing as it’s often referred to is a uniquely challenging sport. It involves running, jogging, stepping, crawling or even crutching your way up the enclosed stairwells of very tall skyscrapers. These events attract very large fields of athletes, often in the thousands. This sport has become very popular with runners, cylists, mountain runners, spin instructors, and skiers, as it requires no special equipment and no new skill sets, just thighs and nerves of steel. For those who seek the most challenging way to test themselves against other extremely fit athletes from various disciplines, or for those who chose to bring their pain threshold to a whole new level – this is the sport. I’ve heard it described as the feeling one has in their legs, lungs and stomach as they sprint the last 100 meters to the finish of a 5k – but in a tower race this feeling starts at the beginning of the race and only gets worse as you go higher.
Tower racing has a large international following, with big prize money at some of the events. There is a core group of American elite athletes that travel the country competing in these events. So it’s never just a local crowd race, and you can always expect intense competition.
For the first time in my journey, I have managed to train for nearly 4 months without injury. During this time, I have steadily increased my mileage and intensity. I am in the best shape of my life by far. But even so, these races scare me to death!
See the Day 1 – High Rise Heroes video:
See the Day 2 – Elevators are for Wimps video: