So, apparently professional tower running is a real thing. I don’t see it as a key part of my career path but I do enjoy the challenge!
Last year on my annual holiday at Jackfish Lake in Saskatchewan I needed to do a workout that alternated with running as I try and not run back to back days unless I’m silly enough to be training for back to back races. The town of Cochin is about a 10 minute drive from Aquadeo Beach, where our family has had a cabin for over 60 years. Cochin is the home of the only lighthouse in Saskatchewan (for more information on the history of the lighthouse click here). It’s a cool hike up on 158 uneven wood and dirt stairs and when you get to the top the view is spectacular. In order to make it more than a 10 minute workout I decided to do the stairs 5X. I survived! It was hard but I felt good for doing it.
When I was planning my 50 Crazy Things I decided to up my game a bit and do those same stairs 10X. What was I thinking???
So, the day after a hard run and two days after doing some serious squats in the cabin when the weather was a bit fowl, I set out to tackle the stairs. Every year I try and count the stairs and get horribly muddled. I’m glad the website for the town of Cochin has an official record.
When I started the first time I picked up a small rock. I carried it in my hand until I reached the top and then put it in my water pouch. I knew I would lose count of how many times I’d gone up. I started do go back down and promptly turned my ankle badly in a hole in the dirt on the top stair. For the rest of the workout that leg was super shaky going down and I held on to the railing for extra support. Another woman, super fit and looks like she does these stairs a lot, started just after I did. She wasn’t very friendly and she was racing the whole way. At the top she did push ups and other exercises before going down again. She was frustrated when families with little kids were blocking the stairs so she would go up or down half way and then back to keep moving. I politely waited at the top or bottom for them to get out of the way. My manners gave me a chance to catch my breath – ulterior motive! On her last way down, when I was on about my fourth ascent, she was shocked. She took off her headphones and asked how many I was doing. When I told her I was doing 10 she nearly fell down the stairs. My smirk was only mildly visible on the outside and pretty freaking huge on the inside. A story about a tortoise and a hare came to mind!
There were two other guys who came later. Very buff and macho, they also asked how many I had done. When I told them eight they were slightly deflated. They
each did two and gave up. Just call me a tortoise!
Each time I reached the top I put another rock in my water pouch. When I was
finished number nine I wanted to confirm I only needed to do one more. I pulled out the rocks and only found eight! I was panicked until I found another little rock tucked in between my keys. Note to self: next year take marbles!
So here is some perspective on my stair climb that I discovered after I finished. My climb involved 1580 stairs… remember that when you look at the numbers below.
I think I may have a new goal! Generally I’m not really into tall buildings. I usually avoid them but not because I’m afraid of heights but they feel a bit unnatural. I’m pretty sure images of 911 didn’t help. A side note for many of these stair climbs, firefighters often race these events in full gear – I bow to their greatness as I’m not sure I could even attempt it!
Great collections of stairs from around the world:
Eiffel Tower (Paris) – 1665 steps. Only the first 704 are available to the public. An Australian woman did the tower run (sounds like the Kessel Run in Star Wars), which involves all the steps, in 10 mins, her first time in a previous year was 44 mins.
CN Tower (Toronto) – 1776 steps. Every year they hold a tower run as a fundraiser for the World Wildlife Fund.
Space Needle (Seattle) – 848 steps (no problem!). They also have a new yearly event – the Base to Space fundraiser.
Empire State Building (New York) – 1576 steps (I did this… in Saskatchewan!). Their tower run is the world’s oldest and most famous tower race. That same Australian woman won last year.
Wall Centre (Vancouver) – 739 steps (easy as pie!). They have a yearly Race for Clean Air.
Willis Tower (Chicago) – 2109 steps (gulp). Try their tower run!
Burj Khalifa (Dubai) – 2909 steps (gasp!). It doesn’t look like they have a tower run but residents here could be getting very good at the sport as the developer apparently threatened to shut down the elevators due to unpaid fees.
Ruins of Machu Picchu (Peru) – 1900 steps (hmmmmm – tempting). This is more my style.
Why was this crazy?
Ummm… think about it! Actually, I’m a real numbers person and this seemed like a great challenge.
Would I do it again?
Probably next year… can anyone say Eiffel Tower? That would be 11X. Actually doing one of these actual races wouldn’t appeal to me as the stairs are usually pretty closed off and I’m not in love with tight spaces.