Vertical champion Walsham targeting glory in UAE capital

Suzy Walsham is determined to add to her tower running haul in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

Denzil Pinto
by Denzil Pinto
25th January 2017

article:25th January 2017

Leading the way: Suzy Walsham has dominated tower racing.
Leading the way: Suzy Walsham has dominated tower racing.

If you look at Suzy Walsham’s CV, it’s easy to see why she’s the world No1 in tower running.

Six World Cups and five World Circuit triumphs are just some of her achievements since taking up the sport in 2006.

That’s no surprise considering the Australian has won 67 of her 78 races, yet, she has no plans of stepping off the gas, determined to add to that tally at this weekend’s Climb to Abu Dhabi.

The 43-year-old is one of 15 ladies set to tackle 82 floors and 1,617 steps in the elite category at Tower 2 of Jumeirah Etihad Towers on Friday and is relishing the task of conquering the iconic building.

“The best thing about these races is the challenge,” said Walsham, who lives in Singapore.

“I love trying out new buildings and these races are just about racing in the buildings. There’s not a lot that you can do when you compare yourself to other competitors. It’s just a physically and mentally intensive race. It’s really about you and the building and I look forward to conquering the course.”

Standing in her way are some familiar faces with Czech Republican duo – Zuzana Krchova and Lenka Svabikowa, who are world No2 and No3 respectively, also in action.

With an attractive prize fund $25,000, Walsham is fully aware of the challenge ahead.

“It’s going to be a tough race,” she said, who won 15 of 16 races last year.

“The European girls tend not to be strong in the bigger buildings as there are not many buildings in Europe.

“However, with all the prize money on offer, you never know who will surprise the field.”

Having competed for more than a decade, Walsham has competed around the globe from Paris to New York but she will never forget her first race in Singapore in 2006.

“My background was in track and competed in the 1,500m and 800m races for Australia (at the Commonwealth Games), so tower running was always something I was interested,” said Walsham, who has a six-year-old son and works three days a week as an accountant.

“When I moved to Singapore there was the Swissotel Vertical Marathon and the first prize was a trip to New York to compete in the Empire State Building Run-Up. It was one I wanted to do and I pushed so hard to get that win,” she said.

While she rates the Swissotel The Stamford building as one of her favourites, there’s one tower she would love to compete in.

“The Burj Khalifa for sure,” she said. “To conquer a building like that would be amazing.”