By Michael Branca

Stair-climbing is an intense muscular event, valued as the “ultimate challenge”. In recent years the marathon soared, so has participation in stair-climbs. Stair-climbs are typically staged (like time trials) and obviously don’t go very far (but make up for it by going vertical).

Stair-climbs are held in majestic buildings, using the fire escape stairs to run up. The Sears Tower in Chicago made its debut in November 2002, qualifying it as the longest vertical urban stair-climb in the world. Empire State Building Run-Up is by far the most popular stair-climb, which will be celebrating it’s 29th year of championship stair-climbing on February 7, 2006. Mellon Bank stair-climb in Philly draws an interesting breed of stair-climbers from the very young to the very, very old like 93 year old Chico Scimone, from Taormina, Italy. Presently, Taipei 101 (Taiwan) is the worlds tallest building reaching 1,679 feet into the sky, but is likely to be eclipsed in this decade by a competitor in Manhattan–the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower.

Why are stair-climbs becoming increasingly polular? Participants are getting involved for the challenge and for the various causes that stair-climbs benefit. People want to accomplish something that not everybody has already done and LOVE to say that they have run up the stairs.

Training for stair-climbs requires the following: stretching, cardiovascular endurance, and weight training, not soley stair-climbing. A clean “bill of health” is an integral part of training too.

Stair-climbing is perhaps the most intense sport you can do in a short period of time. Try it but be careful: you might get hooked too!