NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Tim Van Orden covered 86 flights of stairs in 12:22 to finish first in the 40-49 age group and 11th overall in the Empire State Building Run-Up on Tuesday.
The Bennington native ran up 1,576 steps in just over 12 minutes to reach the observation deck of the historic New York City landmark. Van Orden also competed in the Run-Up in 2008, finishing 14th overall and seventh in his age group.
Van Orden is no stranger to footracing success, having won the annual Zem/Benn road race in each of its last two runnings.
Thomas Dold, a 25-year-old from Stuttgart, Germany, finished first in this year’s Run-Up in 10:16.
"I’m so tired ... It was quite hard," Dold said. He is the third person to win the race five times. His only loss was a photo finish in his 2005 debut.
Melissa Moon, 40, of Wellington, New Zealand, placed first among the women in 13 minutes, 13 seconds. She finished panting, but smiling.
"Oh, look at that view!" she said at the top.
Trevor Folgering, of Burlington, finished 31st overall with a time of 13:50.
The unorthodox race has been run 33 times since 1978. Competitors start in the lobby, where they take just a few strides before squeezing through a doorway and into a stairwell for the long climb.
Passing can be difficult. The stairs are only wide enough for two people. Contestants also have to deal with an ear-popping altitude change of 1,050 feet. Some 162 men and 76 women entered this year. The event draws stair-climbing specialists from around the globe.
Gretchen Grindle Hurlbutt, 31, of New York, placed second among the women, then posed for photos with her 4-month-old baby.
She said getting back into shape so soon after pregnancy took a little time, by her standards anyway. She didn’t hit her usual regimen of 30-40 training miles per week until Christmas.
"I figured I’m good at two things, running and motherhood, so why not?" she said.