IN PICS: The winners of the Climb to Abu Dhabi

Sport360 staff 29/01/2017

The world’s best tower runners descended on Abu Dhabi for the inaugural Climb to Abu Dhabi, the vertical marathon hosted by the Etihad Towers. Organized by Sport360, the Climb to Abu Dhabi featured an 82-floor, 1,617-step climb for the elite tower runners, guaranteeing a grueling test for participants.

2016 World Tower Running champions Suzy Walsham and Piotr Lobodzinski (who is the brand ambassador for Climb to Abu Dhabi)  were on hand to watch the runners compete in the marathon. World No. 1 and No. 2 Suzy Walsham and Christian Reidl lived up to their lofty rankings, crossing the finish line as winners.

While 82 floors was a distance meant for the best of the best, the Climb to Abu Dhabi featured events open to all runners, including family, school, and community categories, which featured a 32-floor, 720-step race.

The sport of of vertical marathons began in the 1970s, and with the Abu Dhabi event, it has now spread to every continent.

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Climb to Abu Dhabi: Over 700 climbers compete

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Did you compete on Friday?

Under the initiative of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, The Climb to Abu Dhabi Vertical Marathon presented by Daman’s ActiveLife was held at the iconic Etihad Towers on Friday.

712 participants took up the challenge across six different race categories, climbing 82 floors/1,617 steps or 32 floors/720 steps with winners taking home $25,000 USD in prize money.

Speaking at the event H.E Aref Hamad Al Awani, Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, commented: “Stair climbing is one of the best forms of exercise and the easiest way to work fitness into our busy lives. We are delighted with the inaugural event and encourage everyone to join the stair climbing movement not just from today but into the future.”

Brand Ambassador of the event and current World Champion, Piotr Lobodzinski expressed his delight at the engagement of the community and involvement of the world’s best runners, he stated: “The Climb to Abu Dhabi was a very new race for many of today’s participants. Its fantastic to see such a great response which hopefully sees the sport of tower running become even more popular in the Middle East Region.”

Christian Riedl, winner of the men’s elites category and current world number two ranked tower runner expressed his delight at crossing the vertical line in the ultimate winning time of 9mins and 21seconds.

He stated: “I am very happy to win the event, obviously with such prize money on stake we had a strong field so to hear my name announced as the winner was a great feeling. The race itself was considerably difficult with a fast track approaching the stairs but overall a fantastic event and look forward to defending my title next year already.”

Australia’s world champion Suzy Walsham, who took home the Female Elite title in an impressive 10mins and 30seconds, was also delighted with her performance.

“What a wonderful event to see so many of the community take part in tower running. Today’s event was a good test as it was a building that no one has ever run up. Delighted to take home the title and look forward to seeing many more of the Abu Dhabi community take on the challenge next year.”

Richard Foulds, Head of Property Management at Etihad Towers; the home of the Climb to Abu Dhabi, added: “On behalf of His Highness Sheikh Suroor Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, it was a pleasure for the 2017 Climb to Abu Dhabi Vertical Marathon to be hosted at the iconic Etihad Towers in conjunction with Abu Dhabi’s sports council, Daman Health Insurance and of course our hotel partners Jumeirah Group.”

Tower 2, where this year’s event took place, is one of three residential towers, measuring 310m in height and remains one of the tallest iconic residential towers in Abu Dhabi.

The event also coincides with the five-year anniversary of Etihad Towers. It was a pleasure for Etihad Towers Real Estate to award Ms. Alice McNamara, who flew in all the way from Sydney, the trophy and prize money for coming runner-up in the female elite category.

On behalf of His Highness Sheikh Suroor and the Etihad Towers team, we would like to thank all the supporters and participants both professional athletes and family & friends and welcome them back for next year’s edition.

An exhibition race in 2017 under the sanctioning of the World Tower Running Association, the Climb to Abu Dhabi is also the first destination city for the newly formed Climb to Vertical Series, which will see cities around the Middle East & North Africa form part of the a MENA vertical series to launch in 2018.

An initiative of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and presented by Daman’s ActiveLife, the Climb to Abu Dhabi is hosted and sponsored by Etihad Towers and supported by Reebok, Etisalat, Technogym, National Ambulance, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and Sport360.

Further details including full results and partners are available on

The stunning view at the finish line of #ClimbtoAbudhabi #verticalmarathon #inabudhabi

A photo posted by Sport360 (@sport360) on


2017 Winning Prize Money Results – 82 Floors / 1,617 Steps

Elite Male (34 starters)

Pos/Athlete/Final Time/Prize Money/Nationality

1 Christian Riedl 0:09:21 $3250 German

2 Tomas Celko 0:09:23 $2250 Slovakia

3 Shaun Stephens-Whale 0:09:28 $1250 Canada

4 Emanuele Manzi 0:09:37 $750 Italy

5 Stefan Stefina 0:09:55 $600 Slovakia

6 Gorge Heimann 0:10:00 $500 Germany

7 Karol Galicz 0:10:07 $400 Poland

8 Henry Kipkurui Kipsang 0:10:20 $300 Kenya

9 Rolf Majcen 0:10:28 $250 Austrian

10 Ralf Hascher 0:10:35 $200 Germany

Elite Female (16 starters)

Pos/Athlete/Final Time/Prize Money/Nationality

1 Suzy Walsham 0:10:30 $3250 Australia

2 Alice McMamara 0:11:37 $2250 Australia

3 Brooke Logan 0:11:50 $1250 Australia

4 Zuzana Krchova 0:12:09 $750 Czech

5 Lenka Svabikova 0:12:46 $600 Czech

Challenger Male (169 starters)

Pos/Athlete/Final Time/Prize Money/Nationality

1 Ismail Ssenyanga 0:09:30 $1500

2 Paul Faulkner 0:10:09 $1000

3 Pierluca Armati 0:10:17 $500

4 Abdelali Bouazzaoui 0:10:27 $300

5 Abdelmajid Elakhdar 0:11:15 $200

Challenger Female (108 starters)

Pos/Athlete/Final Time/Prize Money/Nationality

1 Euliter Jepchirchir Tanui 0:11:56 $1500

2 Amina Mhih 0:13:06 $1000

3 Rebecca Faulkner 0:14:12 $500

4 Nicoleta Hodorogea 0:14:46 $300

5 Toni Metcalfe 0:15:10 $200

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Vertical champion Walsham targeting glory in UAE capital

Denzil Pinto 25/01/2017
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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.”

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