Vertical marathon in Abu Dhabi

Test your stamina by ditching the lift and taking the stairs Discuss this article

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Skyscrapers have become the latest sporting arenas in a trend that will hit Abu Dhabi early next year. On January 27, some of the world’s best “vertical runners” will race up 82 floors of Etihad Towers.

The Climb to Abu Dhabi will be the first event of its kind in the capital. Leading professional and amateur runners are expected to take part in the 1,617-step race, with a US$25,000 (Dhs91,820) prize fund up for grabs.

But it’s not all about the elite athletes. Corporate teams of four runners can tackle the 82-floor race, while there is a 32-floor challenge for individuals. Families and schools can also enter a relay over this shorter, 720-step distance.

After originating in the late 1970s, the sport of vertical marathons, or tower running, has continued to grow in popularity and now takes place in countries around the world. There is also a World Series, organised by the Tower Running World Association.

Two-time champion Piotr Lobodzinski from Poland is the ambassador for the Climb to Abu Dhabi, and he hopes the event inspires local residents. “Stair climbing can have a powerful and positive impact on your health over time,” says the 2013 and 2015 World Series winner.

“Whether you are as serious about it as I am or someone who wouldn’t dream of ever taking the stairs unless it was an emergency, all it takes is the power of one step.”

The Climb to Abu Dhabi is an exhibition race for the Climb to Vertical series, which will launch in 2018 and will feature events in the Middle East and North Africa.

To help you get ready for the event, free training sessions will be taking place at Etihad Towers from January 8. But the beauty of stair running is that you can practise any time, anywhere, so long as your building has a staircase.

Registration is open now, but places are limited, so if you’re up for the challenge, take the first step and sign up today.
Early bird entry fee until December 16: Dhs125 (32-floor individual), Dhs175 (82-floor individual), Dhs500 (family relay), Dhs1,200 (corporate relay). Fri, January 27, 2017. Etihad Towers, Corniche Road,

Four more
Athletics events to try

Saadiyat 5k Santa chase
Get into the Christmas spirit at Saadiyat Beach Club with this casual 5km race. You can dress up as Santa to make the day extra festive.
December 23. Saadiyat Beach Club, Saadiyat Island (050 109 4055).

Wadi Adventure Race
Run and swim your way to glory during this challenging race. There are various obstacles to navigate, over courses ranging from 5km to 15km.
January 14, 2017. Wadi Adventure, Al Ain (03 781 8422).

RAK Half Marathon 2017
Take a day trip to Ras Al Khaimah for this 21.1km race. There’s also a relay team option if you don’t fancy doing the entire distance solo.
February 10, 2017. Corniche Al Qawasim, Ras Al Khaimah (no number).

Triyas by Daman’s Activelife
Swim, cycle and run around Yas Marina during this challenging triathlon. There are various distances for different levels of athletes.
February 17, 2017. Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island (800 927).

By Christopher Hough
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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