Walsham & Lobodzinski world champions at Hong Kong final

Patrick Chan (HSKP), VWC Champions Piotr Lobodzinski & Suzy Walsham, Marino Giacometti (SF). (c) ISF 

Australian skyscraper racer Suzy Walsham takes her fourth world title at the grand finale of the Vertical World Circuit at the Race to Hong Kong ICC on Sunday, December 7. Poland’s Piotr Lobodzinski took the men’s title, thanks to his ranking points scored in the previous circuit races. Race winners were Walsham and fellow Australian, Darren Wilson - for the first time on top of the podium. Both runners broke the standing race records.

This spectacular and extremely challenging race, now in its third year, climbs 2,120 steps up 82 floors to the summit of Hong Kong’s highest building, the International Commerce Centre. For the last two years, the race has represented the grand finale of the eight-race global circuit spanning three continents.

The men's race with Mark Bourne in 2nd. (c) HSKP

A stacked field counting some of the world’s most competitive skyscraper racers together with more than 1,100 runners toed the start line of the ICC tower.  Winner Darren Wilson sliced 7 seconds off the record, closing in 11’57”. 2013 VWC Champion and race winner, Mark Bourne, was second here today and Lobodzinski, third. However, with the points scored in today’s final, he maintains his ranking leadership – and takes the world title.

In the women’s field, Walsham was supreme and remained unchallenged with five straight wins, beating her own record from last year by 44”. She closed in 13’48”. Second and third places went to China’s Gan Xue and Hui Ji Zhang.

Runners participating in the VWC are assigned points based on the four best results in the eight-race circuit.  The final VWC prize of HKD 100,000 was awarded to the circuit’s top three ranked men and women.

Hong Kong's ICC tower, site of the 2014 VWC finals. (C) ISF

Teams and individual local runners also participated to help raise funds for child and youth services charities.
The eight-race Vertical World Circuit stretches across the globe, zig-zagging from New York to Taipei, from Paris and Benidorm in Europe, to Beijing and Brazil, before returning to the Far East in Shanghai and concluding with the grand finale in Hong Kong.  

High altitude, whether in the mountains or the city, is the playground of the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF), which governs, promotes and sanctions skyrunning (high altitude mountain running) and skyscraper racing worldwide. This was the third edition of the race, which became affiliated with the ISF in 2013.  ISF President, Marino Giacometti, after climbing the 2,120 steps himself, commented, “It was a really tough race compared to Taipei 101 which is a similar height.  The ICC counts the most steps on the circuit.” He added, “I was impressed by the excellent organization and attention to detail on all levels – we’re very proud to have this race represent the VWC final.”

2014 VWC final ranking
Men
1. Piotr Lobodzinksi (POL) - 400 points
2. Darren Wilson (AUS) – 358 points
3. Omar Bekkali (BEL)- 320 points
4. Omar Bekkali (BEL) – 12’54”
5. Eirik Haugsnes (NOR) – 13’35”

Women
1. Suzy Walsham (AUS) – 520 points
2. Cristina Bonacina (ITA) – 320 points
3. Gan Xue (CHN) – 280 points

(Full ranking to follow here)

Race results 2014 Race to Hong Kong ICC
Women
1. Suzy Walsham (AUS) – 13’48”
2. Xue Gan (CHN) - 15’08”
3. Hui Ji Zhang (CHN) - 17’19”

Men
1. Darren Wilson (AUS) – 11’57”
2.  Mark Bourne (AUS)  - 12’20”
3.  Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) – 12’26”

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Race website: www.shkpverticalrun.com