2007 Empire State Run-Up—Defending Champion Thomas Dold is in yellow

Forget the running of the bulls. Today was the 34th Empire State Building Run-Up, a vertical quarter-mile. The race, among the first on stairs, began as a lark in 1978. By 2010, there were more than 160 staircase races in the world—on 5 continents and in 34 states. In this year’s Empire State Building race, about 450 runners will depart in seven waves.

Strategy is highly individualized, too. Most use the railings as a hoist. And the best racers take the steps two at a time.

The longest is in Radebeul, Germany, a 39,700-step, 100-lap slog designed to approximate an ascent of Mount Everest from sea level to the summit.

2010 Empire State Bldg Run-Up

The longest single-staircase race is the Niesen Treppenlauf, in Switzerland, a scenic thigh-screamer comprising 11,674 steps adjacent to a funicular with spectacular Alpine views.

Chicago hosts the three longest nonstop run-up races in the United States, and Terry Purcell, 40, has won them all multiple times.

“Tell people you ran a marathon and they say, ‘Oh, O.K.,’ ” said Purcell, an eight-time champion of Chicago’s Hustle Up the Hancock. “If I say I ran up the Hancock, people are gobsmacked.”

I love that word. Of course as we saw a few days ago, you could always run in Antarctica to impress your running buddies.

What this article doesn’t tell you is how congested it gets at the start. Though runners are sent in waves, you can watch people get trampled in this silent video during the slow motion replay after about a minute. Dangerous…

By the way, the winner today was again Thomas Dold: it took him 10:10 to become the one and only 6-time winner in the 34 year old history of this classic New York event. He also holds currently five world records in backwards running between 400 meters and a mile. I will have to learn more about that later…

If this challenge appeals to you, here is a link to many other links: http://www.towerrunning.com/links.php