NEW YORK (28-Jan) -- Germany's Thomas Dold hopes to win his eighth consecutive Empire State Building Run-Up Powered by MMRF on Feb. 6, the New York Road Runners (NYRR) reported this morning.
Dold, 28, a stair-climbing specialist from Stuttgart, climbed the 1576 steps --about 320m of vertical gain-- to the 86th floor observation deck last year in 10 minutes and 28 seconds, eight seconds ahead of Christian Riedl, a German compatriot from Erlangen.
"To be the most successful runner and defending champion makes it easy for all other top runners to find their goal: just to beat me," said the always confident Dold through a statement. "This makes it attractive and keeps me always innovative in my training, and this year, training is going really well."
Dold first won the race in 2006, and has a personal best time of 10:07 set in 2009. He has never come close to Paul Crake's 2003 event record of 9:33. Crake, an Australian who won the event five times, was paralyzed in 2006 after a cycling accident.
Suzy Walsham, a 39 year-old Australian who lives in Singapore, hopes to win the women's contest for the fourth time. She recorded three consecutive victories from 2007 through 2009, and finished second last year. The former middle-distance runner has contested the race five times, recording her best time of 12:44 in 2008. That's well off of the women's event record of 11:23 set by Austrian steeplechaser Andrea Mayr in 2006.
The NYRR reported that 600 competitors had entered the race which, for the second time, will be contested at night.
"The drama surrounding the incredible challenge of the Empire State Building Run-Up is literally heightened by the glittering nighttime view of the Manhattan skyline as participants circle the observation deck to finish," said NYRR president and CEO Mary Wittenberg through a media release. "We can't wait to cheer on racers of all ranks as they take on one of NYRR's most eccentric and challenging fitness events."