On Saturday, March 12th the 3rd running of the Fight For Air Climb took place at the Vue in Charlotte, NC. A 50 floor building with 883 steps greeted approximately 200 participants and the competition was fierce!


The men’s field was led by some of the fastest in the country. Troy Alston and Dr. Thomas Scott came in from Florida, and Charlotte’s Zack Kessell returned to defend his title. Troy took home the #1 spot with a time of 4:40, Zack at 4:59 and Dr. Scott at 5:01 minutes.


The women’s field was equally as strong, with hometown local elite climbers, Stephanie Hucko, Linda Viner and Suzanne Bergen. Number one Elite Climber and current US National Female Champion, Stephanie defended her title at the Vue finishing with a PR of 5:22. Linda came in second with her own PR of 6:28, and not too far behind was Suzanne Bergen, another PR, with a time of 6:45! This was Suzanne’s first climb ever one year ago and with this being her 7th race, she has quickly moved up the ranks to #11! Something tells me Suzanne is the one to watch this year.


The rest of the field was equally competitive. Finishing 4th overall male was Jordan Brashears, relatively new on the scene, with a smoking time of 5:42, followed by Kory Williams at 5:46 and local competitor David Ochoa at 5:48. I’d be keeping my eye on Jordan.


And not only did the elites travel in for this race, the amazing George Burnham traveled from Arizona. At 73 years old and approximately 176 races under his belt, this man is a true inspiration.


On top of the individual climb, a Power Hour was added this year. Since this is a residential building, only one elevator was available. With 25 competitors in the Power Hour, Zack Kessell took home 1st place among the men, climbing 50 floors 8 times! Suzanne Bergen took home 1st place female, ascending 6 times. And once wasn’t enough for George Burnham, who tackled this building 2 times!


To round things up, Team Vertically Challenged/West Coast Labels took home the gold, being the fastest team out there. They also raised over $2,000.


As a current resident of Charlotte, I am thrilled to see that this race has so far raised over $60,000 for the American Lung Association. Since they are a major player in climbs all over the US, the more participants we can encourage to get involved, helps raise money for such an important organization. Lung Disease affects over 33 million people and Lung Cancer is the leading cancer killer. Asthma affects over 25 million.


We climb for those who can’t! Defying Gravity One Step At a Time!