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Why You Should Sign Up For A Tower Running Event This Year

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(Image credit: Unknown)

Pictured: Two-time Olympic Gold medallist Alex Gregory taking part in Shelter’s Vertical Rush

Take the stairs. It’s an absolutely classic bit of fitness advice, but when people bring it up, they generally mean a couple of flights here and there to avoid using escalators – not charging up the 932 steps of Tower 42 in the City of London.

Coach did just that with Shelter’s Vertical Rush (opens in new tab) in 2017. Well, charged is probably not the right word. We plodded up the stairs. Crawled. Collapsed. Can you collapse up a staircase?

Despite the difficulty involved, tower running is surprisingly good fun, not least because you’re rewarded with a cracking view at the end. If nothing else, an event has more novelty value than a 10K or marathon.

There are other benefits to opting for a tower run over a long run or cycle too. The events are generally pretty short – the tallest buildings in London will take less than 15 minutes to conquer – and if you’re already exercising regularly, you don’t really have to train specifically for a tower run unless you’re dead set on smashing a past PB or target time.

If you are keen on emulating Piotr “Showtime” Łobodziński (that’s right, tower runners get glitzy nicknames), the tower running world champ who clocked an absurd 3min 59sec at Vertical Rush 2017 (Coach’s times were, ahem, slower), we’d recommend building up your general endurance through regular running, as well as strength work in your quads and glutes.

In terms of tactics on the day, start steady rather than opting for an all-out sprint in the first few flights, and make as much use of any bannisters as possible. Pulling yourself along shifts some of the burden from your legs to your upper body.

For more specific training, run up some stairs (obviously) or, if you’re a Londoner, join in with the occasional sessions organised by Tower Running UK (opens in new tab).

Got all that? Good. Now here are some UK tower running events to sign up for.

UK Tower Running Events

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Walkie Talkie Tower Climb

Date: 29th February 2020

Location: Walkie Talkie, London

Stairs: 896

Sign up (opens in new tab) | £25, plus £250 fundraising

Vertical Rush

Date: 12th March 2020

Location: Tower 42, London

Stairs: 932 (single-climb event), 9,320 (ten-climb event)

Sign up (opens in new tab) | Single climb £30, plus £180 fundraising; ten climbs £35, plus £350 fundraising

The Broadgate Tower Run Up

Date: 5th July 2020

Location: Broadgate Tower, London

Stairs: Single climb 877, three climbs 2,631, six climbs 5,262, 12 climbs 10,524

Sign up (opens in new tab) | Single climb £40, three climbs £60, six climbs £70, 12 climbs £90

Guy’s Urban Challenge

Date: 26th September 2020

Location: Guy’s Hospital, London

Stairs: 2.4km run, 15km spin then 648-stair tower run

Sign up (opens in new tab) | £30, plus £200 fundraising

SAMH Stomp

Date: 10th October 2020

Location: BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

Stairs: Stomp 4,200, Extreme Stomp 7,400, Ultimate Stomp 22,500

Sign up (opens in new tab) | Stomp £20, plus £100 fundraising; Extreme Stomp £30, plus £150 fundraising; Ultimate Stomp £40, plus £175 fundraising.

The Gherkin Challenge

Date: TBC 2020

Location: The Gherkin, London

Stairs: 1,037

Sign up (opens in new tab) | £20, plus £250 fundraising target

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.