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Vertical marathon: Hundreds race up Empire State Building

Report by Genelle Aldred, Video by Lindsay Brown

Around 600 runners from 18 countries took part in a race up 1576 steps and 86 floors of the Empire State Building on Wednesday.

Australians Mark Bourne and Suzy Walsham were the fastest man and woman to complete the run of the iconic New York landmark.

Bourne finished in 10 minutes, 12 seconds and Walsham clocked 12:05 in the race up 86 floors that is described as a vertical marathon.

"Even if you're taking it moderately easy, it's always tough to go up something like that, so yeah, the satisfaction of just completing it is enough," said Bourne. "But to win it makes it even better."

Four-time champion Walsham was equally elated. She tied the record for most wins in the women's division and laid to rest the memory of her last win in 2009 when she had to overcome a crash at the start that gave her a black eye and lingering injury to her foot.

Around 30 elite men and women vertical racers, or tower runners, who storm up skyscrapers around the globe, along with fitness enthusiasts and some 200 charity runners ran from the lobby of the landmark building to the Observatory floor.

Many of the top skyscraper racers compete in the Vertical World Circuit, which includes buildings races in Switzerland, Spain, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Singapore and Brazil.

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