Point Scoring System for Towerrunning USA

Athletes earn points by completing scored races. The points earned at a race are determined by two factors:

  • Point Value of the race
  • Athlete’s position within the race (e.g. 1st place, 2nd place, etc.)


An athlete’s total score in the USA ranking system is calculated by adding together all the points earned during the past 12 months. If an athlete participates in more than 5 scored races, only their top 5 races - sorted by points earned - count toward the total score.

The US is divided into regions to allow for all racers to have access to nearby races to participate in.  The high point races in each region will be allotted 750 base points. They will be distributed among the races in the region as follows:

Allotment of points in US regions

Option 1

Option 2

Race 1



Race 2



Race 3



Race 4



Race 5



Race 6




Exceptions may be made when a region does not have 6 races that can be scored according to the scoring table above. All other scored races in the region shall be initially set to 50 points with the exception of wildcard races, which are scored and listed with the other high point races in the country.

Rule #1: All races listed on Towerrunning USA’s high points race list shall be scored. Other races, at the discretion of the Sports Director, shall be scored at a base of 50 points if race results are submitted to TowerrunningUSA in the appropriate format. The Sports Director shall determine which additional races or events to score. For example, races or events that are not very competitive may be excluded from the rankings.

For high points race, the base points assigned to a race represent the expected number of competitive climbers x 10. For example, a 100 point race expects to attract 10 competitive climbers. If fewer competitive climbers attend, the score will not be reduced. Hence these points are the minimum number of points the race will be worth. However, if more competitive climbers attend, additional bonus points will be added to the race.

Bonus points will be added to the race as follows:

Bonus Points = 5 x [# Competitive Climbers - (initial point value/10)]

The Sports Director will determine the number of competitive climbers. A guideline for choosing the number of competitive climbers is outlined below.

Step 1: Determine the “Gold Standard” of the race.

The Gold Standard is a generally accepted “great” time by an American amateur athlete. For well-established races, this may be calculated by averaging the “personal best “performances by the top X amateur North American athletes set over the race’s history.

As a guideline:

X ~ 10 for large (1000+) well established (5+ years) races (e.g. 150+ point races)

X ~ 5 for smaller (<1000) well established races (e.g. 100 point races)

For new or less well known races, the sporting director will set the Gold Standard time based on race results, building data, and relevant comparisons.

Step 2: Multiply the Gold Standard time by a set factor (B). The result is the competitive climber cutoff time.

B = 1.333 (4/3) with both genders use the male’s Gold Standard

Step 3: The number of competitive climbers is the number of athletes who are equal to or faster than the cutoff time. In the case where multiple athletes just miss the competitive climber cutoff time by 10 seconds or less, increase the number of competitive climbers by half the number of athletes that just missed the cutoff time (rounding down).

Other methods for determining the number of competitive climbers may be used as the Sports Director’s discretion (e.g. if only rank order, but not climb times are known).

Rule #2: Regardless of the method used, the same number of bonus points shall be given to each gender unless special circumstances dictate otherwise. These special cases will require a vote by the council to alter - preferably before the rankings are updated.

Rule #3: The maximum number of bonus points a race can have is 100.

The national championship is worth 350 points and may not accumulate bonus points.


Scoring Multi-Climbs Races

When points are distributed to high points races in a region, some of the races may be multi-event races (e.g. a race with a single climb and a power hour or a race with a single, double, & triple climb event).

For a multi-event race, Towerrunning USA will determine which event - if any - will receive additional points beyond 50 (or events with partial points per Addendum #1) and these points shall be clearly listed on the Towerrunning USA website for the event. All other scored events at the multi-event race will be initially set to 50 points (see Rule #1)

Addendum # 1: As an alternative, the council member may assign base points to multiple events at a multi-event race by distributing the base points above 50 between two or more events. The table below summarizes how this process works when the base points are evenly distributed.

Options for distribution of high points at multi climb events

Base Score

Option 1:

Two Events

Option 2:

Three Events

Option 3:

Four Events














Each event will be scored independently of one another. Each athlete will receive points only for their best event (sorted by points earned for each event).

Commentary: With this system, it may be still worthwhile to participate in an event worth fewer base points because the event may still attract a pretty competitive field and be eligible for bonus points. This situation may occur when a competitive athlete who specializes in a single discipline decides to compete in multiple events. It may be advantageous to win an event worth fewer points than to come in 4th in an event worth more points.

Power hours, vertical miles, or similar events are multi-lap races of an hour or more.  In this document, we will be using hour as the time limit or description in several places, although the document generally applies to longer or shorter races of the same format.


A power hour is a series of climbs in a staircase, usually descending by the elevator.  Every trip up counts as one lap.  Typically, the goal of a power hour is to complete as many laps of the building as possible in an hour.  A power hour is differentiated from other multiclimb races by the fact that the goal of the competitors is to climb the staircase as many times as possible during a fixed period of time, usually an hour.  The goal of other multiclimb events may be to climb the stairwell a certain number of times in a given time period.


Tie breaking is done by lowest time in the staircase.  If two climbers complete the same number of laps, but A completes the laps in 48:50 and B completes them in 52:12, A places ahead of B in the ranking.  They will both finish higher than any climber who completes only six laps, no matter how quickly those six laps are completed.


Power hours and multiclimb events still have staggered starts; one person is sent up in short intervals to start the race.  After the first lap, the racers descend the elevator and enter the staircase as fast as they can.  Racers returning from the top should not be impeded in any way from re-entering the staircase to ascend again.  There is no staggering at this point, and racers starting their first lap should wait for racers who are starting their subsequent laps.


A power hour doesn’t end at the same time for each racer.  A racer’s clock starts when they first enter the staircase.  Their hour ends when an hour has passed since they began their first lap. As long as a lap is started inside the racer’s hour, the entire lap counts.  If a climber begins her first lap at 7:05 and she completes 7 laps in 58 minutes, she returns to the start at 8:03.  As long as she enters the staircase before 8:05, she will be able to start and complete one additional lap, and her race total will reflect that.  It doesn’t matter how far after her hour ends that this lap ends, just that it starts in time. However, she is still incentivized to climb quickly to achieve a lower overall time which could greatly affect her ranking, as many climbers may achieve 8 laps that day.


All the typical stair climb etiquette with regards to passing and impeding apply to power hours and multiclimb events.