Bright* and early on Sunday, May 15th over 600 participants raced up One World Trade Center in NYC in the 2nd annual Tunnels to Towers climb.


*Edit: Actually, this is race was so early that the sun hadn’t yet risen... .


This year was the first time climbers could race all the way to the observation deck on the 102nd floor. Last year, the observation deck wasn’t quite finished so the race finished on the 90th floor.


Billed as the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, the race attracted climbers from all around the country. The women’s field was especially deep with last year’s podium finishers all in the starting lineup (S. Hucko, S. Klarfeld & T. O’Hara). The men’s field was missing last year’s top finishers (T. Donahue, S. Love, & R. Majcen), leaving the door wide open to crown a new men’s champion.


The race was particularly challenging because not only is the building extremely tall, but racers weren’t able to bring electronics into the stairwell - including stop watches and MP3 players.


The women’s race played out much like last year with the top three women coming in the same exact order. Here are the top five women:


Stephanie Hucko              16:20 (4th overall!)

Shari Klarfeld                     16:36 (7th overall!)

Tricia O’Hara                       19:02

Suzanne Bergen               19:32

Linda Viner                         19:36


Impressive Fact: Shari missed the Empire State Building Run-up this year because she was nine months pregnant. To put up such a fast time only three months later is incredible.


The men’s race was incredibly tight. Here is what the winner Alex Workman had to say about the race:

“Dr. Thomas Scott started the race one spot ahead of me in line. I finally caught up to him on the 70th floor, but couldn’t pass. We pushed each other for the next 20 floors or so. By the time we got into the 90s, I had nothing left in the tank and Dr. Scott started pulling away. I’m lucky the floor markers unexpectedly jumped from floor 93M to floor 100, otherwise I’m not sure I could have held on for the win.”


Here are the top five men:

Alexander Workman      14:26

Thomas Scott                     14:34

Norbert Lechner              15:32

Stephen Marsalese         16:24

Corey Holthaus                 16:30


You can see the full results here. Congratulations to all who participated!


Last but not least, several people have asked if the One World Trade Center race is taller than the Sears (Willis) Tower race. The answer, according to Dr. Charles Bowers’ GPS, is that the Sears Tower’s racecourse is about 70 feet taller than 1WTC’s. However, 1WTC has approximately 20 seconds of extra running because there are several long &  twisty hallways in the first section of the building. As such, 1WTC should be about 20 seconds faster than Sears - perhaps even less since Sears has much better hand rails is much easier to pace (as it allows racers to use stop watches). All in all, the courses are fairly close... but the nod goes to Sears as both the longest and tallest race in the U.S.