Vertical runners scale ICC’s 2,120 stairs in just 12 minutes

With the chilly winter climes having finally descended upon the 852, most people would surely agree that the best place for weekend mornings is tucked up warmly in bed… and certainly not attempting to scale the 2,120 stairs of Hong Kong’s International Commerce Centre (ICC).

But 1,600 “vertical runners” – some competing for various titles and others participating for charity – decided to take on Hong Kong’s tallest building on Sunday as part of the SHKP Vertical Run for Charity – dare we say, one of the most unappealing challenges imaginable. 

What’s more, 22 of the competitors have actually travelled the globe as part of the Vertical World Circuit, scaling eight of the world’s best-known skyscrapers, including New York’s Empire State Building and the Taipei 101, in a competition organised by the International Skyrunning Federation.

ICC vertical race 2015

What goes up…

Sunday’s ICC jaunt was the grand finale of the 2015 circuit, and featured professionals from 12 countries as well as seniors, students and people with disabilities from Hong Kong’s 18 districts. Categories included Individual, Team Relay and the questioningly named “Fun Climb”, with the youngest competitor aged just 10 and the eldest 68 – good on ‘em, in all fairness. 

Australian Darren Wilson won the local men’s category this year, reaching the Sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck in an impressive 11 minutes and 52 seconds, while fellow Aussie Suzy Walsham arrived at the summit in 14 minutes and 14 seconds to claim first place in the women’s category. Walsham was also crowned the overall women’s champion of the 2015 competition alongside her male counterpart, Poland’s Piotr Lobodzinski.

The Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited-sponsored event aims to raise awareness of healthy living in Hong Kong. With this year’s climb attracting the highest number of participants since its inception in 2012, Event Organising Committee Chairman Raymond Kwok said: “Response to the Race to Hong Kong ICC is getting more enthusiastic every year, which proves the increasing popularity of vertical running and suggests that more people believe in the spirit of sport for charity.”

We’re all for sports and charity, but does it have to involve so many stairs? 

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