On February 1st Trevor Folgering founder of the Canada StairClimbing Association raced up the 1,576 stairs of The Empire State Building. This is a world class race and is considered the "World Championships of Stairracing"
I arrived in New York Jan 30th and had a good day to acclimatize to the New York Environment. During the first day at New York it is a tradition to do a warm-up and run to the Empire State Building and check out the building. As I ran their I slipped on some ice and fell to the ground. Not a good start, and I had slightly hurt a muscle in my lower back. It wasn't debilitating, I would just have to put some ice on it to reduce inflammation. I continued running and made it to the building in twenty minutes. The building is a magnificent structure and very iconic.
Inside there are security officers everywhere. You can't go anywhere in the building without running into one of them.
I headed up the the second level to see if they were setting up the registration area, but was stopped by security their and was almost escorted out of the building. "No dry-runs" the security officer said. I laughed and left the building, finishing the rest of the warm-up with great fury.
On race day I arrived pretty early around 7:30 am. I headed up the the second level registration area, which was already full of athletes who were racing for charity.
I registered and grabbed my number for the start line, which was 32. I had a feeling I would be around this number as I finished 30th last year.
Our start was at 10:35 which left me a lot of time to socialize with other athletes, but most importantly to mentally get ready to push my body to maximum capacity.
It was great meeting athletes from all over the world. I really think stairclimbers are the nicest athletes out there. Everyone is so pleasant and friendly. It is so nice to see, especially coming from a sport like bodybuilding where everyone is very closed and not open to conversation before an event.
I continued to socialize until around 9:30, where I began my mental prep and warm-up drills. Myself and another athlete from the states found a very quiet place to do warm-up drills. My body felt pretty good and my back was much better then the previous day.
As I finished my warm-ups I began to really quiet the mind as I knew that the start of this race is very crucial and can be at times dangerous. If I was to have a good start I would need to really keep any anxious thoughts at bay and really start to mentally get in the zone.
The start on this race is pretty wild and crazy. Just imagine 80 athletes running toward a small doorway that leads to the stairwell. Its like being chased by 80 bulls in a stampede!
I lined up with everyone at the start of the registration area. We were all lead down the stairs to the start line. For the first time the athletes were all together and I could really feel the energy rise.
I could hear the Marshall telling us all to "slow down and hold up." Some people listened and the mass of athletes slowed down.
We all approached the start line together. The first 10 people get the front line and all the other athletes joust for position to be closer to the front line.
I heard the opening remarks very clearly. "RUNNERS TAKE YOUR MARK!" and then the horn went off and we stampeded toward the doorway that lead to 1,576 stairs of pain.
I was able to squeeze through the doorway with the other athletes, just barley. It felt like I was being "lifted" through the doorway as their were so many athletes around me that it seemed like I could easily crowd surf my way to the stairs. I believe its the adrenaline that made me feel this way, as I a recollection of my feet feeling very light.
We began to climb the first twenty floors, which were just like any ordinary stairs. I felt I wasnt able to really push hard at the start since their was so many people around me it made it hard to really push at maximum capacities. I felt like I was pushing around 40 percent of my maximum.
At one point a fight almost broke out in the stairwell, as I saw one athletes stumble to the ground and another athlete yelling "stop it!" Quiet a wild ride!
As we got past the twentieth floor athletes began to fad and it was easier to pass people, I know felt I was working close to maximum capacity.
The stairwells at the Empire State Building are very different then other stairwell. After the 20th floor there are long landing in between floors, so it makes it a longer more tougher climb.
At floor 20 and 65 you have to cross the entire building and enter another stairwell, so the actual building is different then a regular building. It is quite unique!
As I got towards floor 65 I found my lungs were actually keeping up with my legs and felt pretty strong, but suddenly around floor 75 I felt a little light headed which is new to me. I might have been slightly dehydrated before the race and this could of been one symptom.
I pushed passed this and continued to race to the 86th floor. As I got to the top, I noticed the first sign of light. I raced harder and wanted to really finish strong!
I entered the 86th floor and ran toward toward the exit. Finally! I sprinted towards the finish line: 13 minutes and 15 seconds my finishing time indicated.
I was exhausted by happy to finish. I was slightly disappointed with my finish as I wanted to go under 13 minutes. However I was happy that I beat my previous best by 35 seconds.
I got back to the 61st floor for the race results. I finished 29th out of 213 runners. I was the first Canadian over the line which was a great feeling.
The race is becoming more competitive each year. Last year I ranked 30th which means that there are more competitive athletes at this race.
Next year I will be back and breaking the 13 minutes mark and getting into the top 10!
Overall it was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget! Thanks for all the people in New York who made this happen! Check out some of the pictures below!
Till next time!!
The Canada StairClimbing Association